Possession of a Controlled Substance
State law in Florida criminalizes possession of many different types of controlled substances. This includes illegal narcotics as well as certain pharmaceutical drugs unless they were lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner.
A person who is charged with having possessed even small amounts of a controlled substance can still face very serious penalties. In most cases of so-called “simple possession,” these are felony offenses punishable by lengthy prison sentences as well as very steep fines.
Melbourne Possession of a Controlled Substance Lawyer
If you have been arrested for possession of an illegal drug in Florida, you will need to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter has extensive experience handling these types of cases on both sides of the aisle, and we will fight to have criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed.
Our Brevard County controlled substance possession attorney defends clients in Palm Bay and surrounding areas of Central Florida, but we also represent tourists and other out-of-state visitors. You can call (321) 586-9944 right now to take advantage of a free consultation that will allow our firm to review your case and discuss all of your legal options.
Brevard County Possession of a Controlled Substance Overview
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Possession of a Controlled Substance Charges in Florida
Just as Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(a) states that a person cannot be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless it was legally obtained with a valid prescription, Florida Statute § 893.13(5) also prohibits people from bringing controlled substances into Florida unless that person is licensed to possess such a controlled substance by an appropriate federal agency. The type of possession does not necessarily affect the classification of the offense, but it may impact the strength of the case against the alleged offender.
The two types of possession have the following differences:
- Actual Possession — This is when an alleged offender had actual, physical of a controlled substance. Police allegedly discovered the illegal drugs in the hand, on the body, in the pocket, in the clothing, or within the immediate reach of the alleged offender. In these types of cases, alleged possession is much easier to prove.
- Constructive Possession — This is when a controlled substance is found in a location in which the alleged offender was aware of the drug being in his or her vicinity, had the ability to take possession of the controlled substance, and knew it was illegal in nature. Constructive possession is more difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Possession of Controlled Substance Penalties in Brevard County
The possible classification for alleged actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance ranges in severity from first-degree misdemeanor to first-degree felony. The statutory maximum sentences that are possible in these cases are as follows:
- First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
These penalties do not account for the multitude of long-term consequences that can also apply if a person is convicted or possessing a controlled substance. For example, college students may be ineligible to receive federal student aid.
The classification of the crime depends on how the illegal drug itself is classified under Florida law.
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Florida Drug Schedules in Possession of a Controlled Substance Cases
Drug schedules were established with Congress passing the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, otherwise known as the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedules are used to rank or classify drugs according to their potential for abuse and currently accepted medical use in treatment.
The standards and schedules established under Florida Statute § 893.03 are largely similar to the federal schedules. Florida has the following five schedules:
- Schedule I — Substances with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and use under medical supervision does not meet accepted safety standards. Examples include 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy), bath salts, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana, mescaline, and methadone.
- Schedule II — Substances with high potential for abuse, a currently accepted but severely restricted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples include amphetamines, cocaine, codeine, hydrocodone, methamphetamines, morphine, opium, and Vicodin.
- Schedule III — Substances with a potential for abuse less than the substances contained in Schedules I and II, a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence, high psychological dependence, or may lead to physical damage. Examples include anabolic steroids, dronabinol (synthetic THC), ketamine, and various narcotics containing limited quantities of other controlled substances.
- Schedule IV — Substances with a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule III, a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule III. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), phenobarbital, and tramadol.
- Schedule V — Substances with a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule IV, a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of such compound, mixture, or preparation may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule IV. Examples include certain narcotics, stimulants or compounds, mixtures, or preparations containing limited quantities of codeine, dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate, or opium.
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Finding A Possession of a Controlled Substance Lawyer in Melbourne
Were you arrested in Florida for alleged actual or constructive possession of an illegal drug? You can give yourself the best chance of the most favorable outcome to your case by immediately retaining legal counsel.
The The Law Offices of James B. Coulter aggressively defends residents throughout the Satellite Beach area as well as many tourists who live in other states but were charged with this crime while visiting Central Florida. Let our Brevard County drug possession attorney review your case by calling (321) 586-9944 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.