In Florida, there are three main categories of drug crimes considered by law enforcement. These include in increasing level of severity: drug possession, sale of drugs and drug trafficking.
Possession is the most common drug offense, and also the least serious. To obtain a conviction for drug possession, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had physical or constructive possession of the drug in question. Usually, this means that the drugs must be found on the suspect’s person or within obvious and easy reach of the suspect (for example, the suspect possesses a key to a locker containing the drugs). Possession of marijuana or cannabis is considered a misdemeanor offense under Florida law, while possession of any other illicit drug is treated as a 3rd degree felony.
All crimes involving the sale or intent to sell or distribute drugs constitute felonies, most of the second or third degree. Sale or distribution of drugs within one thousand feet of a school or church will increase the severity of the crime one degree. For example, if you are caught distributing marijuana (normally a third degree felony) within 1,000 feet of a school, you will be charged with a second-degree felony and face up to 15 years in prison. Often, charges of drug sale are based on information from confidential informants or undercover police officers.
Drug trafficking charges are the most severe drug charges in Florida. Trafficking involves the sale, manufacture, delivery or purchase of statutory amounts of a given illicit substance. Even simple possession of these amounts would constitute grounds for a drug trafficking charge. In Florida, if you are caught in possession of 25 pounds of marijuana, 28 grams of cocaine or 4 grams of opiates, you will likely be charged with drug trafficking. Similarly, if you are caught with equipment or primary ingredients used to manufacture certain illicit substances, you can be charged with drug trafficking.
Posted in: Drug Crimes