Arrest For Possession of a Controlled Substance
Criminal Defense Lawyer Details The Penalties And Defense Strategies
Under Florida Statute 893.13(6), a person who possesses a controlled substance that is prohibited under the law commits a crime.
This possession may be either actual or constructive.
Florida Statute 893.02(21) states “possession includes temporary possession for the purpose of verification or testing, irrespective of dominion or control.” To prove this crime, the State is required to prove that the defendant:
(1) knew of the presence of the substance;
(2) exercised dominion and control over the substance; and,
(3) the substance was a prohibited substance under Florida law.
The Penalties For Possession Of A Controlled Substance
The penalties for possession of a controlled substance differ depending upon the substance the person possessed.
If the substance is less than twenty gram of cannabis (marijuana/pot), the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of incarceration or probation and a $1,000 fine.
If the substance is less than ten grams of any substance listed in under Florida Statute 893.03(1)(a), such as fentanyl, the crime is a first-degree felony punishable by up to thirty years prison or probation and a $10,000 fine.
If the substance is a milligram quantity of any substance listed under Florida Statute 893.03(5), the crime is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty days incarceration and a $500 fine. If the substance possessed is a non-trafficking weight of any other substance, the crime is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years prison or probation and a $5,000 fine.
Criminal Defense For Possession Of A Controlled Substance
Numerous defenses exist to the crime of possession of a controlled substance.
Lack of knowledge of the controlled substance is a defense. For example, if the defendant is not accused of being in actual possession of the controlled substance, many defenses exist to constructive possession of a controlled substance.
These defenses extend to cases where a defendant is accused of joint possession of a controlled substance (multiple persons accused of possessing the same substance).
Having practiced exclusively as a criminal defense lawyer for a number of years, I can tell you that the best way to prevail in a Possession of a Controlled Substance case is to find a way to get the drug contraband evidence excluded.
Most commonly, this is accomplished by filing a Motion to Suppress or Exclude Evidence based on illegal police conduct or procedures during a vehicle stop or search.
The key is that the criminal defense attorney must not only be aware of the possible angles and issues regarding the search, but they also must be exceedingly proficient in legal research in order to keep up with an ever-changing and evolving statutory law and case law.
So if you have a Possession of Controlled Substance charge in Okaloosa County or Walton County, be sure to ask your prospective attorney specific approaches and strategies tailored to your individual case’s fact pattern.
For free evaluation of your arrest, or a family members arrest, give me a call at (850) 362-6655.