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Guide to Florida Drug Possession Laws: What You Should Know

Orlando Defense July 26, 2021

The US government has waged the war on drugs for more than 40 years at this point. As a result, drug laws are some of the most strictly enforced rules throughout the nation.

If you are facing any sort of drug possession charge in Florida, it is critical that you understand two things.

First, you need to know what you are up against. That means knowing what qualifies as possession in Florida, what the penalties are, and what sort of ancillary charges, like possession of drug paraphernalia, might apply to your case.

Second, it is crucial to talk to an attorney with experience in Florida drug possession cases as soon as possible. Understanding this will help you better equip yourself to fight these charges and protect your freedom.

Federal Drug Classification

In general, the aim of drug possession laws is to discourage people from possessing, distributing, and using controlled substances. To do so, the federal government places drugs that may pose a public health or addiction risk into various levels of “control.”

The states, including Florida, are responsible for enforcing the federal rules regarding these substances.

The control levels correspond with each substances’ general public health risk. 

The federal government categorizes these substances by placing each substance somewhere between schedule one and schedule five. Schedule one drugs are those with no (or very limited) medical use, high potential for abuse, and a high public health risk profile.

Schedule one substances include drugs like LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), and heroin. Closer towards the opposite end of the spectrum are the schedule four drugs. These substances may have a risk for abuse, but they also provide clear medical benefits.

Typically, to attain these benefits the user must have a doctor monitor their usage. Also, schedule four substances generally have a low public health risk profile. Schedule four drugs include many anxiety medications including alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium). 

Florida Sentencing Guidelines Drug Possession

Florida drug possession penalties typically correspond in severity with two things. The amount of drugs found in your possession and the classification of the drug in question.

As you will see below, Florida’s drug possession laws can carry either felony and misdemeanor charges and varying penalties. The penalties vary based on the specific drugs in question, their control classification, and the quantity of drugs that the defendant possessed.

The basic classifications are as follows: 

  • Drug Possession: First-degree misdemeanor: 

    • A fine of $1,000, incarceration for up to one year, or both;

  • Drug Possession: Third-degree felony:

    • A fine of up to $5,000, incarceration for up to five years, or both;

  • Drug Possession: Second-degree felony:

    • A fine of up to $10,000, up to 15 years imprisonment, or both;

  • Drug Possession: First-degree felony:

    • A fine up to $10,000, up to 30 years imprisonment, or both.

Generally speaking, possession of less than 28g of cannabis or possession of drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor.  Possession of any other type of drug (cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, etc.) is a felony. 

Beyond that general classification, what level of felony will depend on factors such as the amount of drugs alleged to be in a suspect’s possession (depending on the amount the charge could be simple possession, possession with intent to sell, or even drug trafficking), whether there was a sale or intent to sell the drugs, and – in some cases – whether a suspect was armed at the time they possessed the drugs.

As you can see, if you get convicted of drug possession at any level in Florida you could potentially face significant consequences. It is important to note that the penalties we listed above are the maximum penalties for each offense level.

Michael Reese at Orlando Defense will help you fight to ensure that you do not face the maximum allowable penalty. 

How Does Florida Treat Marijuana?

The federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule one substance. However, it is important for you to understand that the legal doctrine surrounding marijuana in the United States is in a constant state of flux.

Many states now allow people to recreationally use marijuana.  These states allow recreational marijuana use, cultivation, possession, and sale despite federal laws against such behavior.

However, Florida is not one of these states. In fact, Florida’s supreme court recently rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to regulate recreational marijuana usage and sale in the state. 

However, Florida does allow people to use marijuana for medical purposes. Patients who have a prescription for marijuana can purchase it from licensed dispensaries. Patients can legally possess and consume that marijuana just as they would any other prescription medication.

However, the law limits the amount of marijuana that each patient can legally possess. Furthermore, the law strictly prohibits any medical marijuana patient from selling their supply to anyone else.

This should come as no surprise since Florida law already prohibits patients from selling any prescription medications.

If You Are Facing A Florida Drug Possession Charge

If you are facing a drug possession charge in Florida, it is crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Even better, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney who regularly defends their clients against Florida drug possession charges.

If you are facing such a charge, Michael Reese at Orlando Defense has the experience necessary to give you the quality legal defense you deserve. 

He carefully examines the facts of your case looking for law enforcement mistakes. If he finds them, he fights to get evidence suppressed and your case dismissed.

Even if the police did not make any mistakes, Michael Reese will make sure to preserve your constitutional rights and your freedoms. And he will work to get the best possible outcome for your case. 

One of the foundations of our criminal justice system is due process through a fair trial. Michael Reese is here to ensure that you receive the protection of that constitutional guarantee. He will protect you from the start to the finish of the criminal justice process. 

Don’t wait to protect your freedom and constitutional rights. Call today or contact us online to set up your initial consultation.