Apart from the federal drug laws already in place, each state has its own statutes when it comes to illegal narcotics and other controlled substances. Controlled substances may include prescription pills, street drugs, natural substances, chemicals, man-made products, and drugs without a prescription. In the state of Florida, if you are found guilty of a drug offense, the consequences can be quite severe. These penalties may include prison time, fines, license revocation or suspension, and restrictions from pursuing certain kinds of professions.
According to Chapter 893 of the Florida constitution, which is the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, it defines all the kinds of drugs that are prohibited, activities that are deemed to be unlawful, and the penalties set for convicted offenders. In addition, there is Chapter 775 that stipulates the minimum sentences to be handed out for each degree of a drug conviction charge.
Felony vs. misdemeanor drug possession
• A misdemeanor for a second-degree narcotics offense may lead to a jail term sentence of up to 60 days, a fine of $500, or both.
• A misdemeanor for a first-degree narcotics offense may lead to jail term sentence of up to one year, a fine of not more than $1000, or both.
• A felony charge for a third-degree narcotics offense can lead to a jail term sentence of not more than 5 years, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
• A felony charge for a second-degree narcotics offense can lead to a jail term sentence of not more than 15 years, a fine not exceeding $10,000, or both.
• A felony charge for a first-degree drug offense can lead to a prison sentence of up to 30 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Additional Circumstances That Can Affect Your Case
You should keep in mind the penalties for particular drug offenses may increase if the accused’s crime involves the injury or death of another individual, if you have a history of violent crimes, or you are a regular felony offender. Another scenario where the penalties can also be increased is if the drug offense was committed near a child care center, school, assisted living institution, community center, public park, college, university, or place of worship.
It is also important to note that many drug offenses can be prosecuted as federal crimes, which usually results in more harsh or stiffer penalties. For instance, the Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act enacted in 2000 provides the government with the authority to seize an offender’s property and assets if they are found to be connected in one way or another with narcotics offenses.
If you find yourself facing serious drug charges, it is essential that you contact a lawyer to defend you. Drug cases usually involve a CI (confidential informant), who tends to be another individual probably facing drug charges. By finding out who that person is, you can build up a strong case against the state. However, this is all relative and depends on the individual case.