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Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorneys List the Punishments for Different Drug Crimes

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorneys List the Punishments for Different Drug Crimes

Drug crimes carry serious penalties here in Tallahassee, ranging from fines and probation to lengthy prison sentences. As a criminal defense attorney practicing in the capital city, I want to provide an overview of the punishments for different drug offenses under Florida law. This will help those charged with drug crimes understand what they are potentially facing and the importance of retaining an experienced drug crimes lawyer.

Possession of Marijuana

Marijuana laws have relaxed over the years, but possession still remains illegal in Florida. The penalties depend on the amount:

  • 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine[1].
  • More than 20 grams is a felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine[2].
  • Possession of more than 25 pounds is a first-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine[3].

For first-time offenders, a diversion program may be available to avoid a conviction. But for repeat offenders or those caught with large amounts, the punishments can be severe. An attorney can help negotiate reduced charges or probation.

Possession of Cocaine

Cocaine laws take the drug’s highly addictive nature into account. Possession of even small amounts can lead to stiff penalties:

  • Less than 28 grams (1 ounce) is a third-degree felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine[4].
  • Between 28 grams and 150 kilograms is a second-degree felony with up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine[5].
  • 150 kilograms or more is a first-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Those caught with only residue amounts may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed. But anything more calls for an aggressive legal defense.

Possession of Heroin and Opioids

Heroin laws target traffickers, but simple possession also brings harsh punishment:

  • Less than 10 grams of heroin is a third-degree felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Between 10 and 30 grams is a second-degree felony with up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • 30 grams or more is a first-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Possession of other opioids like oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl is penalized on a similar scale depending on the weight. Any amount can lead to jail time and a criminal record.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
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Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
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Anthony Williams
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divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Possession of Methamphetamine

Meth possession is viewed as seriously as heroin possession under Florida law:

  • Less than 5 grams is a third-degree felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Between 5 and 200 grams is a second-degree felony with up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • 200 grams or more is a first-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Even residue amounts are prosecuted aggressively. Those facing meth possession charges need an attorney to challenge the evidence.

Possession of MDMA (Ecstasy)

MDMA is classified as a hallucinogen under Florida law. Possession penalties include:

  • Less than 3 grams is a third-degree felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Between 3 and 10 grams is a second-degree felony with up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • More than 10 grams is a first-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Any MDMA possession charge must be taken seriously. An experienced lawyer can argue for drug diversion or reduced charges when appropriate.

Prescription Drug Possession

Possessing certain prescription drugs without a valid prescription is illegal. Common charges involve:

  • Painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin
  • Sedatives like Valium and Xanax
  • Stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin

Penalties vary based on the schedule of the prescription drug and amount possessed. But depending on the circumstances, alternatives to conviction may be available.

Paraphernalia Possession

Possessing drug paraphernalia like pipes, bongs, and scales is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. While not as serious as drug possession, a paraphernalia conviction still leads to a criminal record.

Trafficking and Distribution

Selling or distributing drugs brings even stiffer penalties. Trafficking certain amounts leads to mandatory minimum sentences under Florida law:

  • 5 kilos of cocaine, 200 grams of heroin, and 28 grams of fentanyl means at least 3 years in prison.
  • 450 kilos of cocaine, 30 kilograms of heroin, and 150 kilograms of fentanyl means at least 15 years in prison.

Penalties for selling marijuana depend on the amount, with mandatory minimums kicking in at 25 pounds. Significant prison time is likely for any drug trafficking or distribution offense.

Juvenile Drug Crimes

Minors charged with drug possession face the same penalties but may be eligible for juvenile diversion programs. However, selling drugs as a minor is prosecuted harshly. Possible punishments include detention, house arrest, and adult sentencing.

Federal Drug Crimes

Large-scale drug activity can also lead to federal charges. This adds another layer of complexity and potentially lengthy mandatory minimum sentences. Retaining legal counsel experienced with the federal system is critical.

Defenses in Drug Cases

Skilled drug crimes attorneys know how to build a strong defense to achieve the best outcome. Common strategies include:

  • Illegal searches – Evidence from searches that violate 4th Amendment rights can be suppressed.
  • Entrapment – Undercover operations that improperly induce crimes may warrant dismissal.
  • Chain of custody – Breaks in evidence handling compromise drug test results.
  • Misidentification – Mistaken identity cases require challenging probable cause for arrest.
  • Medical necessity – Legal marijuana use may apply for some medical conditions.

Mounting an effective defense requires in-depth knowledge of drug laws, law enforcement procedures, and trial strategy. An experienced local drug crimes lawyer can make all the difference.

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