Possession of Controlled Substances

Miami Controlled Substance Possession Defense Attorney

A controlled dangerous substance is a drug that can cause harm to an individual and also has a high potential for abuse. In Florida, there are five classifications or schedules of drugs that are largely based on the federal classifications under the Controlled Substances Act. Being convicted of possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) can have serious consequences, including imprisonment, fines, and probation, which is why it is important to call the right attorney.

With offices in Miami, Valiente Law provides aggressive legal representation to clients in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. We have a proven track record of defending individuals who have been charged with all types of drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance. Our legal team will explain all of your rights and consider all of your options. Being arrested for drug possession does not mean you will be convicted — our criminal defense attorneys know how to build the best line of defense and will work to secure your freedom.

What is a controlled substance in Florida?

In Florida, there are five schedules of controlled dangerous substances that are determined by potential for the drug to be abused:

  • Schedule I – Substances with no known medicinal value and will likely to lead to dependency (e.g. heroin, ecstasy mescaline, LSD)
  • Schedule II – Substances that have some accepted medical use but are likely to be abused (e.g. cocaine, morphine, oxycodone, opium, methamphetamine)
  • Schedule III – Substances with some accepted medical purpose but carry a moderate risk of abuse (e.g. barbiturates, steroids)
  • Schedule IV – Substances commonly used for medicinal purposes such as prescription anti-anxiety drugs (e.g. Xanax, Valium, and Ambien)
  • Schedule V – Substances with limited quantities of narcotics plus one or more non-narcotic active medical ingredient (e.g. over-the-counter medicines, cough syrups and cold medications)

It is important to note that you can be held criminally liable for possession of a controlled substance regardless of whether you were in actual or constructive possession of the substance. Actual possession occurs when the drug is on your person (e.g. a pants pocket) while a conviction for constructive possession only requires you to know where the substance was located and have the ability to control it (e.g. a glove compartment).

Penalties for Possession of Controlled Substance in Florida

Possession of a controlled substance can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on factors such as the classification and amount of the substance in question, whether there was intent to sell, and whether the defendant has prior misdemeanor or felony convictions.

  • Possession of more than 10 grams of any Schedule I drug (other than marijuana) is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
  • Possession of any other controlled substance is third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
  • Possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine, or both, while possession of more than 20 grams is a third-degree felony.

In addition, possession of chemicals used to manufacture drugs such as methamphetamine, GHB or ecstasy is also illegal and can charged as a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and fines up to $10,000. If you have prior drug convictions, or other felony convictions, the penalties will be elevated. The unlawful possession of prescription drugs could also lead to a prison sentence and fines as well as the potential of being charged with prescription fraud. Finally, a conviction for possession of a controlled substance may also result in probation, the loss of your driving privileges and other consequences, not the least of which is lasting damage to your reputation. This could make it more difficult to find employment or a place to live. With so much at stake, it is crucial to have powerful legal representation.

Defenses to Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida

Our attorney know how to assert any number of defenses against charges of possession of a controlled substance. We may be able to prove that the substance was not a controlled substance under Florida law, for example, or that drugs found in your home or car actually belonged to someone else. As an example, we may be able to show that you did not have constructive possession of the controlled substance if it was seized in a dwelling in which other people were living.

Additionally, we will determine whether there were any mistakes or misconduct by law enforcement (e.g. improper search and seizure, Miranda violations). 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.

Miami Controlled Substance Possession Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Florida, the legal team at Valiente Law can help. Our legal team will work to have the case dismissed or to win an acquittal. We have a well-earned reputation for providing our clients with aggressive legal representation and proven track record of achieving successful results. Call our office today or complete the convenient online contact form to set up a free consultation.