Misdemeanor Drug Possession Defense Lawyers in Central Florida
Defending Clients From Harsh Criminal Penalties
Drug possession is one of the most common drug crime charges in Florida and around the United States. Drug possession covers a wide range of charges, including misdemeanors and felonies. Both federal law and state law prohibit the possession of a controlled substance, including illegal drugs and prescription medications.
If you are facing misdemeanor drug possession charges, hiring an experienced drug possession lawyer is the best way to protect your future and your freedom. Although misdemeanor charges are typically less severe than felony charges, you could still face probation, fines, and even jail time. Our team of criminal defense attorneys has years of experience defending clients from various drug charges, and we are confident we can help you.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today. Contact our law office for a free consultation by calling 407-743-8430.
What is Drug Possession?
Drug possession charges are typically assigned to offenders who are found with an excess of drugs on their person or within their possession. Drug possession is different from possession with the intent to sell or distribute. The intent to sell or distribute is often added onto charges when offenders possess a large amount of drugs that are considered too much for personal use.
To secure a drug possession conviction, the prosecution must prove three elements of the crime. They must establish the illegal nature of the controlled substances, your knowledge of the drug, and your control of the drug. Control refers to having ownership of the drug or its location.
For instance, if you are found with drugs locked in your work locker, you can be charged with drug possession even though the drugs were not on your person. Because you are the only person with reasonable access to this location, you have “control” over the illegal substances.
Similarly, you must have clear and defined knowledge of the illegal nature of the drugs. While naivety on its own is typically not a solid defense, simply knowing that “something illegal” is in your home is not enough to charge you with drug possession.
When is Drug Possession a Misdemeanor?
Drug possession charges can be classified as misdemeanor possession or felony possession. In most cases, your charges depend on the amount of drugs in your possession. Once you exceed a certain amount, your charges are automatically upgraded to the felony level.
In most cases, if you are found with up to 20 grams of marijuana, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. For other illegal substances, more than 10 grams is automatically a third-degree felony. If you are found with more than 10 grams of a Schedule I drug, you could be charged with a first-degree felony.
Although misdemeanor offenses typically carry fewer severe consequences than felony offenses, you can still face penalties that impact your life in many ways. Jail time, expensive fines, and probation are likely, even for drug possession without trafficking charges. If you have been charged with drug possession, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer on our team immediately.
What Are the Penalties for a Drug Possession Charge?
The penalties for a drug possession charge depend on the drug you are found with. Drug offenses often carry severe penalties, as Florida law enforcement finds drugs to be very dangerous to the general population.
Below are just some of the penalties you could face for a misdemeanor drug crime:
- 364 days in jail
- One year on probation
- $1,000 in fines
- One year of a driver’s license suspension
While on probation, you may be required to complete rehabilitation at a licensed treatment center. You may also be required to complete community service and undergo random drug tests before your probation is complete. Reach out to a drug crime lawyer on our team today for more information.
What Are the Most Common Defenses Against a Drug Possession Charge?
Your specific defense strategy will depend on the nature of your charges and the drugs you are found with. However, there are some common defense strategies that may be relevant to your drug possession case.
The most common defenses against drug possession charges include:
Illegal Search and Seizure
Every individual has the right to maintain security in their home. If a law enforcement officer completes an illegal search to find drugs or drug paraphernalia, our team can argue that the entire case against you is unlawful.
Lack of Knowledge
It could be argued that you had no knowledge of the illegal substance in your possession. This is a valid defense if you can prove that someone else maintained control of the drugs.
Constructive vs. Actual Possession
Actual possession of a controlled substance refers to having an illegal drug on your person. Constructive possession refers to having an illegal drug in a place over which you have control. If this area is a common space where more than one person has access, prosecutors may be unable to prove possession.
How Can a Defense Attorney Help Me?
Although misdemeanor possession charges are less severe than felony possession charges, they still come with criminal penalties, leaving you with a permanent criminal record. The criminal justice system is especially tough on drug crimes, even for first-time offenders. Fortunately, you can defend yourself by working with the drug possession lawyers on our team.
At The Defense Group, we have years of experience helping clients reduce or remove the penalties they are facing in drug possession cases. We are confident that we can help you with any drug-related charges you are facing. For more information and to receive a free consultation, call our office at 407-743-8430.