Drug Possession: How Serious Are Your Charges?
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Getting arrested for drug possession is never a pleasant experience. But the reason this charge can be even more scary in Miami is Florida has some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. These laws stem from the drug wave that swept the state during the 80s. Because tough laws were enacted to crack down on that activity, a simple drug possession charge in 2016 can carry surprisingly serious consequences. Even if it’s your first time being arrested for a drug offense, the consequences associated with a drug possession charge have the potential to permanently alter the course of your life. Dealing with that reality is why it’s crucial for anyone in this situation to be represented by a Miami drug crimes attorney.
What is a Controlled Dangerous Substances?
Controlled dangerous substance, or CDS, is the term that Florida law enforcement officers use to refer to drugs and the compounds that are used to manufacture them. The state of Florida uses five different schedules to classify controlled dangerous substances. This schedule ranks CDS based on their likelihood for abuse. Schedule I drugs like heroine have the highest potential for abuse.
Examples of other drugs with lower schedules include morphine and opium under Schedule II, anabolic steroids under Schedule III, diazepam under Schedule IV and small amounts of specified narcotic drugs that have a legitimate medical use under Schedule V. Where a CDS falls on this scale can affect the severity of a drug possession charge.
What’s the Difference Between Actual and Constructive Possession?
One important aspect of Florida’s possession laws that everyone needs to understand is the fact that ownership isn’t necessary for being charged with this type of crime. If someone physically has a CDS on them in a location like their jacket pocket, they can be charged with actual possession. But even if an individual doesn’t have anything on them but is riding in a car and knows that there is a CDS in the glovebox, they can still be charged with constructive possession.
Potential Penalties for a Drug Possession Charge
A drug possession charge for a first-time offender can be classified as a misdemeanor, third degree felony, second degree felony or a first degree felony. The possible jail time for these classifications ranges from 1 to 30 years, along with fines ranging between $1,000 and upwards. And for an individual with at least two prior felony convictions, jail time for a third degree charge can be up to 5 years and a possible life sentence for a first degree charge.
Don’t Face a Florida Drug Possession Charge Alone
Individuals classified as a habitual offender by the state of Florida have the most to lose with a drug possession charge. But even if someone is facing their first charge, they’re still up against very harsh penalties. If you were arrested for drug possession in Miami and need legal representation, Gabriela Novo can help. She started her Florida law practice after working as a prosecutor and has worked on over 1,000 criminal cases.
For a free and confidential consultation about your case, call Gabriela Novo today at (954) 866-8237.