Drug use continues to be a serious problem in America. Whether it is hard drugs like narcotics or pharmaceutical drugs like opioids, drug abuse affects millions of lives across the country. It is not just the people taking drugs that are impacted, their loved ones often bear the brunt of their drug use as well. The abuse of drugs is a problem because of the negative effect that addiction to any kind of drug has on the health and life of the user and also because addiction can be hard to break. Another effect of drug addiction is the legal consequences of drug possession.
The penalties and punishments for drug possession are very serious and can put a person behind bars for a very long time. So if you or someone you know was arrested for drug possession, then you need to contact an attorney as quickly as possible. They can help to reduce the charges so that you will not have to face the worst consequences of drug possession. If you live in the Orlando area, then you should contact the Parikh Law Firm for help with your drug possession case.
What is Drug Possession?
A person is charged with possession when they are caught with drugs that they did not sell, distribute or manufacture; any of those actions would constitute drug trafficking rather than drug possession. A person is charged with possession when the drugs they are carrying are meant for personal use. However, for a person to be charged with possession it needs to be proven that the person had knowledge and was in control of the controlled substance. That is not always easy since it is possible that one party could have stashed the drugs without another person’s knowledge.
Fortunately, Florida has laws that distinguish between the different kinds of possession. There is actual possession and constructive possession. Active possession is when drugs are physically found on a person, such as in their pockets, in their shoes, or hidden compartments in their clothing. Constructive possession is when drugs were not found on a person but evidence shows that drugs were in their control. This means that drugs were found in a place owned or controlled by the person, such as their home or their vehicle.
The Penalties for Drug Possession
Some people see drug use and possession as a problem that needs to be solved by rehabilitation and others see it as a problem that needs to be solved by punishment. But regardless of anyone’s feelings on the matter, the fact is that the penalties for the possession of drugs can be very severe. Those penalties vary from state to state and are affected by the type and amount of drugs on the person at the time of their arrest. One of the types of drugs whose legality varies from state to state is marijuana. It has been legalized or decriminalized in some states, but not in others. Florida is one of the states where marijuana is still illegal, though the use of medical marijuana is permitted.
Anyone charged with drug possession in Florida faces one of the following three charges:
First Degree Misdemeanor – This happens when a person possesses up to 20 grams of marijuana. The penalty for this is up to a year in prison and/or a $1000 fine.
Third Degree Felony – A person is charged with this when they possess more than 20 grams of marijuana, up to 28 grams of cocaine, up to 10 grams of MDMA/Ecstasy, up to 1 gram of LSD, up to 7 grams of oxycodone, and up to 4 grams of heroin or other opiates like Fentanyl. The penalties are up to five years in prison and or $5000 in fines.
First Degree Felony – This charge is for when a person possesses more than 25 pounds of marijuana, more than 28 grams of cocaine, more than 10 grams of MDMA/Ecstasy, more than 1 gram of LSD, more than 7 grams of oxycodone, and more than 4 grams of heroin. The penalties for this charge are up to thirty years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Contact an Attorney If You Have Been Charged With Drug Possession
Aside from the criminal penalties, someone who is charged with drug possession may face various social and economic problems as well. They may find it harder to get gainful employment, secure a student loan, or get a mortgage. That is why it is vital that anyone who was charged with drug possession contact an attorney so that the charge does not permanently ruin their life. So be sure to contact an attorney if you were charged with drug possession so that you have a better chance of avoiding the worst consequences such a charge can bring.