In 2018, over 134,000 Floridians faced drug charges, according to recent reports. Since 2018, it’s estimated that the number has grown, with males facing drug charges at a higher rate than females. There are several types of drug charges one can face; however, there are a few that are fairly common in Florida. In this article, a drug defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm discusses the most common drug charges in Florida and what to do if you have been arrested and charged with a drug-related crime.
In the state of Florida, drug possession is an offense by a person who did not manufacture, distribute, or sell a controlled substance and only held the substance for personal use. It’s fairly straightforward and exactly what it sounds like — being caught with drugs on your person or property that were likely intended for personal use rather than selling. There are certain instances when drug possession of a very small amount results in a fine rather than an arrest and drug charge; however, that varies by city or county. Higher amounts of drugs in possession may result in more serious penalties.
Drug trafficking is the crime of manufacturing, transporting, selling, or distributing illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, PCP, LSD, or other illegal drugs. A prosecutor must show that a defendant was involved in the sale, transport, or import of drugs and that the defendant intended to sell or deliver the drugs to win a conviction. If the charges include trafficking drugs across state lines, it may become a federal crime, for which the penalties may be more serious. Similar to drug possession, charges may result in serious jail time and fines if there are higher amounts of drugs in question.
In the federal legal context, a drug trafficking crime is defined as “an offense under federal, state, or local law that prohibits the manufacture, import, export, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit substance) or the possession of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit substance) with intent to manufacture, import, export, distribute, or dispense.”
Although the perception is that these laws are designed to prevent drug trafficking activities involving the transportation of large amounts of controlled substances into the state, you don’t need to actually be selling or transporting an illegal drug to be charged. In other words, you could simply have too much of a controlled substance in your possession to be classified as for “personal use,” which is considered “intent to distribute.” If you are facing any drug-related charge, contact a drug defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm to discuss the best defense for your specific case. A free consultation with Anthony Rickman is just a phone call away.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.