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What are the penalties for a drug sales charge and a drug use charge?

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

The State of Florida vigorously prosecutes people accused of drug related crimes. Even very minor offenses are subject to mandatory minimum prison terms. Drug dealers may also be subject to severe punishments such as having their homes, cars, or cash associated to the unlawful transaction confiscated in addition to fines, jail time, and probation.

As a result, it's critical to comprehend how the state classifies, prosecutes, and penalizes drug-related offenses.

Florida Drug Possession

Someone who merely maintains a controlled substance for their own use or for recreational purposes without manufacturing, distributing, selling, or dealing it commits the crime of simple possession. Possession is still a serious crime that can result in severe punishments, though.

Charges For Possession Of Drugs

Possession can be classified as a misdemeanor or crime of the first, second, or third degree. Depending on the schedule and quantity of the substance possessed, different penalties apply. For instance, your punishment will probably be harsher if you have a history of several convictions.

The most severe penalties are applied to first-degree felonies.

Any Schedule One substance in excess of ten grams of possession has a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. Up to fifteen years in jail and a $10,000 fine are possible penalties for having the ingredients necessary to create methamphetamine. Possession of cocaine, heroin, or meth constitutes a third-degree crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

A conviction for possession may also result in probation, the suspension of your driver's license, the exclusion from applying for certain jobs, and other consequences. Make sure to discuss the potential consequences of your drug possession accusation with a qualified criminal defense lawyer.

Defenses Against Drug Possession

A possession accusation has a number of defenses that your attorney can assert. The illegal search or seizure defense is one of the most frequent arguments made at the opening of a case. This indicates that the drug seizure and search by law enforcement personnel of your person, residence, or car violated your Fourth Amendment rights. This could imply that they carried out the search without a valid warrant or with excessive force. Additionally, your lawyer can claim that the drugs belonged to someone else or that they were taken in violation of a lawful warrant.

Drug Production In Florida

Those accused of producing drugs in Florida will probably be prosecuted with felonies and subject to significantly harsher punishments. Usually, you will also be accused of possessing the substance, which might result in two or more distinct felony charges with stacked punishments.

Charges For Manufacturing Drugs

The classification of the substance, the quantity, and the location of the manufacture all affect the penalties for producing drugs: you will be subject to stiffer penalties if it occurred close to a church or school (within 1,000 feet).

The marijuana cultivation penalty is the least severe. Typically, a third-degree felony charge carries a $5,000 fine in addition to up to five years in prison.

You will typically be charged with a second-degree felony for other substances, which carries a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

When someone rents a building, room, or other facility to make restricted substances, for example, the State may increase the penalty. Possession of the following compounds, which are frequently used in production, could result in a more serious prosecution and punishment.

Defenses Against Drug Manufacturing

Similar to possession, a manufacturing charge may be met with a number of defenses by your attorney. The defenses will frequently lessen your punishment. For instance, your attorney might contend that the charge should be reduced to simple possession, mention a medical necessity for producing the medications, or once more assert that the seizure of the drugs violated the Fourth Amendment.

Trafficking Drugs In Florida

Drug trafficking is the deliberate sale, acquisition, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transit of a "trafficking amount" of drugs into the State of Florida.

According to Florida law, a certain amount must be proven in order to prove a trafficking allegation. This varies depending on the drug. The statutory amounts are the minimal sums required to collect: the applicable mandatory minimum sentence will increase as the amount does. The following are some examples of the amounts and types of drugs that result in the statutory mandatory minimum penalties:

  • 25 pounds or 300 plants of marijuana

  • 28 grams of cocaine

  • 4 grams of fentanyl

  • 1 kilogram in GHB

  • 14 grams of hydrocodone

  • 4 grams of heroin

  • 4 grams of LSD

  • 10 grams of ecstasy

  • 7 grams of oxycodone

Charges For Drug Trafficking

Depending on the substance and the amount, different penalties will be imposed. For instance, the punishment for trafficking marijuana is a mandatory three-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine for amounts between 25 and 2000 pounds or 300 and 2,000 plants. The punishment is increased to 7 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for 2000–10 000 pounds and 2,000–10,000 plants.

But the penalty for using other drugs are far worse. For example, trafficking 4 to 14 grams of fentanyl can result in a three-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine, while 28 grams or more can result in a 25-year sentence and a $500,000 fine.

Defenses Against Drug Trafficking

Defenses against trafficking can be made during the trial or even before it, just like with possession and manufacturing. The following are some of the most widespread defenses:

  • Entrapment: When a confidential informant or an undercover law enforcement officer coerces you into committing a crime.

  • Illegal search or seizure: Similar to possession and manufacturing, your attorney may seek to have the case dismissed if a law enforcement official violates your Fourth Amendment rights by acting outside the bounds of his authority or by using excessive force when conducting a search of your person, vehicle, or home.

  • "Substantial help": Although is not strictly a defense, it does allow for a reduction in the minimum mandatory sentence. If you gave "significant assistance" in locating, apprehending, or convicting another individual involved in trafficking, your attorney may seek the court to lessen or postpone your sentence.

Hiring A Florida Drug Crime Attorney

You should not attempt to handle your case without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can build a defense on your behalf and maybe lessen your penalty because drug charges and penalties differ depending on the exact facts.

The Arroyo Law Firm is prepared to make a compelling argument on your side in court. If you have any inquiries concerning the law or if you've been accused of a drug offense, please contact us at 407-770-9000.

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