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Drug Crime Lawyers in Naples, Florida 

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If you are facing a string of charges related to drug crimes in Florida, you are no doubt feeling anxious and confused about this situation and fearful of what the future holds. Across charges of trafficking, sale, possession, and manufacturing (to name just a few!) the state of Florida treats drug offenses very seriously and enacts penalties for individuals convicted of committing these offenses. 

Overall, being charged with a crime that involve the transportation of prescription drugs (like OxyContin), crystal meth, heroin, marijuana, and additional drugs that fall into the illegal trade category can severely impact your future. These crimes can lead to either a state or federal prosecution (depending on the severity of the crime). Here at Musca Law, we have over 150 years of combined  legal experience in criminal defense litigation, and we are dedicated to helping each of our clients’ individual needs, with the aim of obtaining the best possible outcome on his/her behalf.

For more information, call (239) 793-5297 to speak to a representative at our office in Naples, Florida. 

What Are the Different Types of Drug Crimes? 

Depending on the severity of the crime that has been committed, people who are found guilty of drug crimes can face charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a full-scale felony, subject to different degrees of punishment: 

Here is a closer look at different types of drug crimes

  • Manufacturing controlled substances
  • Delivering controlled substances 
  • Possession of a controlled substance (with the intent to sell, manufacture, or distribute these drugs to different persons)
  • Drug trafficking 
  • Illegal sales of controlled substances
  • Using fake identification to obtain a controlled substance or prescribe this drug 

Another group of drug-related crimes are identified based on the location of the incident (e.g. school grounds, childcare facilities, etc.). Culprits will ultimately face severe prison sentences and large fines for committing a drug crime in the state of Florida. 

Illegal Possession and/or Sale of Drugs 

Florida Statute Title XXXIII Chapter 499.03(1) dictates that no person (under any circumstances) may have in their possession (or attempt to possess with the intent to sell) any drugs that are harmful, toxic, potentially addictive, or new on the market. 

Anyone who violates this subsection will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and a fine that does not exceed $500. For culprits who intend to sell these dangerous drugs, the sentence will be increased to a 3rd-degree felony, which is punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a fine that does not exceed $5,000. 

Under this same code, the following people who are exempt from this rule include:  

  • People who have received a legal prescription (for a drug) provided by a licensed practitioner who is authorized to prescribe these substances. 
  • Employees/representatives of agencies that deal with these drugs (legally). 
  • Medical professionals who supervise the distribution of these drugs (e.g. doctors). 

Illegal Possession and/or Sale of Controlled Substances 

Individual who attempt to sell controlled substances may also face potentially worse punishments than those listed in Chapter 499.03(1). Chapter 817.563 dictates that any attempt to sell illegally controlled substances is an illegal act under Florida State Law. 

Any individual who attempts to commit this crime may face one of two punishments, depending on the type of controlled substance in question: 

  • Anyone who possesses and/or attempts to sell any substances listed in Chapter 893.03 (1), (2), (3), or (4) will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony. 
  • Anyone who possesses and/or attempts to sell any substances listed in Chapter 893.03 (5) will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor. 

For a full list of drugs and schedules, please review Title XLVI, Chapter 893.03

Illegal Possession and/or Sale of Counterfeit Controlled Substances 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 831.31(1) dictates that the possession and intention to manufacture or sell any counterfeit controlled substances is completely illegal (as ordered by Florida State Law). Any person who attempts to commit one or more of these acts will be charged in one of two ways, depending on the nature of the drugs: 

  • Any person who possesses and/or attempts to sell any counterfeit controlled substances listed in Chapter 893.03(1-4) will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, which is punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a fine of $5,000. 
  • Any person who possesses and/or attempts to sell any counterfeit controlled substances listed in Chapter 893.03(5) will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and a fine of $500. 

What Is an “Imitation Controlled Substance”? 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 817.564(1) defines “imitation controlled substances” as pills, capsules, tablets, or any other form of a drug that is not listed as a controlled substance outlined in Chapter 893.03. These substances are highly addictive and are: 

  • Easily mistaken for real controlled substances (due to coloration, shape, markings, etc.).
  • Advertised as controlled substances but do not trigger the same effects.  

Recall that any attempt to possess and/or intention to sell a drug of this nature will result in charges of a 3rd-degree felony. 

Reaching a Verdict for a Drug Crime (Intent to Sell) 

Florida Statute 893.13 (1-a) and (2-a) and the instructions for jurors in a criminal court outlined in Case 25.2 dictates that member of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that: 

  • The defendant had manufactured, sold, delivered, or purchased a specific drug. 
  • The defendant had made an attempt to sell a specific drug. 
  • The court successfully identified the substance. 
  • The defendant fully knew the drug was in his/her environment. 

Cannabis: In the event of transporting cannabis (20 pounds or less), the court must prove that the defendant had been trafficking this exact quantity of the herb. 

Case 25.2 does not list “manufacturing” as the processing, production, compounding, or final preparation of any drug involved in the incident. 

Terms Associated with Case 25.2 (Intent to Sell) 

Here are more details about the terminology highlighted in Case 25.2 (intent to sell drugs):  

  • Sell: the transference or delivery of a drug from one person to another in exchange for a reward (money/goods)
  • Manufacture: the process of producing, compounding, or creating a controlled substance by synthesizing chemicals or cultivating a natural source. 
  • Cannabis: buds, stems, leaves, flowers, and additional parts of the cannabis plant 

Reaching a Verdict for a Drug Crime (Drug Possession)

Florida Statute T893.13(6) and the instructions in criminal jury Case 25.7 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that: 

  • The defendant had been in the possession of a drug (in question). 
  • The court successfully identified this drug. 
  • The defendant fully knew that this drug existed and was on his/her person. 
  • The defendant fully knew that he/she willingly exercised control over this substance. 
  • (If cannabis is the drug) The amount of cannabis exceeded 20 grams. 

In this case, being in the proximity of a substance will not necessarily result in criminal charges. 

Reaching a Verdict for a Drug Crime (Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud)

Florida Statute Chapter 893.13(7a)(9) and the instructions in criminal jury Case 25.8 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any doubt) that: 

  • The defendant attempted to obtain or acquire the drug in question. 
  • The court successfully identified the drug. 
  • The defendant had obtained/acquired this drug through fraud. 

Establishing a Defense in a Drug Crime Case 

Case 25.2 (with intention to sell) dictates that a defendant may explain that he/she was not in proximity to the drug at the time of the incident (indicating that he/she was not in direct control of this substance) as a means of defense. However, the court will recognize the crime as joint-possession if the defendant and another person knew about this illegal substance. 

If the court cannot successfully identify the drug, the defendant may also use this evidence to his/her advantage in a case. 

Establishing a Defense in a Drug Possession Case 

Case 27.2 (similar to the layout of 25.2) dictates that a defendant may be able to establish a defense on the grounds that he/she was not in proximity of the dangerous substance. Remember, just because a person was in the same area as a drug doesn’t mean he/she committed the crime. 

FS Chapter 893.21 states that a person who renders aid to a person who is suffering from a life-threatening overdose on this drug will not face criminal charges. In any court case, the defendant can use this information if he/she was the rescuer. 

For special cases of involuntary or superficial possession, please review the following cases, as presented in Case 27.2 for a criminal jury:

  • Hamilton v. State, 732 So. 2d 493 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999)
  • Sanders v. State, 563 So. 2d 781 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990)

Some Notes about Cannabis in Florida: In 2014, the Florida Legislature passed laws governing the control of medical-grade cannabis (and related products with low-THC content). These plants must meet standards for manufacturing, possession, sales, distribution, and delivery networks described in Statute 381.986. Any case when a defendant needs to use cannabis for medical purposes (with an authorized doctors’ permission) and has a legal medical marijuana card will be granted special attention by the court. 

Registered medical marijuana patients (Florida residents) who have valid ID cards may use this information to their defense if they are charged with drug possession. 

Establishing a Defense in a Drug Crime Case for Fraudulent Procurement of a Controlled Substance

As outlined in Case 25.8 (similar to 25.2 and 25.7), failing to identify a controlled substance may also be considered a basis for defense in court. Remember that members of the court must not have any viable knowledge about the drug in question and must have proof that the defendant knew the drug was a product of deceptive practice and promotion. 

As outlined in Case 25.7, the Florida Legislature passed laws concerning medical cannabis (low-THC variety), which is completely excluded from the lineup of drugs listed in FS 893.02(3). In the event that a defendant is licensed to purchase and consume cannabis for medical purposes and a medical card for this purpose, the court will have special instructions. 

Reviewing Penalties for Committing Drug Crimes in the State of Florida 

Reiterating Florida Statute Title XXXIII Chapter 499.02(1), any attempt to possess and/or sell drug of a harmful, toxic, or addictive nature and drugs that are new on the market will result in charges of 2nd-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and a $500 fine. 

Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 817.563, any attempt to possess and/or sell a controlled substance or a counterfeit controlled substance (as listed in Title XLVI Chapter 831.31) will result in one of two possible charges: 

  • Any attempt to sell or possess drugs listed in Chapter 893.01 (1-4) will result in charges of a 3rd-degree felony, which is punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a fine that does not exceed $5,000. 
  • Any attempt to sell or possess drugs listed in Chapter 893.03(5) will result in charges of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and a fine that does not exceed $500. 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI, Chapter 817.564 (1), an individual who attempts to possess and/or sell imitation controlled substances will also face subsequent charges of a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a $5,000 fine and a prison sentence that does not exceed 5 years. 

Review These Resources for Additional Details about Drug Crimes in Florida 

FS Chapter 499.03 – Sale and Possession of Drugs

FS Chapter 817.563 – Sale and Possession of Controlled Substances

FS Chapter 831.31 – Counterfeit Substances 

FS Chapter 893.03 – Schedules for different types of drugs 

Contact an Attorney from Musca Law for a Solid Defense for Drug Crimes!

Here at Musca, our team of attorneys have years of experience dealing with drug crime cases across the state of Florida, which makes us uniquely qualified to handle your case. We are ready to defend the rights of our clients who are facing charges for one or more of these serious offenses. When you get in touch with us, we can guarantee that your rights will be respected during the entire negotiation process, and that you will be protected from manipulative tactics and unjust charges made against you. Don’t hesitate to contact our Naples office today at (239) 793-5297 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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