Possession of Oxycodone in Florida

Oxycodone is the generic name for OxyContin and is listed as a Schedule II drug in Florida.

A Schedule II drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse due to severe psychological or physical dependence and its use is severely restricted in medical treatment.

It is a Third Degree Felony to possess less than four grams of Oxycodone (as little as one pill) without a valid prescription.

Trafficking Threshold

Possession of 7 grams or more of Oxycodone is prosecuted as a Trafficking in Oxycodone charge. The trafficking weight is determined by how much the Oxycodone pill weighs, not by the pill's dosage.

As a result, a person could have ten Oxycodone pills with a combined dosage of less than 7 grams of Oxycodone, but because the combined weight of the pills is more than 7 grams, the person would be guilty of Trafficking in Oxycodone under Florida law and subject to a minimum-mandatory prison sentence.

And because of the serious consequences for such a simple crime, it is important to know the:

Penalties for Oxycodone Possession

The crime of Possession of Oxycodone is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Possession of Oxycodone, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Five years of probation,
  • Five years in prison, or
  • A fine of up to a $5,000.

Driver's License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Possession of Oxycodone will have their driver’s license or driving privilege revoked for one year by the Florida DHSMV.

Defenses to Oxycodone Possession

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific or common defenses to the crime of Possession of Oxycodone are:

Constructive Possession

If the Oxycodone was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Possession of Oxycodone: [1]

  1. Knowledge of the Oxycodone's presence;
  2. Dominion and control over the Oxycodone.

Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Possession of Oxycodone.

Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend's car and police find Oxycodone in the glove box, they would be unable to convict you of Possession of Oxycodone unless they had some proof that you knew the Oxycodone was present.
Scenario 2: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend places a container of Oxycodone at his feet. The police then stop you, see your friend's container, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Possession of Oxycodone, because even though you knew the Oxycodone was present, your friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over it.

Illegal Search and Seizure

More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.

Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.

Lack of Knowledge

It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Possession of Oxycodone if you can prove that you did not know the substance in your possession was Oxycodone. Importantly, this defense requires you to testify to your lack of knowledge of the substance's illegal nature. [2]

Overdose Defense

Any person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose and needs medical assistance, or a person assisting the person that needs medical assistance, is immune from prosecution for Possession of Oxycodone if it can be shown the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical assistance. [3]

Prescription Defense

While it seems obvious, many people are arrested for possession of Oxycodone when they are unable to produce a valid prescription or a recently dispensed pill bottle. These arrests usually occur when law enforcement have stopped your for suspicious behavior and discover the Oxycodone in an unconventional container.

However, if you can produce a valid Oxycodone prescription that pre-dated your arrest or have a doctor execute a letter that they dispensed a sample amount, you will have an absolute defense to the Oxycodone charge. [4]

Temporary Possession

The defense of temporary possession can be raised where a person takes momentary, temporary, or transitory possession of oxycodone from the true owner. Under such circumstances, the person is not considered to be in legal possession of the oxycodone because the person never exercised complete dominion and control over the oxycodone. [5]

Examples of temporary possession are when a person is handed oxycodone by the true owner and asked to hide it during a police encounter, such as a traffic stop; when holding oxycodone in the presence of a drug dealer for the sole purpose of verifying or testing the oxycodone prior to purchasing it; or when passing the oxycodone from the owner to a third person.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged or arrested with the crime of Possession of Oxycodone in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. GG v. State, 84 So. 3d 1162 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012)
  2. Florida Statute 893.101
  3. Florida Statute 893.21
  4. Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a)
  5. Campbell v. State, 577 So. 2d 932 (Fla. 1991)