When it comes to assessing penalties for drug possession every state has their own statutes in addition to the federal laws. Being accused of possessing an illegal drug in Palm Beach County may mean facing felony charges. Unless you were caught in the possession of a small amount of marijuana or other low-level drug then fines, prison, and felony restrictions are all a possible result. Here are the potential penalties for drug possession under the state statutes for West Palm Beach, Florida.
Controlled Substances under Florida Law
Florida Statutes Annotated § 893.13 state that it is illegal to have either actual or constructive possession of any of the following drugs as controlled substances without legal permission such as a prescription from a doctor or health professional:
- Ecstasy (MDMA)
- Acid (LSD)
- Synthetic drugs
The possession of the drugs above can be classified as a third-degree felony. Drugs that are considered low-level drugs such as 20 grams or less of marijuana and certain cough medications with small amounts of codeine are considered first-degree misdemeanor offenses.
Keep in mind that the possession of large amounts of certain narcotics may also result in trafficking charges with minimum prison sentences.
Actual and Constructive Possession
In drug possession cases a person may be charged with either actual or constructive possession. Charges may be filed after the law officials have found drugs in someone’s actual or constructive possession.
Constructive possession refers to drugs found in a location where the suspect has exclusive control. For instance, if someone were to be pulled over and narcotics were found in the trunk of the car. The drugs may not have been within reach or being held by the person, but found in a location where the person would have been the only one to place them there.
Actual possession is different in the sense that the narcotic is found directly on the person. For example, the drug is found in the suspect’s jacket pocket or purse.
Penalties under Florida Law
The penalties under Florida’s law for narcotic possession include a third-degree felony, up to five years incarcerated, and up to a $5,000 fine. Driver’s licenses may also be suspended for up to two years. In the case of a first-degree misdemeanor, the suspect could spend a year in jail and have to pay a $1,000 fine.
Drug court is a possible alternative in some cases of possession where the suspect pleads guilty. Drug court is an alternative program. The person going through drug court must undergo their treatment, check in with the court, and stay in compliance with restrictions set for up to a year or more. Once the program has been completed then the charges are dropped.
When you find yourself faced with drug possession charges in West Palm Beach, Florida, then you should consult the advice of an experienced drug possession lawyer. A lawyer can help you make the best decision in your case to either fight the charges or pursue an option such as drug court. A good drug possession lawyer will use their experience to help you build a strong defense and represent you to the best of their ability in court.