Arrested For Drug Possession In Okaloosa County? Call Me To Discuss – It’s Free
Florida has been leading the way in ramping-up penalties for just about every sort of drug related crime. Even though criminal justice experts from both prosecution and defense camps agree that the war on drugs was a failure on many levels, Florida is unlikely to make many changes considering the current makeup of our legislature.
Because of this….. the police in Okaloosa County are also ramping-up efforts to make drug possession arrests.
First, if you or a family member has been arrested for drug possession, you have to understand just how broad the word “possession” is. Florida Statutes lists and defines nearly all drug charges under Chapter 893.
One example, is Fla. Stat. § 893.13(6) – Possession of a Controlled Substance. Simply put, an individual can be charged with drug possession if they have actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance without a lawful prescription. This offense can result in either a felony or misdemeanor conviction depending on the type of drug and the amount of the substance the person had in their possession.
The next level or category of Drug Possession to consider is Possession with Intent to Sell – Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1). An individual can be charged with this offense if they possess a controlled substance with the intent to sell it, manufacture it or deliver the substance. This offense is punishable as a felony or misdemeanor offense depending on the type of substance possessed, where the substance was intended to be sold, and if the substance was possessed with the intent to be sold to or in front of a person under the age of 16.
Possession with Intent is a very ambiguous charge and police like using it to “trump up” a possession case. On the other hand, we rarely see a specific drug manufacturing charge. Now a person can be charged with this offense if they manufacture a controlled substance. A conviction for this offense can be a felony or misdemeanor offense, depending on the type of substance manufactured, where the substance was manufactured, and if the substance was manufactured in the presence of a child or person under the age of 16.
Certain drug manufacturing offenses can lead to mandatory minimum prison terms. However, for the most part, we see these charges get lumped into “Sale, Manufacture or Deliver.” This subset of drug possession is a second degree felony and the offenders almost always are facing a prison sentence if convicted.
Drug Trafficking – Fla. Stat. § 893.13: A person can be charged with this offense regardless if they sell, deliver, or merely possess a certain amount of any controlled substance. They can also be charged with this offense if they bring into Florida a controlled substance they were not lawfully authorized to possess. This offense is punishable as a felony depending on the type of drug trafficked, the amount of the drugs and where the substances were trafficked to/from. Minimum mandatory prison sentences abound here…
Purchase of a Controlled Substance – Fla. Stat. § 893.13: An individual can be charged with this offense if they purchase or possess with the intent to purchase any controlled substance. This offense is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the type and amount of the substance that was possessed.
Penalties for a Drug Conviction in Florida Are Based on Degree of Crime Charged
Penalties for drug charges in Florida are listed in Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082, 775.083 and 775.084. Although these statutes provide for minimum punishments depending on the degree of the offense, they can be increased depending on several factors. If an individual commits an offense that involves the death or serious bodily injury of another person, they are a habitual felony offender, violent career criminal or a habitual violent felony offender, they can receive a greater penalty. The following are minimum sentences under the Florida Statutes for each degree of drug offenses:
- A Misdemeanor of the Second Degree drug offense can result in a jail sentence up to 60 days and/or a fine up to $500;
- A Misdemeanor of the First Degree drug offense can lead to a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine not greater than $1,000;
- A Felony of the Third Degree drug offense can result in a prison sentence not more than five years and/or a fine not exceeding $5,000;
- A Felony of the Second Degree drug offense can lead a prison sentence not greater than 15 years and/or a fine not more than $10,000;
- A Felony of the First Degree drug offense can result in a prison sentence up to 30 years and/or a fine up to $10,000;
- A Life Felony drug offense can result in imprisonment up to 30 years or not more than life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $15,000;
***Please note that some drug fines may be $50,000.00 or more, depending on the charge. The above listed fines are statutory, non-specific fines based only the degree of the crime.