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What Are The Types Of Florida Drug Offenses?
Drug offenses are seen as particularly serious in Florida, because of the state’s history with cartels and with so-called “pill mills” creating a history of drug use and addiction. As a result, Florida’s sentences for drug crimes are among the most severe in the United States. However, for the person charged with drug crimes, it can be somewhat confusing to distinguish each one from the other. It is crucial that you be able to understand the stakes you are facing.
The least serious drug offense under Florida law is possession, also called ‘simple’ possession. In Florida, the severity of a drug charge depends in large part on the amount of the drug in question, though the amount needed will vary between drugs. If a person is charged with simple possession, it generally means that no evidence exists that they intended anything more than personal use. Simple possession is often a third-degree felony offense.
If there is evidence that a person intended to sell or traffic the drugs they are stopped with, they will usually be charged with possession with intent to sell (or distribute). It is important to keep in mind that in some cases, “evidence of intent to sell” may be nothing more than the sheer volume of the substance involved. If someone is arrested and found to have a large amount of, say, methamphetamine on their person, law enforcement will assume intent to sell simply because one person could not use so much of one drug without potentially lethal consequences.
The difference between drug sale and drug trafficking is volume, though they essentially involve the same actions. If a person is selling a small amount of a drug to one person, their offense will likely be possession with intent to sell; if a person is selling large quantities of drugs to many and varied customers, trafficking will be the charge. Drug trafficking is seen as an extremely serious crime, because of the potential damage it can do to individuals and society at large.
Be aware that mere possession of a certain amount of a drug (or mixture containing the drug) will trigger a trafficking charge even if you had no intent to do so. For example, if someone has possession of 25 grams of cocaine, they may be charged with possession with intent to sell – but by Florida law, if the amount is over 28 grams, the person will automatically be charged with trafficking (which carries higher penalties) regardless of their intentions with the drugs.
Call A West Palm Beach Drug Crimes Attorney
Regardless of the nature of the drug offense with which you have been charged, you have the right to your day in court. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help ensure your rights are protected. Call our office today at 561-721-0552 for a free consultation.