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Drug Charges

Drug Charges

If you have been charged with a drug offense, it can be a frightening and possibly life-altering experience. The charges can carry several criminal punishments, including jail time or steep fines. In addition, the charges can potentially affect your ability to find a job or housing.

Most drug charges are either state felonies or misdemeanors, but the charges also are federal offenses, which often have very harsh penalties. If charged by the U.S. government with certain quantities, a person may face mandatory minimum sentences and millions of dollars in fines.

There may be ways to reduce your drug charges or have them dropped entirely. For example, if the arresting officer conducted an illegal search and seizure of your home or person, the evidence could be found inadmissible. Your Tallahassee drug defense lawyer may be able to fight to have your drug charges dismissed or reduced.

Drug Defense Attorney in Tallahassee

Hiring an experienced drug attorney in Tallahassee is extremely important if you have been charged with a Florida drug offense. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have knowledge of Florida’s drug laws and have successfully defended various drug charges.

Don Pumphrey and the firm have years of experience representing those facing misdemeanor drug charges, felony drug charges and even federal drug offenses. They are dedicated to defending the rights of clients, and they will fight to get the best possible outcome in your case.

Pumphrey Law represents adults and juveniles facing charges for drug crimes in Tallahassee, Bristol, Monticello, Midway, Quincy and nearby areas. Call (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your defense options during an open and free consultation with our legal team.


Florida Drug Crime Information Center


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Potential Drug Charges

Drug charges in Florida can include a variety of offenses, ranging from simple misdemeanors to serious felonies. Federal felony offenses can carry harsher penalties. Most state drug offenses are listed in the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act within the Florida Statutes § 893.13. Accusations could include charges for:

Possession of a Controlled Substance: This charge includes either actual or constructive possession of an illegal or prohibited substance. The charge is a serious offense and could lead to jail time, fines or both, depending on the schedule of the drug possessed.

Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs: This includes instances of actual or constructive possession of prescription drugs without a prescription or in an amount in excess of your prescription. Without sufficient legal justification, such as a prescription from a valid doctor, possession could result in criminal charges.

Possession with Intent to Sell: Under Florida law, this offense is defined as actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance or prescription pills in such an amount to indicate the intent to sell or distribute to someone. A variety of evidence can be used to prove intent to sell, including baggies, scales and the amount possessed.

Drug Trafficking: The term “trafficking” often refers to large-scale operations relating to the manufacturing, transportation and sale of narcotics. This criminal offense can happen across state or national borders or throughout the state. It can be charged as a federal offense, a Florida state offense or both.

Marijuana Possession: In the state, actual or constructive possession of any amount of marijuana is highly illegal, despite its growing acceptance nationwide. The charge can be simple possession or felony possession, depending on the amount.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: This is another common drug-related offense in Florida. In many situations involving possession of a controlled substance, related paraphernalia such as bongs, pipes, and needles can be found. This also can be a criminal offense.

Trafficking Prescription Drugs, which is the sale and distribution of prescription drugs within the state of Florida, whether online or through other means can bring serious criminal consequences. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are here to help if you have been charged with this crime. Additionally, the firm also works with those accused of Drug Manufacturing, which is defined as the producing or growing controlled substances or illegal drugs in the state of Florida


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Florida's Drug Schedule

Drugs in Florida are classified into various schedules, from Schedule I to Schedule V. The drugs are divided based on the potential for abuse, medical use and the results of abuse, according to Florida Statutes § 893.03.Schedule I drugs typically have the most serious penalties, whereas Schedule V drugs very rarely carry harsh punishments.


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Names and Examples of Controlled Substances in Florida

Even if someone is familiar with the Florida laws and regulations, it can be difficult to associate drug slang or brand names with the different categories of banned substances. The following lists a few different names and brands:


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Penalties for Drug Possesion Charges in Florida

Florida Statute § 893.13 describes different criminal penalties for various drug charges. Depending on the charge and the amount of drugs involved, penalties can range from misdemeanors to first-degree felonies.

Punishment can be wide-ranging, however; the mere possession of any controlled substance other than marijuana is a felony in Florida, with a prison sentence of up to five years. Your driver's license also may also be suspended, and you will have a permanent criminal record.

If you are convicted of a state drug crime, the penalty will depend upon the charge:

Other penalties may include substance abuse treatment, random drug testing, community service requirements, negative effects on employment or military status, probation, parole and a permanent criminal record.

Also, according to Florida Statutes § 322.055, any drug conviction can result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license for two years, or until the offender has been evaluated and completed drug treatment, if necessary, whether or not the charge was driving related.

Although a judge may reinstate an offender’s license for employment purposes, their license must be suspended for at least six months. If you are caught driving while your license is suspended, you could face additional penalties. A drug lawyer in Tallahassee can help to combat the penalties.


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Options If You Have Been Charged With a Drug Offense

Your Florida Panhandle criminal defense attorney may be able to find a defense to your charge, or other individual constitutional protections that may have been violated in order to have your charge dismissed or reduced. The decisions your attorney will advise you to make will depend on the circumstances in your particular case, prior convictions and other extenuating factors.

Your constitutional rights may have been violated if the officers conducted an unreasonable search and seizure. If a search of your home, car or person was illegally conducted by the police, your attorney may be able to file a motion to suppress.

A motion to suppress can be used if an illegal search resulted in evidence against you. Anything found in an illegal search is inadmissible, and a motion to suppress would preclude the prosecution from using this evidence against you. If the motion to suppress is successful, there may no longer be evidence against you, which could result in a dismissal of the charges.

The Constitution also offers protection against self-incrimination. If information was obtained from you in violation of this right, what you disclosed cannot be used against you by the prosecution. This frequently occurs where an officer fails to read someone his or her Miranda Warnings. If the information was necessary to the prosecution’s case, then your drug charges could be dismissed.

In possession cases, whether the charges are dismissed or reduced can heavily depend on the definition of possession in Florida, and whether possession was actual or constructive. Actual possession means the drug was actually on your body or person. Constructive possession involves knowing of the presence of the drugs, that they were illicit and having control or dominion over the drugs.

Your Tallahassee criminal attorney can file a motion to dismiss on your behalf prior to trial if, for example, there is not enough evidence to bring the drug charges against you.

Suppose an officer searches a car and finds a bag of marijuana on the floor. Both the driver and passenger refuse to answer any questions and deny knowing the controlled substance was in the car, but both are charged with possession of a controlled substance. Because neither were in actual or constructive possession, there is not enough evidence for a charge of possession of a controlled substance. In this situation, your attorney could file a motion to dismiss.

If an officer induced you into a drug crime you would not typically commit, your attorney can utilize an entrapment defense. Entrapment occurs if someone is persuaded to participate in criminal conduct by a law enforcement official or agent they would not have normally engaged in, and they committed the crime as a result of the inducement.


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Drug Resources

Students for Sensible Drug Policy – SSDP is an international student organization dedicated to improving policies regarding drugs and minimizing the negative impact of drugs and the War on Drugs on students and youth.

Florida State University Chapter
Tallahassee, Florida
ssdpfsu@gmail.com

Rachel Hoffman - A Drug War Tragedy - Article written by NORML Deputy Director, Paul Armentano, published by Cannabis Culture issue # 72 in Fall 2008. On May 7, 2008, 23-year-old Florida State University student, Rachel Hoffman, was killed in a botched police sting operation while working as a confidential informant for the Tallahassee Police Department. Rachel was busted for marijuana possession, threatened into becoming a police informant, then murdered during a bungled drug sting. After being threatened with jail time for pot and agreeing to work for authorities, police officers gave Rachel $13,000 in marked bills and arranged a buy of cocaine, ecstasy and a handgun. She was killed with the weapon she was supposed to buy and robbed of the police money.

Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association – FADAA is a non-profit organization representing drug abuse and treatment centers throughout Florida.

FADAA Headquarters
2868 Mahan Drive, Suite 1
Tallahassee, Florida 32308
(850) 878-2196

Narcotics Anonymous – NA is a non-profit organization designed for people who have a drug addiction to meet and support each other in order to stay drug-free. The website contains more information and where local meetings are held.

Drug Enforcement Administration – A national government agency seeking to enforce the United State’s laws and regulations regarding controlled substances.

Federal Drug Penalties – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s page about federal penalties for possessing, trafficking and distributing controlled substances.

Office of National Drug Control Policy – This national government office’s goal is to establish policies, priorities and objectives of the Nation's anti-drug efforts and programs.


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Finding A Tallahassee Drug Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a drug offense in Leon County, contact Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular situation. There may be defenses to your charge, and finding an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee who is familiar with Florida drug laws might be your best option to avoid severe punishment.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law will aggressively fight for your defense, and may be able to reduce your charges or have them dismissed. Contact us at (850) 681-7777 for a consultation.

553 E. Tennessee St.
Tallahassee, FL 32308

850-681-7777 (phone)

850-681-7518 (fax)

888-384-3661 (toll free)

The information provided on this site is for general information purposes only. The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your own individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Use of this website or submission of an online form, does not create an attorney-client relationship.

The hiring of a criminal defense attorney in Leon County or surrounding areas is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements, informational videos, a blog, or an internet website. Before you decide which attorney to hire for your case, ask us to send you free additional written information about our qualifications and experience. Contact us today for more information.

Principal office located at: 553 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee, FL 32308