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Arrested For Drug Possession In Florida?
Florida’s laws on drug possession and distribution are extremely harsh, but this does not stop people from trying to get their hands on drugs. Still, if you are caught with drugs on your person, or within your control, the penalties can be quite severe, even for a first offense in some cases. If you are in this position, calling an attorney can be the crucial difference in ensuring your case has a fair and favorable outcome.
Florida’s law expressly prohibits the possession, sale, manufacture, or delivery of controlled substances. “Controlled substances” include not only illegal drugs, but also prescriptions and marijuana (though medical marijuana is legal to possess for those with the appropriate cards). The severity of the potential sentence you face if you are arrested for possession will vary based on three different factors: the type of drug, how much of the drug you were found with, and the presence or absence of any “aggravating” circumstances (circumstances that make the charge more or less serious).
Florida law, like federal law, divides controlled substances into five ‘schedules,’ with Schedule V drugs carrying the least potential for abuse, and Schedule I drugs having the most potential. Schedule I drugs are also seen to have no accepted medical use, though this is not always necessarily the case – for example, cannabis is still considered a Schedule I drug, though its medical uses have already been proven.
Aggravating Circumstances Can Lead To Harsher Penalties
The amount of the drug you were found with is arguably the most important factor used to determine the charge to be filed against you. Two points need to be kept in mind, however, that many are not aware of. First, if you are stopped with a large enough amount, Florida law allows you to be charged with drug trafficking, rather than simple possession – for example, if you are caught with more than 1 gram of LSD, you would be charged with trafficking, because that amount is enough where intent to distribute can be presumed. Second, the amount in question refers to the weight (and in a mixture, to the weight of the entire mixture), rather than the countable amount.
While type and amount of drug are the fundamental issues when it comes to possession charges, the existence of aggravating circumstances can, for example, raise the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. Common aggravating circumstances in drug cases can include committing the offense within a certain distance of a school or other place where children are present, or if you are a repeat offender. These can, unfortunately, close the door on some options for you, such as probation or drug court.
Call A West Palm Beach Drug Possession Attorney
Being stopped with drugs in your possession can be a frightening experience. If you have questions or concerns about a drug possession case, calling the West Palm Beach drug crimes attorneys from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can be the first step toward getting them answered. Contact our offices today, via phone or website, to speak to an attorney.