Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Possession Charges

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Posted on August 31, 2011 by Jeffrey Feiler

Know the Difference between Various Drug Related Charges in Florida
According to the Constitution of the United States, all citizens of the United States are subject to the same laws and the same penalties for breaking those laws. Everyone is supposed to be equal. The same is true for the laws themselves. Each state has a set of laws that determines not only what the law is, but also what the penalty is for breaking those laws. Understanding those penalties is important because it can literally mean the difference between life and death.

When it comes to drug possession charges, there are many levels of offenses, starting with misdemeanors in the first degree, which is the least offensive of the crimes, as they are defined.

Misdemeanor of the First Degree
These offenses are generally "personal use" oriented. In other words, if a person is found with less than a specific number of grams of marijuana in their possession, (and it is obvious to the arresting officer and the prosecutor that there is no intent to distribute or sell the drugs) the person will probably be charged with possession as a First Degree Misdemeanor. Make no mistake - This is still a crime and punishments will be left up to the discretion of the judge. The maximum sentence when a person is convicted of a First Degree Misdemeanor in the State of Florida is one year in jail with a fine of not more than $1000.00.

Drug Felonies in the State of Florida
A felony is a more serious crime. When a person is convicted of a felony, they will lose certain rights that they would normally have just because they are citizens of the United States. For instance, a person who is convicted of a felony no longer has the right to bear arms as guaranteed in the Second Amendment of the Constitution. A person convicted of a felony no longer has the right to vote for any representatives, like state lawmakers or the President of the United States. They may be subject to certain restrictions such as not being allowed to apply for certain government jobs, or to obtain a passport for international travel.

Being convicted of a felony is a serious matter. It is important that the individual has a good legal team on their side to represent and protect them from the ramifications that may come if the individual is found guilty of the crime.

Felony of the Third Degree
If an individual is convicted of a crime that is a Felony of the Third Degree, he or she may face up to 5 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $5000.00.

Felony of the Second Degree
A Felony of the Second Degree is a crime that can result in a prison term of up to 15 years. The fines for a Second Degree Felony are double that of a Third Degree Felony, or $10,000.00.

Felony of the First Degree
This is the most severe drug related level of charges in the State of Florida. The punishment for a person convicted of a Felony of the First Degree could be sentenced to serve as many as 30 years in prison for each account of which they are convicted. This means that if a person is charged with two separate crimes and both of them are First Degree Felonies, the person could go to prison for 60 years. The fine for a drug related Felony of the First Degree in the State of Florida is severe as well. Normally, the fine is the same as that of a Second Degree Felony: $10,000.00. However, if the charges are drug related, the laws of the State of Florida provide for much more severe fines. Depending upon the kind of drug, from cannabis to cocaine, the fines could run as high as $250,000.00.

The job of an experienced criminal trial attorney is to help individuals who have been charged with a crime- whether a misdemeanor or a felony offense- by ensuring that the accused person's rights are protected.


Jeffrey Feiler is a well-known Miami criminal defense lawyer and Miami DUI Lawyer who has been successfully defending the rights of clients for over 20 years. Mr. Feiler and the Feiler Law Firm are compassionate to individual's needs, while simultaneously obtaining desired resolutions and judgements.



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