Florida law enforcement takes meth crimes seriously. If you are pulled over or otherwise stopped by the police while high on methamphetamine, you could face several charges, some more severe than others. From the moment the police arrest you, you need to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to properly protect your rights. At Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law, we stand with our clients every step of the way. Maybe you made a mistake or are struggling with a severe addiction. Either way, we understand this is a situation you probably thought you would never be in. Let us ease the stress and get to work defending your rights!
What Is Meth?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It has many nicknames, including meth, crank, speed, and ice.
Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine that resembles glass fragments or shiny bluish-white rocks and is an illegally altered version of the prescription drug cooked with over-the-counter medications in meth labs.
Although considered by most as a street drug, it is legally available as a prescription to treat certain conditions, including ADHD.
People can take or “get high on” methamphetamine by:
- Swallowing, or
- Injecting it.
Any form of meth use is hazardous, and if you do not have a valid prescription, you may find yourself in hot water if caught high on meth.
Schedule II Drug
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies legal and illegal drugs into five schedules. Each drug is classified according to its potential dependency and risk of abuse. Schedule V drugs are the least addictive and less susceptible to abuse, and Schedule I drugs have the highest chance of both.
Meth is a Schedule II drug because of its high potential for abuse and severe psychological or physical dependence. It is illegal on both the state and federal levels if not used in accordance with a legal prescription.
Different Types of Methamphetamine Crimes
You might be wondering, What are the charges if you are arrested while high on meth? There are several different meth-related crimes you can face in Florida. However, the most common meth crimes are possession, trafficking, and manufacturing.
Under Florida law, possessing methamphetamine without a valid prescription is considered a third-degree felony. It is punishable by up to five years in prison, up to a $5,000 fine, or both.
To be convicted, the prosecutor must prove the essential elements of possession of methamphetamine beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecutor must prove:
- The defendant possessed a controlled substance,
- That substance was methamphetamine, and
- The defendant knew about and had control over the drug.
There are generally two types of possession: actual and constructive. Actual possession means the defendant had the meth on their physical person (e.g., in their pocket). Constructive possession means the substance was not located on the defendant’s person, but was within their control (e.g., in a locker they had access to or in the trunk of their car). Either type of possession will suffice for a meth possession charge.
Even more severe than possession of meth charges are manufacturing charges. Under Florida law, it is a second-degree felony to possess methamphetamine with the intent to manufacture it. The same statute also prohibits the distribution of methamphetamine if the person knows the chemical will be used to manufacture another controlled substance.
Manufacturing less than 14 grams of methamphetamine is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Under Florida law, individuals might be guilty of trafficking methamphetamine if they knowingly possess, sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver, or transport 14 grams or more of any mixture containing methamphetamine.
The penalty thresholds are as follows:
- Fourteen or more grams is a first-degree felony with a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $50,000 fine;
- Twenty-eight or more grams is a first-degree felony with a seven-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $100,000 fine;
- Two hundred or more grams is a first-degree felony with a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
The penalty increases to up to 30 years in prison if you manufacture meth in the presence of a minor under 16. And please keep in mind that judges do not have the discretion to decrease mandatory minimum sentences as outlined by statute. So if you get convicted, you must serve at least the mandatory minimum sentence.
Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are arrested while high on meth, charges will most certainly follow. With years of prison at stake, your best bet is to remain cooperative but silent after your arrest and immediately ask to speak with an attorney. Then, continue to remain silent until you speak with us. At Moses & Rooth, we understand arrests happen at all times of the day, and we are available around the clock to take your call. We are former prosecutors with extensive criminal law knowledge and experience advocating in the courtroom. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. With so much on the line, you need compassionate but effective representation. Don’t leave your future to chance. Call us today.