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Misconceptions About Florida Drug Possession
Simple drug possession is by far the most common drug offense in Florida, but there are many misconceptions about the nature of the charge. Florida’s drug laws are very harsh, and too often, people do not take possession charges seriously when a conviction can irrevocably change their prospects. If you have been charged with drug possession, it is crucial to be aware of the little details that can make a difference in your case.
Actual and Constructive Possession
Perhaps the most common misconception is that possession of drugs must be actual – that is, if you do not have physical possession of an unlawful controlled substance, no crime has been committed. This is not true under Florida law – the relevant statute recognizes both actual and constructive possession, and explicitly states that both may be prosecuted as third-degree felonies.
Constructive possession is defined as having control over the place where unlawful controlled substances are located – for example, drugs are still seen as being ‘in your possession’ if they are locked in your car, which no one else has the right to use or control. It is a defense to charges of drug possession if you can show that someone else had access to or control over the drugs in question.
Know The ‘Trigger Point’
Another common misunderstanding has to do with the fact that the amount of the unlawful substance you are stopped with will affect the severity of your charges. For example, if you are caught with less than 28 grams of cocaine, you will generally be charged with possession of cocaine – but an amount over 28 grams will most often see you charged with drug trafficking. The rationale is that if you have enough of a drug in your possession, it is unlikely that you would keep that much simply for personal use.
When charged with drug possession, too many people assume that the “trigger point” for trafficking charges is the same across the board. This is simply not the case – for example, if you are caught with any amount of alprazolam (Xanax) without a prescription, you will face felony charges, carrying up to 5 years in prison. It is crucial to be aware of exactly what penalties you may be facing if you are facing drug charges in Florida.
Call A West Palm Beach Drug Crimes Attorney
If you have been charged with possession of an unlawful controlled substance, it is imperative that you have experienced legal representation on your side. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can help to answer any questions you might have about your case. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.