Whether you’ll face jail time for a first-time drug charge depends on a variety of factors. The best way to avoid time in jail involves hiring a criminal defense attorney to help you with your case.
That could mean raising legal issues to have evidence thrown out or get the charges dismissed. Or it could also include negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduced charge or lesser penalties in exchange for a plea of guilty or no contest.
Even if it’s your 1st drug offense, the charge can land you in jail or prison if you don’t act fast. At Orlando Defense, we dedicate our entire practice to representing individuals facing criminal charges.
First-Time Drug Possession Charge in Florida: An Overview
Section 893.13(6)(a) of the Florida Statutes prohibits individuals from possessing a controlled substance without a valid medical prescription. Some of the drugs Florida considers as controlled substances include:
- Other opiates,
- Psilocybin, and
In Florida, “possession” of a controlled substance means that you knew the substance was illegal, combined with one of two additional factors.
The first is that you had the controlled substance on your person, which is known as actual possession.
The second factor, or other option, is that you had knowledge that the controlled substance was in your presence and you had control over the substance even though it was not on your person. This second option is known as constructive possession.
Constructive possession can apply in cases where drugs are found in the trunk of a car, or in the closet of a home or business.
How To Beat a Drug Possession Charge
Whether you are facing your first felony drug charge or your fifth, a valid legal defense could apply to your case.
Common defenses used in possession cases include:
- You had no knowledge of the presence of the substance;
- The controlled substance belonged to someone else;
- The substance found was not illegal;
- You have a valid prescription for the controlled substance; or
- Authorities found the controlled substance subsequent to a bad warrant or an illegal search or seizure.
Figuring out which legal defense applies to your case and proving it in court can be incredibly difficult—if not impossible—without having a qualified criminal defense lawyer by your side. That is why it is important to contact the team at Orlando Defense today.
Penalties for a First-Time Drug Charge
How long do you go to jail for a drug possession charge? Even a first-time offender can face a felony drug charge, depending on the quantity and type of controlled substance at issue. In most cases, Florida considers possession of a controlled substance a third-degree felony.
A third-degree felony in Florida carries the potential of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, the court can order participation in drug counseling, mandate inpatient drug treatment, or suspend your driver’s license.
If your first-time drug charge arises from the possession of marijuana, you could face less severe penalties. Section 893.13(6)(b) of the Florida Statutes makes possession of marijuana a misdemeanor charge, as long as you possess less than 20 grams. A misdemeanor charge in Florida carries the potential of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Facing a First-Time Possession Charge in Florida? Orlando Defense Can Help
Facing a first-time possession charge in Florida can feel scary and overwhelming. However, know that you don’t have to handle this on your own.
During this stressful time, you can rest easier knowing that Orlando Defense will be there for you at every step along the way to fight zealously for your rights. Our criminal defense team has more than 40 years of combined experience and is standing by and ready to help you.
Ready to take the next steps on your criminal defense case? Contact us today for a free consultation where you can discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. We look forward to serving you!