Possession means to have ownership or control over an illegal drug or controlled substance. Possession may be actual, constructive or joint.
Actual possession means having the illegal drug or controlled substance in your hand, in your pocket or in a container or bag that is in your hand or on your person.
Constructive possession means that the illegal drug or controlled substance is in a place over which you have control or in which you have concealed it.
Joint possession means that two or more people possess the same illegal drug or controlled substance.
A Conviction for possession of illegal drugs or a controlled substance in Florida will result in a two-year suspension of your driver’s license.
Drug Paraphernalia generally refers to any equipment that is used to produce, conceal and consume illicit drugs, including bongs, roach clips, miniature spoons and various types of pipes.
Possession of a large amount of drugs or drugs packaged in a certain manner may lead to charges of trafficking or Possession with intent to deliver or sell.
Drug trafficking is the possession, sale, transportation, manufacture or delivery of a specified quantity of a controlled substance or illegal drug.
Trafficking charges are significant in that a conviction may result in substantial minimum/mandatory prison sentences and fines.
Some examples under Florida law:
|25-200 pounds or 300-2,000 plants||3 years||$25,000|
|2,000-10,000 pounds or 2,000-10,000 plants||7 years||$50,000|
|More than 10,000 pounds or 10,000 plants||15 years||$200,000|
|28 -200 grams||3 years||$50,000|
|200-400 grams||7 years||$100,000|
|400 grams-150 kilograms||15 years||$250,000|
|Heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine|
|4-14 grams||3 years||$50,000|
|14-28 grams||15 years||$100,000|
|28 grams-30 kilograms||25 years||$500,000|
|14-28 grams||3 years||$50,000|
|28-200 grams||7 years||$100,000|
|More than 200 grams||15 years||$250,000|
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Search and seizure issues are quite common in drug possession cases. Evidence collected in violation of your constitutional rights, specifically the Fourth Amendment cannot be used against you. In the case of a traffic stop law enforcement officers must have a justifiable reason for the stop and additionally must also legally justify their search.
Valid Prescription Defense
Under Florida Standard Jury Instruction 3.6(n), it is an affirmative defense to a drug crime if the controlled substance possessed was legally obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription under Section 499.03(1), 893.13(6)(a) Fla. Stats.
As with all affirmative defenses pursuant to § 893.10(1), Fla. Stat., the burden of going forward with evidence of the defense is upon the defendant.
Crime Lab Analysis
The prosecution must prove the substance seized is indeed the illicit drug it claims it to be by send the evidence to a crime lab for analysis. Was your sample collected properly? Who collected it? Where was it maintained? What is the performance record of the person conducting the test on your sample?