In 2016 there was a drug arrest once every 20 seconds somewhere in the United States.
If you’ve been arrested before, you may be familiar with the proceedings but that also means you’re in more trouble than if this were your first arrest.
If it’s your first arrest, you’re probably terrified and worried about your future.
Either way, you need a lawyer to help you. But not all lawyers are qualified. And some just aren’t very good at their jobs.
Doing some homework can help. Keep reading to learn how to find a great lawyer if you’ve been held up on drug possession charges.
What Drug Possession Charges Are
There are a few rules that must be followed in order to prove that someone was knowingly in possession of illegal drugs.
A prosecutor in Florida must prove that the accused had actual knowledge of the drug. The substance must also be a controlled substance under Florida law.
The prosecutor must prove you were in control of the drug. If you were caught while in possession of the drug, they have to prove if you had the intent to sell and if all the elements of possession were present, and if there’s proof of your intent to sell.
The law will also take into consideration the following information.
The types of drugs found at the time of your arrest. They’ll also consider how many prior offenses you have.
A prosecutor will also factor in the number of drugs found during the arrest. Lastly, if a death or serious injury occurred as a result of the drug possession you’ll face worse charges.
Drug possession laws change depending on what type of drugs you were caught with. There are five schedules based on federal classifications.
Schedule I are drugs with no known medicinal use. They also are most likely to lead to dependency. Types of drugs under Schedule I are heroin, MDMA (Molly and ecstasy), psilocybin (shrooms), peyote, mescaline, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Schedule II drugs have some accepted medicinal uses. However, they’re also likely to be abused. Schedule II drugs include hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, oxycontin, opium, methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone, and codeine.
Schedule III drugs also have some accepted medicinal purposes but still, pose some moderate risks of abuse. Schedule III drugs are anabolic steroids, barbiturates, and any medicine containing even small amounts of codeine.
Schedule IV drugs are prescription anti-anxiety drugs like Valium, Zolpiden, Ambien, and Xanax.
Schedule V drugs are any substance that contains small and limited amounts of narcotics. It’s also considered a Schedule V drug if it contains one or more non-narcotic active medical ingredient like what is often found in over-the-counter medicines like cough medicines.
How Florida Classifies Marijuana
A possession of marijuana charge is treated a little differently. However, just because medical marijuana has been permitted since 2017, there are still restrictions and it’s still considered a Schedule I drug under current federal laws.
This means the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal. If you’re caught possessing 20 grams or less, or any paraphernalia like rolling papers or a bong, it’s still considered a misdemeanor.
You could end up with a fine up to $1,000 and spend up to one year in prison.
Marijuana Possession Over 20 Grams
Possessing over 20 grams of marijuana is considered a felony. Anyone found carrying up to 25 pounds can end up with a five-year prison sentence.
Those found carrying larger than 25 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds can end up spending up to 15 years in prison and face a $25,000 fine.
You may also be charged with drug trafficking.
Other Marijuana Charges
It’s still illegal to grow marijuana plants. The punishment is determined by how many plants were grown.
You can also get in trouble for possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or park. That can lead to up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Facts About The New Florida Drug Laws
However, new laws were recently introduced and approved into Florida legislation.
This was done in response to the recent opioid epidemic. They realized non-violent addicts were ending up behind bars for a long time, rather than getting the treatment they needed.
Before the laws changed, someone found with as few as seven hydrocodone painkillers (without a valid prescription) would end up spending three mandatory years in prison rather than going to rehab.
Now, non-violent, first-time offenders caught with small amounts of illegal drugs end up in drug court rather than prison.
This will save more than $47 million dollars in five years because fewer people will go to prison. Instead, that money can now go towards drug treatment, counseling, and drug courts.
How To Find The Right Attorney
If you are caught and brought up on drug possession charges, do not wait to find an attorney. Start looking immediately.
An attorney can start looking to find out how to get a possession charge dropped.
Doing so can help you avoid jail time, fines, or even in some cases, going to court.
Here are a few suggestions on how to find a great Florida attorney.
Ask Friends and Family
If you know someone who has been arrested for felony drug charges contact them and ask for a referral.
Ask what they liked most about the attorney. Then ask what they liked least about working with the lawyer.
Do An Online Search
Doing an online search to find the right attorney is also helpful.
The Florida Bar Association site is a helpful site to use. You can use it to find an attorney and make sure they’re in good standing.
Just make sure you take a look at their website. Choose an attorney whose website looks professional and shares worthwhile information.
This website is a great example of what to look for.
Interview The Attorney
After you find a few attorneys you like, begin interviewing them to find out who is the best match.
Find one who communicates well with you. You want to know how to get a possession charge cropped.
You also want someone who understands the new Florida drug laws as well as all drug possession laws.
Make sure you feel comfortable sharing information with him or her and that they have a great track record of helping people in similar situations.
Ask them to explain exactly what happens in court and what to expect. They should also tell you how to dress if you do need to go to court.
Keep Educating Yourself
The more you learn about drug possession charges, the less frightened you’ll be. You’ll also be able to prepare fully if you do need to appear in court.
Keep educating yourself. Our blog contains great information you can use to help yourself live a happier, healthier life so keep coming back to read it.