Possession of controlled substances is illegal unless they have been lawfully obtained from a doctor or other medical professional who is acting in the course of his/her practice. Depending on the substance, fines and prison time vary. To be charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida, a person has to have actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance.
Actual possession means the alleged offender had the substance in hand on his/her person. Constructive possession is harder to define – it essentially means the alleged offender was aware of the substance in his/her vicinity, knew it was illegal in nature, and it was in his/her presence or close enough to actually possess. This type of possession is more difficult for the prosecution to prove.
The penalties for possessing controlled substances are listed in Florida’s Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in Fla. Stat. § 893.13. A conviction for Possession of a Schedule V Controlled Substance is a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fines not exceeding $1,000. Possession offenses of controlled substances in Schedule I, II, III or IV are punishable as felonies of the third degree. This degree of felony can result in imprisonment in a Florida prison up to five years and/or fines not more than $5,000. If an offender is convicted of a federal drug offense, punishments can be much more severe, including longer prison sentences and higher fines.
If you, a loved one or friend has been charged with a drug crime in Florida, contact the experienced drug crime defense attorneys of Kopelousos, Bradley & Garrison, P.A. at 904.269.1111 for a free consultation. We’re ready to discuss the facts of your particular situation and begin building your defense.