Apart from its beautiful beaches, the group of islands and tourist attractions, the state of Florida is also known for its stringent laws. Among the list of recognised crimes, drug possession and associated actions are taken quite seriously by the state legislation. Though the penalties against drug offences have been diluted to an extent, substance abuse and use of drugs without a prescription is still illegal in Florida. With recent revisions in the laws, it is essential for someone living or visit Florida to understand these and prevent themselves from wrongful prosecution.
- Categorization of drugs
In Florida, drugs are recognized in five different categories. Schedule 1 drugs include substances like heroin, LSD and Marijuana. These compounds are strictly prohibited and are high risk substances. However, Marijuana permitted for medical application. Schedule 2 drugs include high-risk compounds like Morphine that have limited medical application and their use is permitted in a controlled manner. Schedule 3 drugs are often referred to anabolic steroids which can have moderate physical and psychological efforts. Schedule 4 and 5 drugs are low risk substances and are accepted for medical uses and are least likely to induce addiction.
- Possession is an offence
In Florida, if a person is found in possession of any of the listed substances, they can be charged and convicted for drug possession crimes. There are various scenarios of drug possession – actual possession, wherein the accused is found to be using or carrying the substance on person; and constructive possession, wherein the person does not have it on them, but are aware of its whereabouts and are controlling the drugs. Based on the quality, situation and type of drug, penalties and charges can be imposed on the accused.
- Defending possession charges
Due to the strict drug laws in Florida, there are chances of a wrongful arrest. And without proper defence, one can face charges for incorrect reasons. Therefore, a defendant needs an experienced and dedicated Winter Park criminal lawyer who can challenge the prosecution and get a reliable verdict for the defendant. In most situations, one should exercise their rights and avoid saying anything without consulting with their lawyer.
- Penalties and convictions
If a person is found in possession of schedule 3-5 category drugs without a prescription and in fairly large quantities, they can be penalised in third degree with some jail time and a moderate fine. These can be increased if the person is found engaging in its illegal sale or trafficking. In case of schedule 2 drugs, the accused can face 10-15 years of prison along with large fines. For Schedule 1 drugs, these charges are harsher and can lead to severe penalties.
Florida has quite tough laws against substance abuse and aren’t easy at all to defend. While most convictions are simple open and shut verdicts, a wrongful conviction can affect the accused’s life. Apart from jail time and fine, based on the seriousness of the charges, one can face those penalties like lose certain rights, be barred from visiting some places, owning property or vehicle etc. If you are in need of a Winter Park criminal lawyer to defend you against possession charges, Moses and Rooth is one of the best criminal defence firms of Orlando, you can choose for a consult.