Being charged with a crime in Florida is a scary and uncertain time in a person’s life, especially for someone who has no prior criminal history.
You probably have a variety of questions. Fortunately, we have the answers.
At Moses and Rooth, we are former state prosecutors who have practiced criminal law throughout our entire careers.
Our extensive experience means we can skillfully present your defense and give you the best chance for a successful outcome on your first possession charge.
What Are the Penalties for a First-time Possession Charge in Florida?
The penalty for a first-time possession charge in Florida depends on the type of drug the police accuse you of possessing.
The second factor is the amount of drugs involved. The judge also examines your criminal record for any other criminal charges, even if this is your first drug charge.
Under Florida’s drug laws, possession of drugs like heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, crystal meth, and other so-called “street drugs” is a third-degree felony. The maximum prison sentence for a third-degree felony is five years.
The judge can also give you a fine of up to $5,000. However, possession of 10 grams or more of certain drugs listed in Schedule I or II of Florida’s drug table is a first-degree felony.
Even if it is your first offense ever, the judge could send you to prison for up to 30 years and fine you up to $10,000 for a first-degree felony.
Possession of prescription drugs listed in Schedule V of Florida’s drug table is a second-degree misdemeanor. The punishment for a second-degree misdemeanor may not exceed 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.
What Is the Penalty for a 1st-Time Offense of Possession of Weed in Florida?
Florida has not decriminalized recreational marijuana like other states. You can get a medical marijuana card and possess the substance legally. But if you don’t have a prescription, possession of weed is still illegal in Florida.
Non-prescription possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor is one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Do First-Time Drug Offenders Go To Jail?
A judge must weigh several factors when deciding whether or not to send a person to jail. Here are just some of the factors judges must consider:
- The type of charges;
- The prior criminal history of the accused;
- Whether the prosecution alleges aggravating factors; and
- Whether the law requires the judge to impose a minimum-mandatory sentence.
Florida’s drug laws are tough. As a result, a first-time possession charge in Florida could possibly result in jail time. But first-time offender drug possession charges do not always have to involve incarceration.
Having a trusted lawyer by your side gives you the best chance of staying out of jail and getting a just resolution to your case.
What Defenses Do I Have?
Backed by decades of collective experience, we have the knowledge to come up with defenses that give you the best opportunity to avoid jail.
For instance, we could challenge the actions of the police if they violated your constitutional rights by filing and arguing a motion to suppress.
If you win such a motion, the judge will throw out all evidence seized by the police in violation of your rights. Without this evidence, the prosecution typically has no choice but to drop the charges for lack of evidence.
Fighting to throw out evidence works in conjunction with other defenses. Remember that the law presumes you innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In other words, the prosecution has to prove that you possessed the drugs.
So if the drugs were found in a shared area, like your apartment or a car used by other people—then we may be able to argue that you had no knowledge of or control over the drugs you are charged with possessing.
Finally, the State also has to prove that the substance they allege to be drugs is a controlled substance.
If they cannot prove all of the elements of a possession charge at trial, then their case is weak, and you will likely be found not guilty.
Moses and Rooth: Criminal Defense Lawyers Dedicated to Serving You
Contact Moses and Rooth today at 407-449-1538 to start your defense right away. We know how important it is to keep your record clean.
Over our combined 30 years of practice, we have handled hundreds of drug cases. That means the chances are pretty high that we’ve handled drug cases like yours.
Call us today: someone is always available to take your call and schedule a free consultation.