What are the Legal Consequences of Giving Drugs to a Minor?

November 11, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drug Charges

Florida has strict laws on controlled substances. There are varying criminal charges for people who get caught with the possession, intent to sell, or manufacturing of an illicit substance. While the penalties are harsh when selling to people over the age of 18, Florida enhances the possible punishment when selling to minors.

This article will provide information on delivering drug paraphernalia to a minor, drug-free zones in Florida, and will give an example case of what can result from providing a minor with drugs.

Delivering Drug Paraphernalia to a Minor

Florida Statute section 893.147 explains that it is unlawful for any individual to possess, deliver, or manufacture drug paraphernalia with the intent to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, produce, or inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body.

Any person who violates this subsection of the law and either manufactures or delivers drug paraphernalia can be charged with a third-degree felony in Florida. A third-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

If the individual has delivered drug paraphernalia to a minor, the charges become more severe. Section 893.147(3)(a) states that any person over the age of 18 who delivers drug paraphernalia to a minor under the age of 18 can be charged with a second-degree felony in Florida. A second-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to fifteen years in prison.

Even just helping a minor to inject themselves by giving or selling them hypodermic syringes, needles, or other objects intended to inject substances into the human body is unlawful in Florida. Under Section 893.147(3)(b) a person can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree which is punishable by up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

Drug-Free Zones in Florida

Florida refers to specifically designated areas as “drug-free zones.” While this does not permit illicit substances outside of the drug-free zones, it does mean that an individual caught possessing or intending to sell within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zone can have the penalties for their criminal charge enhanced.

According to Florida Statute section 893.13, a person cannot sell, produce, or possess a controlled substance in any of the following designated drug-free zones:

  • Any childcare facility or a public or private elementary, middle, or high school during the hours of 6 am and midnight
  • Any college—public, government, or private, or any other post-secondary institution
  • A county or state municipal park
  • A public recreational facility
  • Any church or place where a religious organization performs religious services
  • Any public housing facility
  • An assisted living facility

If an individual is charged with the possession, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of any of the above spaces, the penalties for the criminal charge are enhanced. Drug charges can range from a first-degree misdemeanor to a second-degree felony depending on the substance and its quantity. However, if the offense was committed within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zone, then the penalties for the offense will be ranked one degree higher than the original charge.

For more information on specific drug charges and their penalties, check out our page here.

Example Case

On July 29th, 2022, the Sarasota County Sheriffs (SCSO) responded to a call regarding a young juvenile girl who was going in and out of consciousness. The paramedics evaluated the victim and determined that she was feeling the side effects from psychedelics—specifically LSD or “acid.”

The incident prompted SCSO to open an investigation into where the drugs came from and how they reached an 11-year-old minor. Police used digital evidence to identify 19-year-old Gabriel Derylak as the suspect in the case.

Investigators found messages between the suspect and the minor. The conversation between Derylak and the girl indicated that the suspect drove to the 11-year-old’s house and delivered marijuana edibles and seven tabs of LSD.

According to the arrest report, police seized the following illicit substances from Derylak’s home during the search through his apartment:

  • 163 prescription pills
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • 125 grams of mushrooms
  • THC edibles
  • THC cartridges
  • Butane hash oil
  • Drug sales paraphernalia

The authorities arrested Derylak in late October and took him into custody where his bond was placed at $10,500. He currently faces charges of sale of a controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance to a person under 18, and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. The items found in Derylak’s home are also being tested in a Drug Laboratory, which could lead to additional charges.

Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communications Device

Florida Statute section 934.215 defines the unlawful use of a two-way communications device as when an individual uses a two-way communication device used for the purpose of committing or attempting to commit a felony. A “two-way communication device” can include any type of portable two-way wireless devices, such as a cell phone, laptop, tablet, or computer.

A person who violates this law can be charged with a third-degree felony in Florida. A third-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

This type of charge is common in drug and sexually-motivated crimes. This is especially true in the event of a sting operation with undercover officers. If the defendant has used any type of two-way communication device to initiate a meet-up, police can arrest and charge them with unlawful use of a two-way device once they show up.

It is important to seek out the legal help of a skilled defense attorney if you or someone you know has been accused of violating any of the above laws.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Criminal charges involving a minor have even more severe consequences than a charge involving someone over the age of 18. If you or someone you love has been accused of delivering drugs to a minor, it is imperative that you reach out to an Florida criminal defense attorney in your area.

Don Pumphrey and his team represent clients across the state for various charges. We will work with you to build a defense for your case and gain your freedom. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message for a free consultation.

Written by Karissa Key

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