Jacksonville Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
Vigorously Fighting to Protect Your Future
Being accused of drug possession in Florida that can lead to serious, long-term consequences. Florida has historically been aggressive in its prosecution of drug crimes. In some cases, possession can even be charged as a felony offense.
If you are facing a drug possession charge, it is important you immediately retain the services of experienced legal representatives. Our Jacksonville drug possession defense attorney at Weldon Law Group, PLLC can work to aggressively defend you and make sure your rights are honored. We are familiar with how these charges are adjudicated in Florida and can leverage our knowledge to pursue a positive outcome in your case.
How Drug Possession Is Defined in Florida
It is important to understand the difference between being charged with drug possession and drug trafficking in Florida. Drug trafficking charges will be levied when a defendant is suspected of selling, manufacturing, or distributing controlled substances. A person can also be charged if it is suspected they intended to sell, manufacture, or distribute these substances, even if they have not yet physically done so.
Being charged with drug possession means it is being alleged that a person had controlled substances in their possession for personal use. Whether someone is charged with a misdemeanor or felony defense typically depends on the type of controlled substance, the quantity of the substance discovered, and any other contributing circumstances.
It is possible that a defendant can be charged with drug possession with an intent to sell, a more serious offense with harsher penalties if convicted. This specific charge can be used in situations where additional evidence, like scales, bagging equipment, or a substantial quantity of the controlled substance, suggests the defendant intended to sell some portion of what was in their possession.
There are two types of drug possession as defined by Florida law. Actual possession means the controlled substance was found on the direct person of the defendant. This can include situations where the substance was in the person’s hands, in their pockets, in their shoes, in their underwear, or stored in any other part of the body. Actual possession can be tougher to fight in court.
Constructive possession encapsulates any situation where drugs were discovered somewhere other than on the person of the defendant. This includes drugs found in a person’s home, vehicle, or office.
How To Respond to a Drug Possession Charge
Remember that you have rights when you are accused of any type of crime. If you are detained as a result of a drug possession charge, exercise your right to remain silent. Even if you are caught with drugs on your person or in your vehicle, for example, you should avoid making any unnecessary statements to law enforcement.
Officers will likely ask you questions or request a statement. Though it might feel like it is in your best interest to answer immediately, especially for seemingly innocuous questions like “are these your drugs?,” it is always best to stay silent until you can be advised by legal representation. Whatever you say can and will be used against you, and some law enforcement will attempt to coerce a confession as you make a statement. Our Jacksonville drug possession defense lawyer can help protect you in the immediate aftermath of an arrest and guide you through next steps, including how to safely answer police questions.
Florida Penalties for Drug Possession Charges
The specific consequences you might face if convicted of a drug possession charge in Florida will vary by the quantity and type of the controlled substances involved. Many drug possessions are charged as misdemeanors, though some can be charged as felonies. First-time offenders are more likely to see lighter sentences, while repeat offenders could be hit with more severe punishments.
Though medical marijuana is no longer considered a controlled substance in Florida, cannabis has not been fully decriminalized. You can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana, which can lead to up to $1,000 in fines and as much as a year in jail if convicted.
Drug possession involving heroin, cocaine, and other more serious, addictive substances can result in a third-degree felony charge. A conviction can result in as much as $5,000 in fines and up to 5 years of jailtime.
If an individual is found to be in possession of the chemicals used to make addictive substances like methamphetamine, ecstasy, or similar controlled substances, they could face an even more serious second-degree felony charge. Convictions in this category can result in up to $10,000 in fines and as many as 15 years in prison.
Persons in possession of over 10 grams of a Schedule One drug, a category that includes heroin and ecstasy, can result in a first-degree felony charge. This is generally the most serious charge you can face, and a conviction can lead to up to 30 years of jailtime.
If you are a first-time offender and are unsure if you can effectively fight misdemeanor drug charges, alternative relief may be available. The state of Florida allows some first-time offenders to avoid trial and instead participate in a combination of counseling, probation, and community service. After completion of the court-mandated program, the charges are dropped, keeping your record clean. We can help determine if you are eligible for this relief and negotiate with the court.
Why You Need a Qualified Lawyer to Help Fight Drug Possession Charges
If the prospect of facing a huge fine or years of prison time is not frightening enough, convictions of even misdemeanor drug possession can follow a person for years after they have served their sentence. Offenders may lose driving privileges through suspensions of their driver’s license, and a conviction will typically remain on your criminal record. This will trigger a red flag in background checks, which can be necessary to secure employment, housing, and education.
In many situations, drug possession charges can be successfully fought. In order to successfully convict, prosecutors will have to establish the defendant knew about and was in control of the involved substances. This can be extremely challenging to prove if drugs are found somewhere other than on your person, as there are numerous ways to argue that you had no knowledge of the substance’s presence. Mounting these arguments will generally require the experience and preparation of a skilled lawyer.
At Weldon Law Group, PLLC, we want to do everything possible to defend your innocence and protect your future. Our Jacksonville drug possession defense attorney brings over 15 years of legal experience to his private practice, and our team is experienced in taking cases to trial. We can evaluate the facts of your situation before helping you understand the legal strategies we can pursue to achieve a favorable outcome.
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