Florida drug possession statutes and penalties
All states have laws regulating controlled substances because of the danger to society. Drug laws also make driving under the influence of controlled substances illegal, even with a prescription. A person in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, may face several penalties if they are charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Florida drug possession laws overview
Florida statutes under Chapter 893 lists illegal substances, which divide into Schedules I to V, based on addiction risk. Under the law, drug offenses are commonly based not on who actually owns the substances but on whose person it is found. Possession is commonly defined as knowing and willingly having control of an illegal substance for sale or personal use.
Active possession means the police found drugs on the person; the defendant may or may not have intended to sell. Constructive possession means the defendant does not have the drug on their person but knowingly has control over the location.
Prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and willingly had control of an illegal substance, which often requires testing. However, proving constructive possession charges can be tricky for prosecution because near proximity to drugs is not always enough proof.
Penalties for possession
Possession of illegal Schedule V drugs is a misdemeanor that carries penalties of a $1,000 fine and a maximum one-year jail term. Possessing 10 grams or more of a Schedule I substance includes possible penalties of up to 30 years of jail and a $10,000 fine.
Possessing 4 grams or less of heroin carries a possible five-year probation or a five-year jail term and a $5,000 fine. The same penalties apply to possession of 28 grams or less of cocaine, and they both count as a third-degree felony. Possessing drug paraphernalia counts as a first-degree misdemeanor and includes penalties of one-year probation or jail and a $1,000 fine.
Just because a person gets charged doesn’t always mean guilt. It’s important to protect the person’s rights. There are valid defenses they may use in court, or the charges might get dismissed without a trial depending on the circumstances.