West Palm Beach Possession Lawyer
Although public attitudes towards recreational drug use may have softened in recent years, Florida laws remain quite harsh for anyone convicted of possessing certain dangerous drugs, i.e. “controlled substances.” Even a small quantity of a controlled substance can lead to serious criminal charges and potential fines or jail time. And if a person has any prior criminal drug record, those penalties can quickly escalate.
So if you have been arrested for drug possession, you need to take the matter seriously. A qualified West Palm Beach possession lawyer can represent you at every stage of a criminal drug case. At the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., we offer skilled advice with respect to all types of drug possession charges.
How Florida Law Punishes Possession of Controlled Substances
Florida laws governing drugs are quite complex. The state divides controlled substances into five different “schedules” with Schedule I representing those drugs with the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, such as heroin. It is not necessarily illegal to possess any controlled substance. Many of the schedules include legitimate medical drugs that it is okay to possess with a doctor’s prescription.
Whether possession of a particular controlled substance is a felony or misdemeanor depends on the type of drug and the amount involved. If you possess 1 or 2 grams of marijuana, for example, it is generally prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony but still carries the potential for up to 1 year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. But different drugs or higher quantities can lead to felony charges, up to and including felony possession of the first degree, where the maximum sentence is 30 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
It is also important to understand that from a legal standpoint, actual and constructive possession of a controlled substance is the same thing. That is, you can be charged with drug possession even if a controlled substance is not physically within your possession–such as in your pockets–at the time of an arrest. If the prosecution can show you had knowledge of the drug’s location and the ability to exercise physical control over that location, you can still be convicted for constructive possession of a controlled substance.
And as with many criminal offenses, repeat offenders are treated more harshly. For instance, a person with two or more prior felony convictions for any crime–in Florida or any other state-can be sentenced to life for a subsequent felony drug possession conviction. Even someone with multiple misdemeanor possession convictions can be sentenced more harshly at the discretion of the court.
Contact the Law Office of Scott Richardson Today
Many simple drug possession cases are resolved with a negotiated plea agreement. Even when a plea is not possible or advisable, your chances of obtaining a more favorable outcome increase by working with a skilled West Palm Beach possession lawyer. So if you have been charged with possession and need to speak with someone about your case, contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., today.