Cultivating or manufacturing certain drugs in Florida is illegal, and many Floridians have faced prosecution and serious penalties for possessing even small amounts of an illegal drug. Following is what you need to know if you ever find yourself charged with possessing illegal drugs in Florida.
In Florida it is a violation of law to deal in certain drugs. Those illegal drugs, or “controlled substances,” are defined by Florida law and it is illegal to
- manufacture, or
- deliver, or
- possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver
those controlled substances.
In addition to the above, Florida statute separately prohibits cultivating and manufacturing certain other controlled substances. This includes growing cannabis (marijuana) plants and processing cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine, and similar drugs.
The main factor in the penalties for cultivating or manufacturing drugs in Florida is the type of illegal drug involved. Florida has five separate categories of controlled substances, each with its own level of severity.
The fifth and least serious of these categories are those that the state of Florida says have a low risk of substance abuse and include
among others. Some drugs, including codeine, are legal to possess if they are below a certain concentration in various medicines.
A conviction for dealing in a Schedule V drug is a first degree misdemeanor and may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
More serious is a conviction for dealing in Schedule IV drugs, which lawmakers say are prescription medications with a higher risk of abuse. They include
A conviction for dealing in Schedule IV drugs is a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
More serious than this are the drugs in Schedule III typically have a higher risk of abuse than the previous schedules. Drugs on this schedule include
- anabolic steroids,
- codeine mixed with aspirin or acetaminophen
among others. A conviction for possessing drugs in this schedule is also a third degree felony.
Schedule II drugs are those that may or may not have a legitimate medical use, but they all share a high risk of addiction and abuse. Drugs in these categories include
A conviction for possession of some of these drugs is a third degree felony, while the penalty for conviction of most of the drugs on this list is a second degree felony, which could lead to a prison sentence of up to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.
The most serious class of illegal drugs is Schedule I, which the law presumes to have no medicinal use and a high risk of abuse. Drugs in this category include
- cannabis (marijuana),
among others. A conviction for possessing a Schedule I drug is a second degree felony.
Typical defenses to a charge of cultivating or manufacturing drugs include medical necessity and a Fourth Amendment claim that the evidence used in the prosecution was not obtained in a legal manner by the state.