Most possession charges in Florida are charged as a third-degree felony but can be first- or second-degree charges. The exception is marijuana possession of less than 20 grams, a first-degree misdemeanor.
To convict, a prosecutor must prove the state’s assertion of drug possession, showing:
• If an accused had actual knowledge of a drug
• If the substance seized by police is actually a controlled substance under Florida’s drug laws
• If the accused had actual or “constructive” control of the drug
• If the accused is charged with possession with an intent to sell, all of these elements existed alongside proof of intent to sell
Additionally, the prosecutor must show that the accused showed great care and control in handling the drug to prove possession.
The exact charge will rely on both the type of controlled substance implicated in the offense and the quantity of the substance in question. The higher the quantity, the harsher the penalties.
One frequently used defense is insufficient evidence. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was in possession of drugs. If not, the charges must be dropped. This includes showing constructive possession, that a person knew about drugs that were in their vicinity.
If police were overly aggressive in searching your home or vehicle or didn’t follow proper procedures such as getting a search warrant, your 4th Amendment rights may have been violated. Unlawfully obtained evidence can be rendered inadmissible.
Similarly, if the search warrant was improperly executed, the charges may be dropped.
Arguing that the drugs belonging to another person are also a defense, especially if you didn’t know they were around.
The substance may appear illegal, but really isn’t. Or, you may not have been aware that the substance was illegal.
Once confiscated, the substance will be handled multiple times, leaving the possibility of mishandling before trial.
Controlled prescription substances that require a prescription can be proven as legal, including medical marijuana.
First time offenders charged with a misdemeanor may be eligible for pretrial intervention, including Florida’s three-tiered drug diversion program. They are alternatives to criminal court cases for first-time offenders, diverting from court to treatment and assistance to avoid long-term incarceration. These programs allow someone to complete requirements during a probationary period and ultimately having dismissed charges. Eligibility is limited to those with no criminal history or a single non-violent offense.
If you are arrested for drug possession in the West Palm Beach area, immediately invoke your right to silence and request an attorney. The defense team of Adam R. Farkas and Jacqueline D. Crowley are ready to help. They have the background and experience to provide you with a strong defense for drug possession and will work hard to defend you.
It’s vital to have strong legal representation after an arrest for drug possession. Don’t try to fight even a misdemeanor on your own.
We offer aggressive criminal defense when you are facing serious charges. We are ready to put our expertise to work and help you with your case. We’re available 24/7, whenever you need us, so call us today at (561)-444-9529 or online to schedule your free consultation appointment.
Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.