Drug Possession in Florida
Florida regulates and criminalizes the simple possession of numerous narcotic and pharmacological drugs. These substances are generally referred to as Controlled Substances.
Some of the most commonly charged crimes involving the illegal possession of Controlled Substances are:
- Possession of Cocaine
- Possession of Heroin
- Possession of GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid)
- Possession of Hydrocodone
- Possession of Marijuana (Cannabis)
- Possession of MDMA (Ecstacy, Molly)
- Possession of Methamphetamine
- Possession of Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
- Possession of Synthetic Drugs
- Possession of Xanax (Alprazolam)
Being arrested for drug possession does not necessarily mean you will be labeled a criminal. The Florida Legislature has established several options for resolving drug possession cases to help Floridians address substance abuse problems. Thus there are creative ways to resolve drug possession cases.
Unfortunately though, the opportunities available to resolve a simple drug possession case depend on:
- The nature of the charge.
- Your prior criminal history.
- The available substance abuse treatment programs.
- Your attorney's knowledge of the available options.
Options for Resolving Drug Possession Cases
Resolving a drug possession case is determined by evaluating:
- The person's needs,
- The specific laws which apply to the charge(s), and
- The person's guilt or innocence.
In Central Florida, there are several sentencing alternatives available to a person accused of a drug possession charge. Each is briefly discussed below.
Pretrial Diversion is a program run by the State Attorney's Office and is usually reserved for first time, nonviolent offenders.
The program is similar to probation, in that once you are accepted, you must report monthly to a supervising officer, undergo random drug testing, complete community service hours, and refrain any criminal activity.
The charges are dropped upon successful completion of Pretrial Diversion.
Pretrial Intervention is similar to Pretrial Diversion, but is run by the Court and is more lenient because a person does not have to have a spotless record.
Also similar to probation, you must report to the Court on a regular basis, submit to a drug evaluation and participate in drug treatment, comply with any specific requirements ordered by the Court, and refrain from being involved in any criminal activity.
Importantly, many Judges do not participate in Pretrial Intervention. As a result it is important that you hire an attorney who is familiar with the individual Judges and who can advise you accordingly.
Your charges will be dropped upon successful completion of Pretrial Intervention.
Drug Court is a diversionary program created to address the issue of repeat drug offenders. The program provides for the identification, evaluation, case management and placement of substance abusing offenders in order to avoid entering the formal criminal justice system.
The Drug Court Judge reviews progress reports on each participant. Incidents of noncompliance are reported immediately to the Drug Court Judge, along with recommendations as to consequences to be imposed. Upon successful completion of Drug Court your charges will be dropped.
Motion to Suppress
A Motion to Suppress seeks to have evidence excluded because it was illegally obtained.
Drug arrests are ripe with possibilities for filing a Motion to Suppress because drug arrests are usually based on police hunches, prolonged (and thus illegal) encounters, and unreliable information.
It is impossible to adequately explain the various reasons for filing a Motion to Suppress, however, before considering any of the sentencing alternatives described here, an attorney must analyze your particular facts to determine if a Motion to Suppress would resolve the case and result in your case's dismissal.
Many people are uninterested in drug treatment and would rather resolve the case with as little supervision as possible.
For these people, the best resolution is to negotiate a minimal probation without drug treatment or testing.
However, it should be noted that Central Florida Judges generally impose random drug testing as a standard condition of probation. As a result, I strongly urge you to consider the previously mentioned options.
Not all people arrested for drug offense are guilty and many times a trial to determine one's guilt or innocence is the best method to resolve the case.
Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Hornsby
The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.