Drug-related crimes are charged and punished in different ways due to the multiple types of drugs, location the person is arrested, and the intent if it is for personal use or selling. If you or anyone you know is arrested in these situations, it is vital to get a drug possession lawyer on your case immediately because the prosecution will go for the maximum punishments and fines.
The sentences vary upon the circumstances and prior records if there are any. The three most common sentences are as follows:
- First Degree Misdemeanor.
- Third Degree Felony.
- First Degree Felony.
All of the penalties can affect the rest of your life, and only a strong defense attorney can work to lessen the charges or get the judge to dismiss the case.
This one is the lesser of the three charges and has the sentence of time served in prison for up to a year. The defendant will have to pay all the court costs. Examples of misdemeanors are possession of a controlled substance, most likely for personal use. Possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana would be a first-degree misdemeanor.
The amount of drugs in possession plays a factor in this case due to large amounts would show signs of distribution, which has a stiffer charge. Prosecution attorneys will look at the intent and go from there. The defense attorneys will have to counter the charges by proving the following:
- What is in possession is not an illegal drug.
- The one in possession did not know they had it.
- There was no control, and the drugs in possession were for someone else.
- If the arresting officer followed protocol with probable cause, search, and arrest.
- The defense attorney will look for reasonable doubt to have the charges dropped.
All cases that have discrepancies in the prosecution’s case will be dismissed without the proper evidence. The defense attorney will pick up on the situation immediately. Otherwise, plea bargains will take place, and the case will go to trial.
The penalties increase as the charges are raised. A third-degree felony has a sentence of up to five years in jail, five years of probation, and a fine added up to $5,000. Listed are some examples of third-degree felony charges:
- Too many misdemeanors arrested for drug charges may become a third-degree felony.
- Some probation consists of random drug tests, community service, counseling or rehab, and random searches by a probation officer. Violations of probation lead to may lead to third-degree felony charges.
- Possession of over 10 grams of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) or over 20 grams of marijuana or lesser drugs. Schedule 1-5 determines how potent a drug is. Five being the lesser, and one being the greater.
- Once again, the locations play a factor, especially around schools, parks, and other areas where children gather.
Drug trafficking is another serious violation. These charges can get tallied up with felonies or misdemeanors and cause serious problems like three years to life in prison without the possibility of parole, $50,000 fine. Listed below are the limits for drug trafficking charges:
- Oxycodone: Seven grams.
- Ecstasy: Ten grams.
- LSD: One gram.
- Hydrocodone: 14 grams.
- Cocaine: 28 grams.
- Marijuana: 300 plants or 25 pounds.
To get charged with a first-degree felony with possession of drugs with or without the intent to sell is one of the top punishments given by the courts. The minimum penalty is a fine up to $10,000 and 30 years behind bars. Drugs listed under Schedule I are LSD or heroine. These are the ones that will land a massive sentence if it is at or over ten grams.
Those who intend to sell or even have it in their possession around 1000 feet of these areas may find themselves with a first-degree felony:
- Schools or childcare facilities.
- Youth Centers.
- Public owned recreational centers.
The Overall Battle in Court
The prosecution will work to prove the following:
- The drugs in possession are labeled as a controlled substance according to the law in Florida.
- Full knowledge on the owner’s part that they had a controlled substance in their possession.
- Full control of the substance.
The defense will work oppositely to prove one of the above three wrong. Only one of the three with doubts can dismiss a case. If all else fails, the defense will work to lessen the charges by offering a plea bargain, which will lessen the sentence.