Florida laws have low tolerance for drug offenses. Hence, these types of crimes can result in a harsh prosecution and if you do not have a strong defense, a drug-related crime accusation could end in a negative outcome. In order to prevent this, you should have a skilled drug crimes attorney in Tampa fighting for you.
Drug convictions lead to expensive fines, a permanent criminal record that can affect your life, and, depending on the severity of the crime, a jail or prison sentence. Given that drug offenses are treated very seriously by the prosecution, the best way to deal with these allegations is with the help of a Tampa drug lawyer.
Being accused of a crime can be a terrifying experience. If you have been arrested, the criminal attorneys at Goldman Wetzel are able to provide you with an aggressive legal representation. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
What Drugs Are Illegal in Florida?
Florida § Statute 893.03 enumerates the drugs that are considered illegal in Florida. Depending on the potential for abuse and whether the drug has a medical use, this statute classifies the controlled substances into 5 schedules. Some examples of illegal drugs include heroin, cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.
If a person illegally possesses, distributes, sells, or manufactures some of the controlled substances listed in these drug schedules, he or she might face criminal charges. Below there is a brief summary of the schedules established in this law:
- Schedule I: highly addictive substances with no accepted medical use. Examples of drugs schedule 1 include heroin, betamethadol, clonitazene, fentanyl derivatives, nicocodeine, and cannabis.
- Schedule II: high potential for abuse, these substances are accepted for medical treatments, but they are highly restricted. Examples of these drugs include morphine, hydrocodone, cocaine, oxycodone, and dronabinol (synthetic THC).
- Schedule III: less addictive than substances in schedule II, they have medical uses and lead to moderate/low physical dependence. Some examples of drugs schedule III include anabolic steroids, benzphetamine, nalorphine, and barbiturates.
- Schedule IV: these substances are less addictive than drugs in schedule III and have an accepted medical use. Examples include xanax, valium, diazepam, lorazepam, and phentermine:
- Schedule V: the potential for abuse and dependency is lower than the drugs listed in schedule IV. Some examples include narcotics and stimulants derived from pyrovalerone and buprenorphine.
Florida drug laws establish that people are not authorized to sell, manufacture, distribute or possess a new or controlled substance. People that are exempt from some of these activities include:
- Individuals with valid prescriptions.
- Businesses or people qualified and/or licensed to work with drugs such as hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, pharmaceutical agencies, researches.
Types of Drug Crimes & Penalties in Florida
In Florida, drug charges and penalties are determined by the type and amount of drug involved in the offense as well as the intent of the offender. Depending on the severity of the offense, the penalties for drug crimes can range from a misdemeanor to a felony.
In order to determine your sentence, the judge might take into consideration the following factors:
- Type and amount of controlled substance
- Prior convictions
- Location where the arrest was made (schools, parks, child facilities)
- The offense was committed in furtherance of a gang
Below are some of the most common types of cases that the Tampa drug lawyers at Goldman Wetzel handle as well as some of the penalties that these charges carry. Note that there are different factors that could increase the severity of your sentence. For more information, book an appointment with our attorneys.
As its name suggests, drug possession occurs when a person is believed to illegally possess a controlled drug. If the amount is small and considered enough for personal use, a person could face a simple possession charge.
However, if the alleged offender is found with a substantial amount, prosecutors and law enforcement might treat the charge as possession with the intent to distribute or sell. Like any other drug crime in Tampa, the penalties for drug possession depend on the type of drug and the amount found. Some examples of penalties include:
- First-degree misdemeanor: possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis or some drugs on Schedule V. If convicted, this misdemeanor charge can result in up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
- Drug possession felony: being found in possession of more than 10 grams of heroin is charged as a first-degree felony which carries up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
If the prosecution is able to prove the intent of distributing or selling drugs, the defendant might face harsher penalties. Even though Florida drug laws are harsh, if the offense is treated as a federal crime, you can expect more severe penalties.
In Florida, drug trafficking is the crime of intentionally selling, importing, purchasing, or delivering an illegal drug. Overall, a person can face drug trafficking charges if the amount of the drug involved significantly surpasses certain limits.
Given the severity of this offense, drug trafficking is considered a first-degree felony. This means that a conviction for this crime carries a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, this conviction has a mandatory minimum sentence which is determined based on the circumstances and characteristics of each case.
Even though most people assume that drug trafficking is related to organized crime, the prosecutor does not necessarily need to prove a large-scale operation.
Florida Statute § 893.02(15)(a) establishes that drug manufacturing occurs when a person produces, prepares, cultivates, or processes a controlled substance. Manufacturing activities include “cooking” methamphetamine, producing cocaine, or cultivating cannabis plants.
Depending on the amount of drug manufactured, this offense could be charged as a third or second-degree felony. This means that, in Florida, the penalties for drug manufacturing range from 5 to 15 years imprisonment and a fine between $5,000 and $10,000.
Punishment can be harsher if you are facing other drug-related charges. If you are not sure what your charges mean or the penalties that you could face, contact our drug crime attorneys in Tampa to get legal guidance.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
As its name suggests, a charge for possession of drug paraphernalia means that a person is accused of owning or possessing equipment, tools, products or any material that are used, intended to use, or designed to test, manufacture, harvest, cultivate, inject, ingest or inhale a controlled substance.
In Florida, drug paraphernalia is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted, you will face up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Speak to a Drug Crimes Attorney in Tampa
The charges for drug crimes can easily escalate and result in severe penalties. Hence, if you have been accused of a drug offense in Hillsborough County, you need to enlist the help of a Tampa criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Goldman Wetzel is a law firm solely focused on criminal defense, including drug offenses. Our attorneys represent clients facing criminal charges in Tampa, Hillsborough County, and surrounding areas. Call us at (888) 727-4652 to schedule a free consultation.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a drug crime, you should have a strong and aggressive defense. The Tampa drug lawyers at Goldman Wetzel have over 30 years of combined experience fighting these types of allegations. Contact us today to book an appointment.