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Last Updated on: 3rd November 2023, 07:11 pm
Drug Possession Charges in Florida: Penalties for Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin and Hiring a Lawyer
Getting charged with drug possession in Florida can be scary. The penalties are harsh, and it can really mess up your life. But having a good lawyer on your side makes a huge difference. I want to walk you through the common drug charges in Florida, the penalties, and why you need a lawyer to fight for you. I’ll be real with you in this article – no legal mumbo jumbo. My goal is to help you understand what you’re facing so you can make smart choices.
Let’s start with weed – it’s the most common drug charge in Florida.
- Possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor. You can get up to 1 year in jail and $1000 fine. Not fun, but not the end of the world either.
- Possessing 20 – 200 grams bumps it up to a 3rd degree felony. Now you’re looking at up to 5 years in prison and $5000 fine.
- Possessing 200 – 400 grams makes it a 2nd degree felony with max 15 years prison and $10,000 fine.
- Over 400 grams is a 1st degree felony with 30 years prison and $10,000 fine.
You can see how quickly those penalties ramp up! Even a small amount over 20 grams shoots you into felony territory.It gets worse if you’re busted with weed near a school, park, church or government building. Add an extra 3 years minimum prison to any of those charges above if caught within 1000 feet of places like that.The cops and prosecutors take marijuana charges seriously in Florida. They’ll hit you with the highest charges possible. So having an experienced drug crimes lawyer is critical to try to reduce the charges.An attorney may be able to get your weed charges dropped or reduced by challenging the legality of the search, discrediting the cops’ testimony or getting you into a diversion program.Diversion programs like drug court can be a lifesaver – they let you avoid jail time if you complete drug counseling and probation. But you usually need a lawyer’s help to get into them.
Cocaine crimes are always felonies in Florida. Even possessing a tiny amount can completely ruin your life if convicted as charged.
- Possession of any amount of cocaine is a 3rd degree felony with 5 years prison.
- Between 200-400 grams bumps it up to a 1st degree felony with 30 years prison.
- Trafficking between 28-200 grams brings a 3 year minimum mandatory prison sentence.
- Trafficking between 200-400 grams has a 7 year minimum mandatory.
You see how quick it goes from a few years to decades in prison? And those minimum mandatories are no joke – the judge cannot reduce the sentence below 3 or 7 years no matter what.Having cocaine within 1000 feet of schools, parks, etc brings enhanced penalties too. Now you’re facing minimum 3 years prison on top of the felony possession.Your only hope is an experienced cocaine crimes attorney who can try to get the charges reduced or thrown out. It’s a long shot, but possible with the right lawyer.
Like cocaine, heroin possession is always a felony in Florida no matter the amount.
- Possession of any amount brings up to 5 years prison as a 3rd degree felony.
- Between 4-14 grams bumps it up to a 1st degree felony with 30 years prison.
- Trafficking between 4-14 grams has a 3 year minimum mandatory sentence.
- Trafficking between 14-28 grams brings a 15 year minimum mandatory.
See how fast it goes from a few years to decades behind bars? Terrifying.Having heroin within 1000 feet of a school or park tacks on an additional 3 years minimum prison time no matter what.Your only hope is an aggressive lawyer who knows how to challenge the evidence and negotiate with the prosecution. Diversion programs rarely apply to heroin charges, unfortunately.
Prescription Drug Charges
Abusing or selling prescription meds can land you in just as much trouble as street drugs. Common prescription drug charges include:
- Possession of Xanax, OxyContin, Vicodin, stimulants like Adderall, etc. is a 3rd degree felony with 5 years prison.
- Between 4-14 grams brings up to 30 years prison as a 1st degree felony.
- Trafficking between 4-14 grams adds a 3 year minimum mandatory.
- Trafficking between 14-28 grams is a 15 year minimum mandatory.
Again, you can see how quickly the penalties ramp up from a few years to decades in prison. And trafficking prescriptions has the same minimum mandatories as street drugs.Having prescription drugs within 1000 feet of schools, parks and other protected places adds a minimum 3 years prison time.The penalties for prescription meds are harsh because the government takes diversion seriously. But an experienced lawyer can often get the charges reduced significantly or thrown out.
Why You Desperately Need a Lawyer
As you can see, Florida does not mess around with drug charges. Even marijuana can land you years behind bars. Hard drugs like cocaine and heroin often lead to decades in prison.The cops and prosecutors will hit you with the highest charges possible. Mandatory minimums take away the judge’s discretion to reduce your sentence. Your back is against the wall from day one.A skilled drug crimes lawyer is your only hope. An attorney knows how to challenge the evidence and get charges reduced or dismissed. They can negotiate with the prosecution much more effectively than you can on your own.A lawyer is also your best chance at getting into a diversion program to avoid jail time. And they understand how to present mitigating circumstances to the judge to lower your sentence if convicted.Sure, hiring a lawyer costs money. But it’s an investment in your future and freedom. A few years of legal fees beats decades in prison! Public defenders are free, but they are completely overloaded. Private lawyers have time to dedicate to your defense.Don’t wait to call an attorney! The earlier you have a lawyer advising you, the better. From the moment of arrest, you need to keep quiet and let your attorney handle the police.Hiring the best drug crimes lawyer you can afford is critical. Shop around and find someone experienced, aggressive and who makes you feel comfortable. Meet for a free consultation before deciding.I hope this article helped you understand the serious drug penalties in Florida and why fighting the charges with a lawyer gives you the best chance. You can beat this! It will take work, but taking control of your future starts right now.