Florida classifies methamphetamine, aka meth or crystal, as a Schedule II controlled substance. Conviction for sale, distribution, trafficking, or possession of methamphetamine could mean significant penalties, including long-term imprisonment.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a meth-related crime, speak to an attorney at Goldman Wetzel as soon as possible. You need a solid plan of action to fight these drug charges. We can help. Our drug charge defense lawyers represent clients facing charges ranging from possession to trafficking. Call our office at 727-828-3900 today.
How does Florida classify meth charges?
There are two primary types of meth charges in Florida: possession and trafficking. The specific offense you are charged with depends on the quantity of the substance in your possession/control.
- Less than 14 grams: If you are in possession of less than 14 grams of meth, you will be charged with possession, a third-degree felony. [Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(a)]
- 14 grams or more: If officers find you in possession of 14 grams or more of meth, the crime is trafficking, a first-degree felony. [Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(f)]
The authorities will determine the weight using the substance’s entire weight, not just the amount of pure methamphetamine within the mixture. In other words, both the meth and other substances count toward the 14 gram-threshold. You could have less than 14 grams of pure meth and still face trafficking charges if the other substances tip the scale.
What is the penalty for possession of methamphetamines in Florida?
As aforementioned, possession of meth is a third-degree felony in Florida and is a Level 3 offense under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. Penalties may include:
- Up to a five-year prison sentence
- A fine of up to a $5,000
Also, under Florida Statute § 322.055, if you are convicted of meth possession, the Florida DHSMV will revoke your driver’s license for one year.
Meanwhile, the sale, manufacture, delivery, and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver methamphetamine is a second-degree felony. Penalties may include:
- Up to a 15-year prison sentence
- A fine of up to $10,000
The penalties are upgraded when there are children nearby. Florida Statute § 893.13(1)(g) provides that the manufacture of methamphetamine or possession of certain listed chemicals with intent to manufacture meth, while in the presence of children younger than 16, is a first-degree felony. There is a minimum five to 10 years imprisonment, depending on the degree of endangerment to the child(ren).
What is the penalty for meth trafficking in Florida?
First-degree felony charges for trafficking methamphetamine carry penalties of up to:
- 30 years imprisonment
- A large fine, depending on the amount of substance in question
Florida imposes a minimum prison sentence for trafficking meth. The mandatory minimum depends on the amount of meth found in your possession. [Florida Statutes 893.135(1)(f)]
- At least 14 grams but less than 28: three years imprisonment and $50,000 fine.
- At least 28 grams but less than 200: seven years imprisonment and $100,000 fine.
- 200 grams or more: 15 years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.
Meanwhile, if you were in possession of at least 400 grams of meth, and knew that the manufacture or importation would lead to the death of another person, you may face capital felony charges, which may be punishable by death.
What are some possible defenses to methamphetamine charges?
Goldman Wetzel will investigate your case and identify appropriate defenses to build your case. Much depends on the circumstances. Below are a few examples of defenses that may be appropriate in meth-related cases:
You can use the temporary possession defense if the owner handed you the substance for a brief moment, but it was not actually yours and you did not exercise true control over it. For instance, if your buddy handed you his stash during a traffic stop, this defense might be applicable.
Lack of knowledge
If you did not know that the substance in your possession was meth or that it was illegal, you may be able to use the lack of knowledge defense.
If you were arrested for meth only after seeking medical attention for an overdose, you are immune from prosecution. In Florida, you cannot face prosecution in this scenario because any evidence obtained as a result of an overdose is inadmissible.
Illegal search and seizure
If police obtained the evidence against you through an illegal search and seizure, such as one gained by coercion, we can fight to have the evidence thrown out and the case dropped.
In order to convict you of possession of meth, the prosecutor has to prove you knew the substance was in your possession (person, home, or car) and that you had control over it.
If you can show that more than one person had control over it, the constructive possession defense might be appropriate. For instance, if your friend had meth in the center console of the car you were riding in, and you did not know the substance was there and/or you were not really in control of it, you might argue that you did not have constructive possession.
Call Goldman Wetzel to Build Your Defense Against Meth Charges
Goldman Wetzel can defend you against any drug charges, including those related to meth. When you retain us, we will work to reduce your charges or get them dropped altogether. Contact our main office in St. Petersburg at 727-828-3900 to get started today.