Were you arrested for a drug crime in Pensacola? Have you been charged with or are you under investigation for a drug-related offense? If so, you need to act quickly to protect yourself from the consequences of a criminal conviction.
Your reputation and future are at risk, as a conviction for even simple possession of drugs carries penalties such as jail or prison time and fines. A mark on your criminal record could also impact your life by making it difficult to apply for employment, housing, educational opportunities, or financing.
Don’t leave the outcome of your criminal case to chance. Turn to a Pensacola drug possession lawyer from Cardoso Law, PLLC, for legal advocacy to help you fight your drug charges.
At Cardoso Law, PLLC, we’re here to provide the guidance, support, and aggressive representation you deserve. Facing criminal prosecution can be a difficult, stressful experience, especially if this is your first arrest. Hiring us will give you peace of mind knowing your case is in good hands.
We will pursue every avenue and option to secure the best possible outcome for your charges. We’re also committed to staying in close contact with you throughout the process. Whenever you have a question or need an update on the progress of your case, you can expect a prompt response from us.
Hiring a lawyer is one of the biggest decisions you will make if you face criminal charges. Choose a lawyer with the right experience to defend you. Contact Cardoso Law, PLLC, to talk to a drug possession lawyer about your situation.
Overview of Florida Drug Laws and Penalties
Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes lists the Florida laws on drug possession and other drug matters. These laws prohibit any interaction with controlled substances except where otherwise authorized by state law. Federal drug laws also outlaw many of the same conduct prohibited by Florida law.
Examples of prohibited behaviors include possession, manufacturing, or trafficking of drugs.
Drug possession crimes cover several different offenses. These include:
- Simple possession of drugs intended for personal consumption
- Possession with intent to deliver
- Possession with intent to sell
Drug possession charges can be graded at a higher criminal offense if an offender gets arrested while possessing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, park, childcare facility, community center, or public recreational facility.
Certain factors may result in possession being charged as possession with intent to distribute. These include:
- The quantity of drugs involved;
- How the drugs are packaged; and
- Whether the drugs were found in proximity to other evidence of drug distribution, such as scales, packaging equipment, or large quantities of cash.
Types of drug possession include actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession occurs when drugs are found on an individual’s person or in their bag. Constructive possession occurs when an individual exercises custody or control over drugs. Therefore, a person does not need to have drugs on them or in proximity to have possession. A prosecutor can prove construction possession if, for example, police find drugs in the trunk of a driver’s vehicle or a person’s bedroom.
Penalties for drug possession in Florida can range from first-degree misdemeanor penalties to first-degree felony penalties depending on the type and quantity of drugs.
Drug manufacturing refers to the illicit cultivation of agricultural products for processing into drugs or the chemical processing of ingredients into a controlled substance. Even possessing equipment commonly used in drug manufacturing may be charged under the offense of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Drug trafficking involves the transportation of drugs from a manufacturer to a distributor, between distributors, or from a distributor to a drug seller. Drug trafficking frequently occurs across state and international borders; when it does, the prosecution and charges may occur under federal drug laws, which have harsher penalties for conviction compared to Florida drug laws.
Drug Schedules in Florida
Section 893.03 of the Florida Statutes lists Florida’s drug schedule. The drug schedules categorize controlled substances into five schedules based on a drug’s potential for abuse or addiction and its accepted medical uses. They range from the most dangerous drugs in Schedule I to the least dangerous drugs in Schedule V. The five schedules are:
- Schedule I – These are substances determined to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use or use under medical supervision that would meet accepted safety standards. Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, cannabis, THC, and PCP.
- Schedule II – These substances are deemed to have a high potential for abuse. However, they also have currently accepted, severely restricted medical use, where abuse of such substances could lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Schedule II drugs include opium, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, cocaine, methadone, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.
- Schedule III – These substances have currently accepted medical use and have a potential for abuse less than the substances in Schedules I and II. The abuse would lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Examples of Schedule III drugs include barbituric acid, anabolic steroids, and ketamine.
- Schedule IV – These substances have currently accepted medical uses and a low potential for abuse, although abuse can lead to limited physical or psychological dependence. Schedule IV drugs include barbital, clonazepam, diazepam, phenobarbital, and tramadol.
- Schedule V – Schedule V substances have currently accepted medical use and have a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule IV drugs. Schedule V substance abuse can potentially lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to Schedule IV drugs. Schedule V substances include compounds or mixtures containing limited quantities of controlled substances such as codeine or opium.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession?
Penalties for drug possession in Florida depend on the type (such as Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 drugs) and quantity of the controlled substance involved. Drug possession charges range from a first-degree misdemeanor, such as for possession of under 20 grams of marijuana, to a first-degree felony for possession of certain Schedule I drugs.
Potential sentences for conviction on drug possession charges include:
- First-degree misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail and a possible fine of up to $1,000
- Third-degree felony – Up to five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000
- Second-degree felony – Up to 15 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000
- First-degree felony – Up to 30 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000
Drug possession convictions can also carry other penalties, such as requirements to attend drug abuse rehabilitation, perform community service, or serve a period of driver’s license suspension.
How a Pensacola Drug Crime Attorney Can Defend You
A Pensacola drug crime attorney from Cardoso Law, PLLC, will fight to protect your freedom and future when facing drug charges. You can trust our firm to spare no effort in pursuing a favorable resolution to your case. You can expect us to thoroughly prepare your case and provide you with communication and status updates at every step.
After you reach out to us following an arrest or arraignment on drug charges, our Pensacola drug crime lawyer will immediately get to work on your case strategy by:
- Independently investigating your charges to recover all available evidence we might use to prepare your defense, instead of just relying on evidence turned over by the prosecution.
- Protecting your rights during your arrest and questioning by police.
- Going over your charges with you to explain possible outcomes and potential defense strategies you may have available to you.
- Moving to exclude evidence obtained by violation of your rights, such as in an illegal search or an improper interrogation by the police.
- Challenging the sufficiency of the state’s case against you by filing motions to reduce or dismiss your charges.
- Evaluating alternative resolutions to your charges, such as applying for your admission to drug court.
- If appropriate, aggressively negotiating on your behalf to try to reach a plea agreement that allows you to avoid the most severe penalties from a conviction, so that you can get back to your life sooner.
- Preparing and presenting a compelling defense case at trial if you decide to assert your innocence and fight your charges.
Contact Our Pensacola Drug Crimes Law Firm
The criminal justice system moves quickly, so don’t wait to talk to a drug crime lawyer in Pensacola if you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime.
We serve clients throughout the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Metro Area, the Emerald Coast, and the Florida Panhandle. Contact Cardoso Law, PLLC, today for a confidential consultation to discuss how our Pensacola drug crime attorneys could help protect your reputation, freedom, and future.