The criminal charge of drug possession in Florida may be brought against a person for the act of physically possessing a controlled substance. In many cases, the person is in possession of the substance for personal use and not for distribution. Possession of a controlled substance may be charged as a felony in Florida with exceptions for prescribed medical marijuana and some other circumstances. Bath salts and spice have been added to the list of banned substances in Florida.
Possession with intent to sell includes all of the elements of a drug possession charge along with the additional aspect of the defendant’s intent to distribute or sell the drugs. The exact charge brought by prosecutors depends on the circumstances of the situation. The requirements of drug possession charges in Florida are that the substance is in the possession of the defendant, that the substance is illegal and that the defendant knows or should know that the drug is illegal.
The penalties for first-degree misdemeanor possession include up to one year in jail plus court costs. Multiple convictions of first-degree misdemeanor charges may result in increased penalties. A third-degree felony drug possession conviction may be punished by up to five years in prison. A conviction on a first-degree felony possession charge could result in up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
People who are facing charges for drug possession or other drug crimes in Florida might want to schedule a meeting with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney who has experience with drug offenses may be able to help by examining the facts for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case or by negotiating a plea bargain with the other side. An attorney might also be able to argue against the admission of prosecution evidence or cross-examine state’s witnesses during a criminal trial.