What Are Drug Crimes? Possession Charges and More in the State of Florida


Posted on March 01, 2016 by Jeffrey Feiler

What Are Drug Crimes? Possession Charges and More in the State of Florida Are you familiar with the ramifications of drug possession in the State of Florida? As your local South Florida criminal lawyer, I'd like to advise you on drug crimes and finding the best defense.

In State court cases, possession of any type of controlled substance is a felony. The only exception is possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, which is a misdemeanor.

Drug crimes tends to fall into one of the following three categories:

  1. Simple Possession
  2. Possession with Intent to Sell, Sale, Manufacture
  3. Trafficking

Simple Possession is the least serious of the felony drug offenses. It usually involves small quantities of a drug for personal use. For example, three Xanax pills would be Simple Possession.

The second category, Possession with Intent to Sell, usually involves a larger quantity of drugs. It also tends to involve drugs that are packaged in a certain way which indicates they are for sale. For example, a person is searched by the Police, who find 20 packets of Cocaine, each containing one gram. It is pretty clear that you have a street level drug dealer who is selling Cocaine in small quantities. Another example is a person found with 15 MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly) pills walking into the Ultra electronic music festival. Since one person is not going to be taking 15 pills, it can be assumed that they are intending to sell most or all of the other pills.

Should the Defendant be caught selling within 1000 feet of a school, this offense may be enhanced to include a three-year minimum mandatory prison sentence.

The final category is what is known as "Trafficking". This deals with larger quantities or weight of drugs. In the case of Cocaine, for example, there are several levels of Trafficking. A person caught with 28 grams to 200 grams of Cocaine is Trafficking with a three-year minimum mandatory sentence. 200 grams to 400 grams would be a seven-year minimum mandatory, and more than 400 grams would be a fifteen-year minimum mandatory. All three levels are considered to be Trafficking, but the minimum mandatory sentences increase with the quantity of drugs. This is true for many other drugs that have variable minimum mandatory's, some as much as 25 years.

There are other drug related offenses, such as Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. A scale to weigh quantities of drugs is considered paraphernalia. Likewise, a pipe or bong used to consume a controlled substance would be considered drug paraphernalia.

Using a House to Manufacture Drugs, such as a meth lab, is another additional offense to the drug charge itself.

Florida Statute 893.03 provides a "Schedule" listing all of the controlled substances. That Schedule is periodically revised to change or add substances. For example, Ephedrine was not on the list of controlled substances a few years ago. It was being sold over the counter as a weight-loss substance. Subsequently it was listed as a controlled substance which now is illegal to possess without a valid prescription.

Prescription drugs are controlled substances, such as pain medications, like Percocet and Oxycodone. If a person has a valid prescription from a Doctor and Pharmacy, he or she can possess their prescription without concern about being arrested. However, someone in possession of pharmaceuticals who does not have a valid prescription is considered to be just as guilty as someone who possesses Heroin or Cocaine or other street drugs.

Are you facing a possession, possession with intent to sell, or trafficking charge? Prepare for the best outcome by hiring an experienced criminal lawyer: Jeffrey Feiler of the Jeffrey Feiler Law Firm. Call us at (305) 670-7700 for a consultation today!

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