The state of Florida is always working hard to keep controlled substances out of the hands of its residents. Anyone found possessing illegal drugs — whether for personal use or to sell — may face severe consequences that can change their lives forever if they are convicted. What do Florida laws say about drug possession? What does it take for prosecuting attorneys to achieve a conviction, and what can those accused of drug possession do to defend themselves?
In order to be charged with drug possession, one must be found with a drug on his or her person, in his or her car, in his or her home, or his or her general vicinity. Being charged with this type of crime does not mean a conviction is guaranteed. For prosecuting attorneys to achieve a conviction, three elements have to exist in one’s case. Those elements are:
- An illegal drug was seized
- The accused knew he or she possessed the illegal drug
- The accused had immediate control of the drug
The penalties for drug possession vary. One might be looking at months to years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines. It all depends on what drug one is accused of possessing, how much of the drug is in one’s possession, one’s previous criminal record and intent.
When facing a drug possession charge, it is easy to get discouraged and lose hope. Many people believe that there is no way to fight such a charge successfully, but that is far from the truth. Several defense strategies may work in one’s favor, such as:
- Claiming the drug was prescribed
- Claiming lack of knowledge
- Claiming entrapment
- Claiming unlawful search and seizure
Drug possession charges are not easy to fight in the state of Florida, but that does not mean doing so is impossible. With the right assistance, one may be able to achieve a case dismissal, a reduction in charges and penalties, or alternative sentencing. Legal counsel will work diligently to help one achieve the best outcome possible.