If you or a loved one is facing a drug possession charge in Tampa, FL, you should know that Florida has a very low tolerance to drug-related offenses. You can get into serious legal trouble if found with certain drugs in your possession.

Just being found with these drugs can leave you with imprisonment, severe fines, and even withdrawal of some civil liberties. Considering the kind of penalties you will likely face, you need to take action and defend yourself with the help of an aggressive Tampa criminal defense attorney. You need someone familiar with the system and the players in the system.

What Is Drug Possession in Florida?

Drug possession implies that a person is believed to be in possession of a controlled drug such as in your hand or pocket. Possession of drugs in Florida comes in two concepts:

  • Active possession – you were in physical possession of the drug, i.e., in your hand, hand, pocket, etc.
  • Constructive possession – you were not in possession physically but knew about the drugs and somehow had control over them, e.g., in your house or house.

Which “Controlled Substances” Will I Be Penalized for If Found in Possession?

Florida has a list of controlled drugs and has categorized them depending on how addictive and dangerous they are.

  • Schedule I – Doesn’t have any medicinal value, has the highest dependency, and has the highest potential for abuse, e.g., heroin, cocaine, cannabis/marijuana, LSD
  • Schedule II – has a high dependency and high abuse potential, e.g., morphine, opium, and codeine.
  • Schedule III – Has lower abuse potential, high psychological dependency, and low physical dependency, e.g., anabolic steroids and testosterone. 
  • Schedule IV – This has a limited dependency and low abuse potential, e.g., tramadol
  • Schedule V – Has the lowest abuse and lowest dependency potential, e.g., cough suppressants.

This categorization implies that the category the drug found in your possession falls will determine the penalties you will likely face.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession in Tampa?

The punishment for drug possession depends on the type of drug, the amount found, and the defendant’s previous offenses.

A drug possession offense in Tampa can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor but can also be upgraded to a first-degree felony. An experienced Tampa drug crime lawyer can enlighten you what informs the prosecution when deciding which charges to bring against you.

First Degree Misdemeanor

Possessing less than 20 grams of cannabis or Schedule V drugs like codeine-based cough syrups, Lomotil, and Parepectolin will be charged as first-degree misdemeanors. The penalty is one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

Third Degree Felonies

Schedule IV and Schedule III drugs like valium, Xanax, and anabolic steroids will be charged as third-degree felonies. Other drugs common in this category include:

  • 20 g or more of cannabis
  • Possession of cannabis with intent to deliver
  • Less than 4 g of heroin
  • Lee than 28 g of cocaine
  • Less than 14 g of meth
  • Less than 7 g of oxycodone without a valid prescription

The penalties of a third-degree drug possession charge are five years in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine. These may look like simple possessions but carry serious consequences. That’s why it’s vital to hire a Tampa drug crime lawyer who can guide you.

Second Degree Felonies

Any possession of cocaine with intent to deliver or sell is in this category. Remember, the sell and delivery of a drug are different from drug trafficking. Similarly, being in possession of chemicals that make ecstasy, meth, or GHB will be charged as second-degree felonies in Florida. The penalties here include 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

First Degree Felonies

First-degree drug possession charges are the most serious of all possession charges. They include the possession of more than 10 g of heroin and other Schedule I and Schedule II drugs like morphine and fentanyl.

The penalties here are 30 years in prison and a fine of up $10,000. You need to get a Tampa drug crime attorney to help you fight these charges and protect your rights.

What’s The Penalty for Marijuana Possession in Tampa, FL?

Marijuana can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor if it’s simple possession of less than 20 g. But it can also be a second-degree felony if the possession had the intent to sell within 1000 feet of a university, church, assisted living facility, child care facility, or park.

What Are the Penalties for Juvenile Drug Possession in Florida?

Minors will likely be treated differently and charged in a delinquency court depending on the drug and the child’s criminal history. A first offense misdemeanor possession charge (simple marijuana possession) will likely go through juvenile court and may mean serving time in a detention center for children.

Other consequences include having to attend a drug treatment program, completing community service, paying court fines, etc. Felony charges against your child may be more serious. Apart from time in a detention center, the minor may be charged as an adult depending on the age.

Fines can be in thousands, not forgetting a felony record. You will need to talk to a drug crime lawyer in Tampa, FL, to help you aggressively fight these charges and avoid these harsh penalties.

Can I Be Penalized for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia is a tool, product, or equipment used to produce, consume, process or manufacture a controlled drug, e.g., pipes, syringes, smoking masks, and chillums.

Possession of this is likely a first-degree misdemeanor with a penalty of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 if no drugs are found.

Top Defense Attorney Fighting for Your Rights and Freedoms

Drug crimes in Florida are no simple thing. If you or a loved one is facing a drug possession charge, ensure that you take action immediately and get help building a solid defense strategy.

Attorney Courtney has several criminal defense tactics to help reduce or have these drug charges dropped. Having the best legal representation is crucial to securing a positive outcome. Talk to us today to set up a meeting with our skilled criminal defense lawyer.