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Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida: Overview and Defenses

Orlando Defense Nov. 8, 2021

Florida imposes harsh penalties for violating its drug laws. Florida’s drug laws appear in Section 893.13 Florida Statute.

Even the most minor drug crime, possession of a controlled substance, can qualify as a felony.

If you’re facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in Florida, you need to contact an attorney right away.

There’s a chance your charge could result in significant penalties, including time in prison, costly fines, and a driver’s license suspension.

The criminal defense attorney at Orlando Defense has experience representing defendants charged with drug crimes and can help you determine what steps to take next.

Contact our office today to start your free consultation. 

Possession Of A Controlled Substance In Florida: An Overview

Florida Statute Section 893.13(6)(a) prohibits individuals from possessing a controlled substance without a prescription. 

Controlled substances include, but are not limited to: 

  • MDMA, 

  • LSD, 

  • Peyote, 

  • Cocaine, 

  • Opiates, 

  • Ecstasy, and 

  • Psilocybin. 

Possession means that you knew the substance was illegal and that 1) you had the controlled substance on your person, or that 2) you had knowledge that it was in your presence (maybe in a separate bag or container) and that you had control over the substance. The first scenario is known as actual possession. The second is known as constructive possession. 

Penalties Under The Possession Of A Controlled Substance Florida Statute 

Florida usually considers possession of a controlled substance a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony carries the potential of up to five years in prison.

Additionally, the court can impose a fine of up to $5,000. The court can also require you to participate in drug counseling, suspend your driver’s license, and mandate inpatient drug treatment. 

Section 893.13(6)(b) carves out an exception for marijuana and some other cannabis products. As long as you possess under 20 grams, possessing these substances will result in a misdemeanor charge.

Misdemeanor charges carry the potential of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. After four misdemeanor drug possession convictions, the prosecutor can upgrade any subsequent misdemeanor possession charge to a felony. 

Defenses To Possession Of A Controlled Substance In Florida

Just because you’re facing possession charges doesn’t mean you’ve been convicted just yet. There’s still time to present a valid legal defense to attempt to have your charges dropped or reduced.

Common legal defenses that arise in possession cases include:

  • Authorities didn’t have a valid reason to stop you; 

  • The substance found was not a drug or was not illegal; 

  • You have a valid prescription for the controlled substance; 

  • The evidence against you is inadmissible in court; 

  • You did not have actual or constructive possession of the substance (i.e., it was found in a shared area and you didn’t know it was there); or 

  • Your constitutional rights were violated.

Many criminal defendants struggle to understand which defenses apply to their case. A skilled drug crimes attorney can explain the legal defenses available for possession of a controlled substance in Florida. 

Charged With Possession Of A Controlled Substance In Florida? Contact Orlando Defense Today 

The best way to obtain a favorable result in your Florida criminal case involves hiring a criminal defense attorney to advocate on your behalf.

We understand that anyone can find themselves facing criminal charges and believe that everyone charged with a crime deserves a vigorous defense.

Once retained, we work to ensure our clients understand the legal process, their rights, and their options before making any decisions about their case. 

Call or email our office today for a free consultation.

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