Jacksonville Drug Possession Attorneys
Florida Drug Possession Laws
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The possession of an illicit substance is a serious drug crime in the state of Florida. The type and amount of the drug allegedly in your possession will play a major role in the possible penalties you face; however, the prosecution will likely seek the maximum allowable penalties.
At Monroe & King, P.A., our Jacksonville drug possession lawyers have extensive experience in this area of law, along with a proven track record of success in achieving favorable outcomes for our clients.
Regardless of the complexity and severity of your charges, we can help you craft a personalized defense strategy aimed at protecting your rights. We serve clients throughout Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties, and our team is available around-the-clock to assist you.
Get started today with our Jacksonville drug possession lawyers by calling (904) 474-3115. We have handled numerous complex drug cases; you can trust us with yours.
Constructive vs. Actual Drug Possession
You may face drug charges for two different types of possession: constructive or actual.
Actual Possession in Florida
Actual possession of drugs occurs when drugs are found directly on your person. This could be if the drugs were located:
- In your hand
- In your pocket
- In your backpack/purse
In these instances, police can assume that you have direct control of the substance.
Constructive Possession in Florida
Constructive possession of drugs is more difficult to prove. You may face constructive possession charges if the drug is found not directly in your possession but in a place where it is inferred that you were aware of/in control of the drug.
This could be if the drugs are in your car or home but not directly in your possession at the time of the arrest. If the police believe you have “dominion and control” over the drug, you will be charged with possession.
Based on constructive possession, you may also face possession charges if someone in the same place as you is arrested for possession. For example, if you are driving friends in your car and one has marijuana, you and the other passengers could potentially face charges. In this situation, law enforcement may believe you were all aware of the drug in the car, hence, constructive possession.
Florida Drug Possession Penalties
It is difficult to detail the exact charges you face without a one-on-one consultation, as drug charges in Florida vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the type of drug, the amount possessed, prior convictions, and more. That being said, we’ve provided a general outline of some of the most common drug charges in the state, as well as their corresponding penalties.
Misdemeanor Drug Possession in FL
- Possession of Up to 20 Grams of Marijuana (excludes legal possession of medical marijuana): A first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail plus additional costs and fees
Is Drug Possession a Felony in Florida?
In Florida, the following drug possession offenses are considered felonies:
- Possession of More than 20 Grams of Marijuana: A third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison plus fines
- Possession of More than 25 Pounds of Marijuana: A first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000
- Possession of Up to 28 Grams of Cocaine: A third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison plus fines
- Possession of More than 28 Grams of Cocaine: A first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000
- Possession of Up to 4 Grams of an Opioid (e.g. heroin): A third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison plus fines
- Possession of More than 4 Grams of an Opioid: A first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000
As previously mentioned, this list is not exhaustive nor is it all-inclusive of the potential penalties of drug possession in Florida. You may face enhancements, or more severe penalties, if you have prior convictions or if other specific factors are present.
Elements of Drug Possession in Florida
When prosecuting drug charges, authorities must prove the following three elements:
- Substance was an illicit/controlled substance under Florida law.
- Defendant was aware of presence of the drug and its illicit nature.
- Defendant had control over the substance or its location.
Defense to Drug Possession Charges in FL
When defending against possession charges, our Jacksonville drug possession attorneys often seek to challenge one or more of the above required elements.
The following are strategic defenses against drug possession charges in Florida:
1. Illegal Search and Seizure
One of the most common things we see at Monroe & King, P.A. is that our clients were subject to illegal searches. When this occurs, we can fight to have the illegally obtained evidence against you thrown out.
The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches made by police to maintain personal privacy. Police are required to follow specific protocols when investigating criminal offenses.
In order to conduct a search, police must:
- Have probable cause that they can find evidence that you committed a crime and have a warrant
- Justify that the search was absolutely necessary in the moment and there was no time to spare to get a warrant
Proving that the police violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights is one of the most common defenses against drug possession charges. Any evidence that was obtained during an illegal search cannot be used against the defendant.
2. Constructive vs. Actual Possession
Prosecutors must prove that the defendant was aware of the drugs; being close to them is not enough to find the defendant guilty. Defense attorneys can argue that the defendant did not know about the drugs, even if they were technically under their ‘dominion and control.’
3. Medical Exemptions
In Florida, medical marijuana is legal. In the case of marijuana possession, we may be able to argue that you were legally allowed to possess marijuana under Florida’s medical marijuana laws.
Some qualifying conditions include:
- Crohn's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Terminal illness
What To Do If You’re Facing Drug Possession Charges in FL
It is absolutely crucial that you contact a qualified Jacksonville drug possession lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested for or charged with drug possession in Florida. The sooner you get in contact with legal representation, the sooner they can begin building your defense. Our legal team can help you determine your best options and build a defense to your charges that focuses on protecting your future.
For a complimentary, confidential case evaluation, contact Monroe & King, P.A. at (904) 474-3115 today to speak with our Jacksonville drug possession attorneys.
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