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Drug Crime Lawyer in Sarasota, Florida 

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Are you facing a string of criminal charges related to drug crimes in the state of Florida? If so, you are most likely feeling overwhelmed by this burden and are terrified of what is to come (and rightfully so!). Trafficking, selling, and manufacturing drugs (as well as drug possession) are covered by the state of Florida’s laws, which enact penalties for individuals who have committed one or more of these crimes. 

Ultimately, crimes involving the transportation of prescription drugs (like OxyContin or morphine), crystal meth, heroin, marijuana, and other legal and illegal substances can severely impede your future. In the end, you will face prosecution in state or federal courts, depending on the severity of the crime of which you are accused. 

At Musca Law, we have a combined 150+ years of legal experience in criminal defense and are dedicated to seeing you through these difficulties, and performing our absolute best to obtain the most ideal outcome possible on your behalf. 

For more information, get in touch with our office in Sarasota, Florida at (941) 909-3234 to speak with an experienced attorney today.  

Varieties of Drug Crimes in Florida 

Depending on the severity of the alleged crime, people who are found guilty of committing drug-related offenses in the State of Florida can face different types of punishment that range from a misdemeanor to a full-scale felony. 

Here is a closer look at different types of drug crimes

  • Manufacturing controlled substances
  • Delivering controlled substances 
  • Possession of controlled substances (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 prescribed drug 

Another category of drug crimes are location-specific (e.g. based on the location where the drug crimes took place). Ultimately, culprits who commit crimes at school grounds, childcare facilities, or other sensitive places will face severe prison sentences and hefty fines. 

Possession and Subsequent Sale of Drugs in Florida 

As dictated in Florida Statute Title XXXIII Chapter 499.03 (1), no one (under any circumstances) may hold (or attempt to hold) with the intention of selling any drugs that are potentially toxic to human health or are highly addictive. The same rules apply to people who attempt to possess newly released drugs. 

Any person who violates this subsection will face charges of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and a $500 fine. In the case of people who intended to sell dangerous drugs, legal officials will increase the severity of the sentence to a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. 

Under Chapter 499.03(1), the following people are completely exempt from this rule: 

  • People who (by law) are completely authorized to write and prescribe drugs.  
  • Employees/representatives of agencies that deal these drugs as part of legal business
  • Medical professionals supervising the distribution of these drugs (e.g. doctors)

Charges for Illegal Possession/Sale of Controlled Substances in Florida 

Under Chapter 817.563 of the Florida Statutes, any attempt to sell controlled substances (heroin, marijuana, etc.) is regarded as a form of criminal activity, and anyone who attempts to sell these drugs will potentially face more severe punishment than people who sell drugs listed in Chapter 499.03(1). 

Furthermore, anyone who attempts to commit one or more of these drug crimes 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

Charges for Illegal Possession/Sale of Counterfeit Controlled Drugs in Florida 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 831.31 (1), the possession and intention to create/sell any substances that are deemed counterfeit or controlled, is illegal (as ordered in Florida Law). Anyone who makes an attempt to commit one or more crimes of this nature may be punished in one of the following ways, depending on the drugs connected to the case: 

  • 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, 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, punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and a fine of $500. 

Details about “Imitation Controlled Substances” 

As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 817.564 (1), imitation controlled substances are pills, capsules, tablets, or any other type of drugs that are not listed as controlled substances recorded in Chapter 893.03. Overall, these drugs are overwhelmingly addictive and are: 

  • Easily mistaken for actual controlled substances (due to coloration, shape, markings, etc.).
  • Advertised and promoted as controlled substances (without triggering the same symptoms). 

Keep in mind that any attempt to possess these drugs or an intention to sell a drug of this nature will result in charges of a 3rd-degree felony. 

Details about Drug Crime Cases: Intent to Sell  

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 893.13 (1-a, 2-a) and Criminal Jury Case 25.2 dictate that members of the court must prove the following, without any shred of doubt:  

  • The defendant had created, traded, transported, or bought 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. 

Details about cannabis (marijuana): 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 drug. 

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

Terminology Connected to Case 25.2: Intent to Sell Drugs 

Here is some more information 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 producing a controlled substance by synthesizing chemicals or cultivating a natural source. 
  • Cannabis: buds, stems, leaves, flowers, and additional parts of the cannabis plant 

Details about Drug Crime Cases: 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 wielded control over this drug. 
  • (If cannabis is the drug) The amount of cannabis exceeded 20 grams. 

In this case, if a person was in the proximity of a substance, he/she will not necessarily suffer from criminal charges. 

Details about Drug Crimes Cases: Obtaining Controlled Substances 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 the following, without any doubt: 

  • The defendant attempted to find or attain the drug in question. 
  • The court successfully identified the drug. 
  • The defendant had acquired this drug through fraud. 

Setting up a Defense in Drug Crime Cases in Florida 

Under Case 25.2 (for drug crimes related to an intention to sell) states that defendants may confirm that they were not in a close range of the substances when the incident occurred. By providing this information, they will establish they were not in direct control of this drug. However, court members may categorize the crime as joint-possession if the defendant and another person knew about the drugs in question. 

Defendants may also utilize the failure of the court to identify the drug as defense. 

Setting up a Defense in a Drug Possession Case in Florida 

Case 25.7 (similar to the layout of 25.2) states that defendants may have the option of establishing a defense on the grounds that they were not in close range of the drugs. Remember, just because people are in the same area as a drug doesn’t mean they are responsible for the crime.  

AS dictated by FS Chapter 893.21, a person who helps a victim of an overdose (on the drug in question) will not be charged for the crime. 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 updated regulations for the control of medical-grade cannabis (and related products with low-THC content). All plants must meet standards for manufacturing, possession, sales, distribution, and delivery networks described in Statute 381.986. Any case where defendants consume cannabis for medical treatment (with an authorized doctors’ permission) and have legal medical marijuana cards will be granted special attention by the court. 

Florida residents who are registered medical marijuana patients and who have valid ID cards may use this information as a means of defense if they face charges for drug possession. 

Setting up a Defense for a Drug Crime: Fraudulent Procurement of Controlled Substances  

Case 25.8 dictates that the failure to identify a controlled substance may also be considered grounds for defense. Court members 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 for this information to be used as a viable defense. 

Case 25.7 once again reaffirms that the Florida Legislature passed laws concerning medical cannabis (low-THC variety). In this case, this version of the drug is completely excluded from the lineup of drugs listed in FS 893.02(3). In the event that defendants can legally purchase and consume cannabis for medical purposes and possess medical cards for this purpose, the court will issue special instructions.  

Charges for Committing Drug Crimes in Florida 

Once again, Florida Statute Title XXXIII Chapter 499.03(1) states that any person who attempts to possess and/or sell drugs of a harmful, toxic, or addictive nature and drugs that are new on the market will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a 60-day prison sentence and a $500 fine. 

FS Title XLVI Chapter 817.563 also adds that 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: 

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

Florida Statute Title XLVI, Chapter 817.564 (1) also confirms that anyone who possesses and/or sells imitation controlled substances will also be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. 

Review the Following Sources for More Details on Drug Crimes 

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 

Get Top Defense for Your Drug Crimes in Sarasota! 

Our team of attorneys at Musca Law has over 150 years of combined legal experience dealing with drug crime cases in the state of Florida. We are ready to defend the rights of clients who are facing charges for a number of drug crimes. Get in touch with Musca Law to defend your rights today. Call our Sarasota office at (941) 909-3234 to speak with one of our highly-qualified attorneys today.

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