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):

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

 

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