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FAQ Drug Charges April 16, 2024

Illegal drugs, money and handcuffsBeing subject to drug charges in Florida can be distressing and overwhelming. Whether it’s your first offense or you've encountered legal complications before, it's crucial to understand the significance of the charges and how to defend against them.

As your criminal defense attorney, I, Jeffery Higgins, am here to provide guidance and answer the most common questions I receive from individuals facing drug charges in Florida. The legal system can be difficult to deal with, but armed with the right information and legal representation, you can face your charges with confidence. 

What should I do if I'm facing drug possession charges in Florida?

If you're facing drug possession charges in Florida, your first step should be to contact a drug crimes attorney, who can scrutinize every aspect of your case. Consider whether your rights were violated at any point and explore defenses such as lack of knowledge or control over the drugs, illegal search and seizure, or disputing proof of possession. The success of your defense heavily relies on case details; thus, consulting an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial. 

Can first-time offenders expect jail time?

Typically, first-time drug offenders in Florida, especially those facing misdemeanor charges without a prior criminal record, might avoid jail time. They may instead receive probation, community service, or placement in a drug diversion program focused on rehabilitation. 

What are mandatory minimum sentences for drug charges in Florida?

Mandatory minimum sentences in Florida are set penalties for certain drug-related crimes, requiring judges to impose a minimum prison term. These apply mainly to trafficking and possession of large quantities of controlled substances but depend on the drug type and amount, previous criminal history, and case specifics. 

How serious are felony drug charges in Florida?

Felony drug charges in Florida, such as intent to sell, trafficking, or drug manufacturing, carry severe penalties including prison time, fines, and lasting criminal records. These charges necessitate a strong legal defense given the aggressive nature of the prosecution. 

What distinguishes state from federal drug charges?

Drug offenses in Florida are usually prosecuted at the state level unless they involve significant quantities, cross state lines, or federal agencies lead the investigation. Federal charges generally result in stiffer penalties. 

What does "possession" entail under Florida law?

Florida recognizes actual and constructive drug possession. Actual possession means drugs were found on your person, while constructive possession implies control over the substance, even if not directly in your possession. Knowledge and control are essential elements the prosecution must prove. 

What are the penalties for drug possession in Florida?

Penalties vary widely based on the drug type, amount, and the offender's past criminal record. They can range from fines to incarceration but often emphasize rehabilitation for first-time offenders. 

Is marijuana legal in Florida?

Recreational marijuana use is illegal in Florida. However, the state authorizes marijuana for medical purposes under a regulated program. Unapproved possession, sale, or distribution remains a criminal offense. 

How do possession, distribution, and trafficking differ?

The nature and amount of the drug determine whether an offense is considered possession (for personal use), distribution (sale or provision of drugs to others), or trafficking (involving large drug quantities), with trafficking facing the most severe penalties. 

What are the consequences of selling drugs near a school in Florida?

Selling drugs within proximity to schools or similar areas leads to enhanced penalties in Florida. These laws aim to protect children and impose stricter consequences for drug offenses committed within these zones. 

Can I seal or expunge a drug conviction from my record?

In some instances, it may be possible to seal or expunge a drug conviction from your criminal record, making it inaccessible to the general public. The eligibility for expungement varies by jurisdiction and depends on factors such as the severity of the crime, the time elapsed since the conviction, and the individual’s criminal history. 

Get Your Questions Answered

Understanding these laws and the potential defenses to drug charges is essential for anyone facing this type of criminal accusation in Florida. The legal landscape is complex, but with the right information and legal representation, individuals can protect their rights and potentially mitigate the consequences of drug charges.

If you're in Daytona, Florida, or its surrounding areas and have been charged with a drug offense, don't hesitate to consult with our firm, Our experience dealing with drug charges can help safeguard your future while providing the defense you deserve. Remember, your freedom is worth fighting for—we're here to fight with you.