Possession of Controlled Substance
Florida takes drug possession very seriously. For many kinds of controlled substances, even so-called “simple possession” is a felony offense that can possibly result in years in prison and substantial fines.
Convictions for possession of even minor amounts of illegal drugs carry much longer consequences. When people plead or are found guilty of possessing a controlled substance in Florida, they can become convicted felons who will experience numerous hardships that can prevent them from obtaining employment, housing, or professional licenses.Possession of Controlled Substance Lawyer in Broward County, Florida
If you have been arrested in South Florida for alleged drug possession, you will want to make sure that you explore all of your possible legal options before agreeing to any kind of plea bargain. The Hoffman Firm can fight to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman has experience handling these cases as a former Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office and uses his knowledge to help clients in Dania Beach, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, and surrounding areas in Broward County. Call (954) 524-4474 today to have him review your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Drug Possession Crimes in Fort Lauderdale
- What is the difference between actual possession and constructive possession?
- When does possession become trafficking in Florida?
- Is there any help available in Broward County for individuals with substance abuse issues?
Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida
Under Florida Statute § 893.13(6), no person can be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance as classified in Florida Statute § 893.03. The only exception provided under this statute is if the controlled substance “was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice or to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance except as otherwise authorized.”
The type of alleged possession can play an important role in defending against these criminal charges. Chapter 25.7 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions defines actual possession as meaning the alleged offender was aware of the presence of the controlled substance and:
- The controlled substance was in the hand of or on the alleged offender;
- The controlled substance was in a container in the hand of or on the alleged offender; or
- The controlled substance was so close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the alleged offender.
Constructive possession, on the other hand, means the alleged offender was aware of the presence of the controlled substance, the controlled substance was in a place over which the alleged offender has control, and the alleged offender had the ability to control the controlled substance. It is important to understand that mere proximity to a controlled substance is not sufficient to establish the power and intention to control that substance when the substance is in a place that the person does not control.
When an alleged offender is charged with constructive possession of a controlled substance that was in a place he or she did not control, the prosecution must prove that the alleged offender:
- knew that the substance was within his or her presence; and
- exercised control or ownership over the substance itself.
Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Broward County
The specific amount of an illegal drug that an alleged offender possessed can play an important role in the severity of the criminal charges. For certain controlled substances, amounts that exceed limits established under the Florida Statutes can lead to an alleged offender facing the upgraded charges of drug trafficking.
Criminal charges will be for possession rather than trafficking so long as a person allegedly possessed:
- Less than 4 grams of an opiate, such as codeine, heroin, hydrocodone, morphine, opium, or oxycodone;
- Less than 4 grams of flunitrazepam (Rohypnol or “roofies”);
- Less than 10 grams of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy, MDMA, or Molly);
- Less than 14 grams of methamphetamine;
- Less than 28 grams of cocaine;
- Less than 28 grams of phencyclidine (PCP or angel dust); or
- Less than 1 kilogram of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB).
The type of controlled substance also directly impacts the possible consequences of a conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Possession of a Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV controlled substance is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 while possession of a Schedule V controlled substance is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Florida Statute § 322.055 also established that the driver’s licenses of alleged offenders convicted of possession of any controlled substance will be revoked for one year.
Florida Drug Possession Arrest Resources
Broward Addiction Recovery — Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) offers a comprehensive range of services for Broward County residents over the age of 18 who are affected by substance abuse. On this website, you can learn more about those services, success stories, and self-assessment tools. You can also find recent news and read about BARC’s mission and vision.
1011 SW 2nd Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse (UWBCCSA) — UWBCCSA was created in November 1988 and has been recognized in 1996 as "Anti-Drug Coalition of the Year" by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and was awarded the 2006 Marilyn Wagner Culp Community Coalition Award for Excellence by the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA). On this website, you can learn more about drug trends and indicator reports, view historical Geographic Information System (GIS) maps, and find presentations by UWBCCSA staff members. You can also view agendas, minutes, and annual reports.
United Way of Broward County
1300 South Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Were you recently arrested for alleged drug possession in South Florida? It is in your best interest to immediately contact The Hoffman Firm for help achieving the most favorable outcome with the fewest possible penalties.
Evan A. Hoffman is a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who represents clients all over Broward County, including Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Deerfield Beach, and several other nearby communities. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free consultation.