Were You Charged With Drug Possession In Florida? Things You Need To Know
Being charged with drug possession is stressful and frightening. You need to be aware of how the prosecution is going to attempt to prove the charge, the potential penalties you face, and what you can do to protect yourself. An experienced Tampa drug possession defense attorney can answer all of your questions and will protect your legal rights.
The Elements of Drug Possession
In Florida, a prosecutor will need to prove three separate basic elements in order to convict you of drug possession:
- The seized substance is illegal under Florida law;
- You had knowledge of the substance; and
- You had legal control of the drug.
Control and knowledge can be more complicated than they seem. In many cases the drugs are discovered inside an automobile or a home. The prosecutor is required to show that it was in fact the accused who actually exercised control over the drugs.
Penalties for Florida Drug Possession
The penalty for drug possession can vary, significantly, depending on the specific charge, the amount of drugs, and the type of drugs. There are three degrees (first, second, third) of drug possession felony in Florida. There is also the possibility of being charged with a misdemeanor for certain drugs, such as small amounts of marijuana. However, all Florida drug possession charges carry the possibility of jail time and a substantial fine.
An experienced Criminal Defense Attorney WILL Help
Each drug possession case is unique; you should get your case in the hands of a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Some of the key factors that your attorney will investigate and consider include:
- Were your rights violated: The police have to follow certain procedures when stopping and searching individuals. Your attorney will make sure that these rights were not violated. If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated, then the evidence obtained during that illegal search can potentially be excluded from your case at trial.
- Are the elements of drug possession met: If drugs were found in the kitchen or your apartment, and you share that apartment with three other people, why did the prosecutor choose to charge you? Many drug possession charges are illegitimate. The state has the obligation to prove all of the elements of the possession charge. An aggressive Tampa drug possession defense attorney can build a case to fight false charges.
- Pretrial intervention: In some drug possession cases, a pretrial intervention may be available. Usually this option is limited to people with little or no criminal history and a misdemeanor possession charge. If available, an attorney can help you get into a pretrial intervention; which can result in the possession charge being dropped.
- Probation: Everyone makes mistakes. Your drug charges might be legitimate, and the prosecutor may be able to prove all of the necessary elements of the alleged crime. In that case, fighting the charge directly might not make sense. Your attorney can work with prosecutors to negotiate probation instead of jail time.
Contact An Aggressive Tampa Drug Possession Defense Attorney
You need to take action now. In Florida, a drug possession charge is a very serious offense. The experienced criminal defense team at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can help. We understand how much you have at stake in this case. Our Tampa drug defense attorneys will fight aggressively to protect your legal rights and will find the most favorable solution available. If you have been charged with a drug crime in Florida, contact our office today to schedule a free initial legal consultation.