Tallahassee, Florida has one of highest crime rates in the state of Florida. A substantial portion of these criminal contacts arise because of suspicion of drug trafficking, manufacture or possession. Unfortunately, many people have contact with the criminal justice system for the very first time due to an allegation of drug charges in Tallahassee. The process can be very complicated, and it’s important to address it head on with a Tallahassee criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights and address all potential defenses pertinent to your case.
Defenses to Drug Charges
Constitutional Challenge – Often there are issues with traffic stops, searches, warrants, ect. Every process of an investigation affords the individual contacted with rights, and if those rights have been violated evidence can often be suppressed (not included). This results in lower sentences or even a dismissal.
Valid Prescription – for those controlled substances for which a prescription is available from a medical doctor, that is a defense to the charges.
Constructive Possession – A person in Tallahassee can be charged even if not physically in control of a substance if they 1) have dominion and control, 2) know the drugs are there, and 3) knew the drugs were illegal. If controlled substances are simply found near someone, a possible defense is that constructive control did not exist.
Factual Defense – This consists of a wide array of defenses attacking the actual facts of the case, such as identity or knowledge of the possession by the defendant. It’s going to depend substantially on what type of charge a person is charged with.
Potential Drug Charges
Drug charges in Tallahassee cover a wide range of crimes, some misdemeanors, and some felonies. There are also a wide array of drug charges which can be filed at the federal level as well, carrying potentially far more severe penalties. carry harsher penalties. Some of the most common drug offenses in Tallahassee are:
Possession of a Controlled Substance
This is pretty self-explanatory, possession of a substance which is controlled in the state of Florida can be found guilty of this charge, unless a valid defense is correctly utilized. This charge is usually a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Certain drugs, classified as schedule 5, result in a second-degree misdemeanor charge, with up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Possession with Intent to Sell
Similar to the above charge, but in an amount indicating intent to sell or distribute to someone. The severity of the charge is based on the type of controlled substance, but can vary from a first-degree misdemeanor (up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000) to a second degree felony (up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000)
“Trafficking” is large-scale manufacturing, transportation, or sale of a controlled substance which can be charged as severely as a first-degree felony, carrying up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The maximum weights for some of the most common are:
Drug offenses in Tallahassee have the standard ramifications: jail, fine, probation, ect.. There are also additional penalties faced by those who are convicted or plead to drug offenses.
Under Florida Statutes § 322.055, offenders must lose their driving privilege for at least a year. Evaluation for drug abuse and subsequent treatment must be undergone before the ability to drive will be restored.
Treatment can often become part of the original sentence as well, and/or terms of probation.
Random drug testing through monitored sobriety
Regular probation meetings
Employment and/or enrollment in school
Florida’s Drug Schedule
Drugs in Tallahassee are classified by schedules which go from I to V. The lower a schedule, the higher the danger and the ramifications are. The classification is based on the potential for abuse, medical use and the results of abuse, according to Florida Statutes § 893.03.
Schedule I: “has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and in its use under medical supervision does not meet accepted safety standards”
Schedule II: “has a high potential for abuse and has a currently accepted but severely restricted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
Schedule III: “has a potential for abuse less than the substances contained in Schedules I and II and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence or, in the case of anabolic steroids, may lead to physical damage.”
Schedule IV: “has a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule III and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule III.”
Schedule V: “A substance, compound, mixture, or preparation of a substance in Schedule V has a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule IV and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of such compound, mixture, or preparation may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule IV.”
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.