Miami Drug Crimes Attorney

Types of Drug Crimes we handle:

• Purchase
• Possession
• Possession with the Intent to Sell
• Sale / Distribution
• Cultivation
• Importation
• Transportation
• Trafficking

Overview of Florida Drug Possession Laws

“Simple possession” is a drug offense for possession by a defendant who did not manufacture, distribute, or sell the controlled substance. Instead, the defendant likely held the controlled substance for personal use. Simple possession of most controlled substances specified by Florida state laws may be charged as a third degree felony. However, state law allows a first degree misdemeanor charge for simple possession of cannabis — marijuana — in an amount less than twenty grams.

To establish the elements of drug possession, a Florida state prosecutor must show:

  • The illegal nature of the controlled substance: The prosecutor must present evidence that the seized material is a controlled substance as defined by Florida law. This element generally requires scientific analysis by a crime lab.
  • The defendant’s knowledge of the drug: The prosecutor must show that the defendant actually knew or should have known about the illicit nature of the controlled substance and its presence.
  • The defendant’s control of the drug: The prosecutor must prove that the defendant had control over the location and presence of the controlled substance. A prosecutor likely has a more straightforward case if the defendant had the drugs on the defendant’s body or in a container held by the defendant. However, the prosecutor can also establish the defendant’s control by describing the location where the drugs were found and showing that the defendant controlled the premises.

“Possession with intent to sell” includes all legal elements of simple possession, but also requires proof of the defendant’s intent to sell or distribute the drugs. The specific charge depends on the type of controlled substance involved in the crime. For example, a state prosecutor may bring a third degree felony charge for marijuana possession with intent to sell. In contrast, possession of cocaine with intent to sell may be charged as a second degree felony. Some controlled substances with medicinal qualities, such as prescription drugs, may qualify for misdemeanor charges.

Defenses to Drug Possession Charges

  • Lack of knowledge that the material was a controlled substance
  • Valid prescription from a medical professional
  • Entrapment arranged by police
  • Fourth Amendment violation due to unlawful search and seizure

Below are some of the penalties one might be facing depending on the type of drug the individual possessed and the weight of the drug.  Drug charges, especially those involving trafficking, are aggressively pursued by the State Attorney’s Office and often carry very long “mandatory” sentences, some of which can be seen below:

Possession of Marijuana (less than 20 grams):

1st Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in jail.

Possession of Marijuana (over 20 grams):

3rd Degree Felony punishable by up to five (5) years in state prison.

Possession of Cocaine (under 28 grams):

3rd Degree Felony punishable by up to five (5) years in state prison.

Possession of a Controlled Substance (under trafficking weight- See below):

3rd Degree Felony punishable by up to five (5) years in state prison.

 

Florida Trafficking Laws:

Marijuana:

(1) Except as authorized in this chapter or in chapter 499 and notwithstanding the provisions of s. 893.13:

(a) Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, in excess of 25 pounds of cannabis, or 300 or more cannabis plants, commits a felony of the first degree, which felony shall be known as “trafficking in cannabis,” punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. If the quantity of cannabis involved:

1. Is in excess of 25 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds, or is 300 or more cannabis plants, but not more than 2,000 cannabis plants, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $25,000.

2. Is 2,000 pounds or more, but less than 10,000 pounds, or is 2,000 or more cannabis plants, but not more than 10,000 cannabis plants, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.

3. Is 10,000 pounds or more, or is 10,000 or more cannabis plants, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 calendar years and pay a fine of $200,000.

Cocaine:

(b)1. Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 28 grams or more of cocaine, as described in s. 893.03(2)(a)4., or of any mixture containing cocaine, but less than 150 kilograms of cocaine or any such mixture, commits a felony of the first degree, which felony shall be known as “trafficking in cocaine,” punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. If the quantity involved:

a. Is 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.

b. Is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.

c. Is 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 calendar years and pay a fine of $250,000.

2. Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 150 kilograms or more of cocaine, as described in s. 893.03(2)(a)4., commits the first degree felony of trafficking in cocaine. A person who has been convicted of the first degree felony of trafficking in cocaine under this subparagraph shall be punished by life imprisonment and is ineligible for any form of discretionary early release except pardon or executive clemency or conditional medical release under s. 947.149.

Morphine, Opium, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone:

(c)1. Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 4 grams or more of any morphine, opium, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, or any salt, derivative, isomer, or salt of an isomer thereof, including heroin, as described in s. 893.03(1)(b), (2)(a), (3)(c)3., or (3)(c)4., or 4 grams or more of any mixture containing any such substance, but less than 30 kilograms of such substance or mixture, commits a felony of the first degree, which felony shall be known as “trafficking in illegal drugs,” punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. If the quantity involved:

a. Is 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.

b. Is 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.

c. Is 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 calendar years and pay a fine of $500,000.

2. Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 30 kilograms or more of any morphine, opium, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, or any salt, derivative, isomer, or salt of an isomer thereof, including heroin, as described in s. 893.03(1)(b), (2)(a), (3)(c)3., or (3)(c)4., or 30 kilograms or more of any mixture containing any such substance, commits the first degree felony of trafficking in illegal drugs. A person who has been convicted of the first degree felony of trafficking in illegal drugs under this subparagraph shall be punished by life imprisonment and is ineligible for any form of discretionary early release except pardon or executive clemency or conditional medical release under s. 947.149. However, if the court determines that, in addition to committing any act specified in this paragraph:

Methamphetamine:

(f)1. Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 14 grams or more of amphetamine, as described in s. 893.03(2)(c)2., or methamphetamine, as described in s. 893.03(2)(c)4., or of any mixture containing amphetamine or methamphetamine, or phenylacetone, phenylacetic acid, pseudoephedrine, or ephedrine in conjunction with other chemicals and equipment utilized in the manufacture of amphetamine or methamphetamine, commits a felony of the first degree, which felony shall be known as “trafficking in amphetamine,” punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. If the quantity involved:

a. Is 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.

b. Is 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.

c. Is 200 grams or more, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 calendar years and pay a fine of $250,000.

GHB:

(h)1. Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 1 kilogram or more of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), as described in s. 893.03(1)(d), or any mixture containing gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), commits a felony of the first degree, which felony shall be known as “trafficking in gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB),” punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. If the quantity involved:

a. Is 1 kilogram or more but less than 5 kilograms, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.

b. Is 5 kilograms or more but less than 10 kilograms, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.

c. Is 10 kilograms or more, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 calendar years and pay a fine of $250,000.

Ecstacy (MDMA):

(k)1. Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 10 grams or more of any of the following substances described in s. 893.03(1)(a) or (c):

a. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA);

individually or in any combination of or any mixture containing any substance listed in sub-subparagraphs a.-o., commits a felony of the first degree, which felony shall be known as “trafficking in Phenethylamines,” punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

2. If the quantity involved:

a. Is 10 grams or more but less than 200 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.

b. Is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.

c. Is 400 grams or more, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 calendar years and pay a fine of $250,000.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for or charged with a drug offense, please contact the Offices of Benjamin & Melmer.