Miami Drug Possession Attorney
Serving Clients Charged With Drug Possession Throughout Miami-Dade County
Being charged with possession of a controlled substance in Florida is a serious matter and a conviction may result in harsh penalties. In addition to fines and imprisonment, you will have a permanent criminal record which can damage your reputation. If you are facing drug possession charges, you need an adept criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Located in Miami, Valiente Law routinely defends clients against drug possession charges in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. We thoroughly understand the applicable state and federal drug crime laws as well as the difference between simple drug possession cases and possession with intent to sell. Our legal team has a well-earned reputation for being dedicated advocates and fighting to protect our clients.
Florida Drug Possession Charges
A charge for simple possession is not as serious as possession with intent to sell, and the latter may be charged when the amount is too large for your personal use. In any event, possession of most controlled substances is considered a third-degree felony — charges are ultimately based on the schedule and amount of the drug, however.
To convict you for drug possession, prosecutors must be able to show that the seized material is actually a controlled substance and that you had actual knowledge or control of the drug. Here, the difference between actual possession and constructive possession of an illegal drug is worth noting. Actual possession occurs when the controlled substance is in your physical custody, such as in a pants pocket. Constructive possession, on the other hand, only requires your knowledge of the drug’s whereabouts, such as the glove compartment of your car, and your ability to control the drug.
To convict you of possession with intent to distribute, on the other hand, prosecutors must be able to demonstrate your intent. This can be evidenced by other items in your possession such as scales and packaging materials, large amounts of cash, weapons, customer lists, or other indications that sales are occurring.
Florida Drug Possession Penalties
In Florida, drug possession can be charged as a first, second or third-degree felony; however, possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. If you are charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, you may be eligible for a pretrial intervention program that could lead to a dismissal of the charges, provided that you have no criminal history and complete the program requirements.
Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana may be charged as a 3rd-degree felony, however. In addition, 3rd-degree felony charges also apply to possession of up to 28 grams of cocaine, up to 4 grams of heroin, up to 10 grams of MDMA (Ecstasy), or up to 1 gram of LSD, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Finally, possession of large amounts of a controlled substance — more than 25 pounds of marijuana, or more than 28 grams of cocaine, 4 grams of heroin, 10 grams of Ecstasy or 1 gram of LSD can lead to first-degree felony charges, punishable by up to 30 years in prison (minimum mandatory sentences apply), and up to $250,000 in fines.
It is also unlawful to possess chemicals used to manufacture drugs such as methamphetamine, GHB or ecstasy, which is considered a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Finally, the unlawful possession of prescription medications can result in a number of criminal charges, including prescription fraud.
In addition to fines and imprisonment, a conviction for drug possession in Florida may result in probation and immigration consequences such as deportation. There are also other serious consequences to consider, such as the loss of your driving privileges, the inability to obtain state licenses, and disqualification for government employment, college financial aid, public housing or other government benefits. The lasting damage to your reputation can also make it more difficult to find employment or rent an apartment.
Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Florida
The criminal defense team at Valiente Law knows how to assert any number of defenses against your drug possession charges. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation, collect and analyze all relevant evidence, and identify and interview witnesses, including the police. We will ascertain whether there were any mistakes or misconduct by law enforcement. Evidence that was obtained through an improper search and seizure, for example, may not be admissible in court.
Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to prove that the seized materials were not controlled substances under Florida law, or that drugs found in your home or car actually belonged to someone else. Other valid defenses to drug possession charges include lack of knowledge that the drug was controlled substance, the possession of a valid prescription from a medical professional or entrapment.
Why You Should Call Valiente Law to Handle Your Drug Possession Charges
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Florida, we will work strategically to build the best line of defense. Knowing that a conviction can lead to severe punishments, we will provide you with aggressive legal representation. While we are committed to having the case dismissed or winning an acquittal, we will advise you of all your options. Above all, we will always put your best interests first and help you make the best decisions for yourself, your family and your future. Call our office today or complete the convenient online contact form to set up a free consultation.