Orlando Drug Possession Lawyer

As leading drug crimes attorneys in Central Florida, we’re here to help you navigate the complexities of your charges, whether they involve possession, distribution, or something else. Ready for aggressive legal advocacy? Schedule a consultation with our law firm today. 

Culturally, drug possession doesn’t carry the same stigma that it used to. Many Floridians use marijuana recreationally (even though legal consumption requires a medical prescription) and the general attitude surrounding other types of drug usage is much more forgiving than in previous decades. Florida drug laws, however, are not as forgiving. 

Despite the cultural shift around drug consumption, the State of Florida still takes drug crimes — even drug possession — very seriously. Those convicted of drug possession in Florida can face a range of harsh penalties and life-altering consequences, especially if they fail to secure aggressive, top-quality legal representation. 

If you’ve been charged with drug possession in Florida, your future is on the line. You need to contact an experienced Orlando drug possession lawyer as soon as possible so they can start building a rock-solid defense. Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far: Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense is here to help. 

This article will explain everything you need to know about drug possession charges in Florida, including possible penalties, common legal defenses, what a prosecutor must prove for conviction, the appeals process, and more. 

How Our Orlando Drug Possession Attorney Can Help You

Make no mistake: Few attorneys are as hard-working or dedicated to their clients as public defenders. However, most public defenders simply don’t have the time, resources, or energy needed to effectively defend against serious charges.

If you have been charged with drug possession in Orlando, your future hangs in the balance. You cannot afford to take chances on your legal representation, and when you choose Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense, you don’t have to. With years of experience, vast resources, and unparalleled expertise, our law firm has everything you need to survive this drug charge and come out the other side.

How Does Florida Define Illegal Drug Possession?

The State of Florida defines drug possession under Florida Statutes Section 893.13. According to this statute, it is unlawful for any person to possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription. There are two main types of possession recognized by Florida law: actual possession and constructive possession.

  • Actual possession. Actual possession refers to having physical control over the drug, whether it’s on your person, in your pocket, or within your immediate reach and control.
  • Constructive possession. Constructive possession means that the controlled substance isn’t on your person, but you have control over the place where it is located, and you have knowledge of its presence.

In summary, the two most important determinants of your drug possession charge are knowledge and control. The prosecutor must prove you knew where the illegal substance was and that you had direct control over it or over the area where it was found.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession in Florida?

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Florida assigns drug possession penalties according to the type and amount of the illegal substance, as well as other specific factors. Here are the penalties associated with possession-related drug offenses in Florida: 

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia. If you are accused of possessing drug paraphernalia — essentially any items used for the production, storage, or consumption of illegal drugs — you will likely be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Conviction is punishable by jail time up to one year and fines up to $1,000.
  • Possession of marijuana. If you are accused of possessing under 20 grams of cannabis without a valid prescription, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor; possession of more than 20 grams is charged as a third-degree felony. Conviction is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 or up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, respectively.
  • Unlawful possession of listed chemicals. This refers to having chemicals that are used to manufacture controlled substances, such as methamphetamine, without authorization. It is charged as a second-degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Delivery of a controlled substance. This charge involves the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer of controlled substances from one individual to another — regardless of whether compensation is involved. The penalties and specific charges depend on the amount and type of drug that is being transferred.

As you can see, even the most minor drug possession charges carry hefty penalties and consequences in Florida, and serious drug possession charges can be life-upending. The best way to ensure a drug possession charge doesn’t consume your future is by partnering with a criminal defense lawyer from the get-go.

What Is the Best Defense Against Drug Possession Charges?

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There is no one-size-fits-all legal defense strategy for drug possession charges. The best legal approach for you depends heavily on the specific details of your drug case and charges. That being said, there are several effective legal defenses we can help you explore, including the following:

  • Unlawful search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures. If law enforcement officers find illegal drugs in your possession while conducting an illegal search, such as a search without probable cause, their evidence is likely inadmissible.
  • Lack of possession. We may be able to argue that you did not possess the drugs, especially if they were found in a location you didn’t have control over or in a shared space.
  • Lack of knowledge. Our criminal defense lawyers can argue that you were unaware of the drug’s presence in your space, which is particularly effective in cases where the drugs were found in a shared space, such as in a car that others also drive.
  • Prescription drugs defense. If you had a valid prescription for the controlled substance at the time of the alleged offense, we can present the prescription itself to the court and request testimony from your prescribing physician.
  • Entrapment. If you were coerced or persuaded by police officers into the possession of a controlled substance, we can argue you are the victim of entrapment, especially if we can demonstrate that the idea of possessing drugs originated with law enforcement.
  • Chain of custody issues. Our criminal defense attorneys can challenge the chain of custody by pointing out gaps or inconsistencies in how the evidence was handled in your case, suggesting it may be unreliable and inadmissible.
  • Insufficient evidence. We may be able to argue that the prosecution’s evidence is insufficient to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, demonstrating this by questioning the reliability of witnesses, evidence, and the prosecutor’s conclusions.

Effectively mounting any legal defense requires a deep understanding of criminal defense law in Florida, including what the prosecutor must prove to secure a conviction. The best way to understand the full scope of your options is by contacting an attorney for legal advice.

What Must a Prosecutor Prove in a Drug Possession Case?

To secure a drug possession conviction, a prosecutor must establish several key elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The following are critical components of doing so:

  • The defendant had actual or constructive possession of the illegal drugs.
  • The defendant knew the controlled substance’s location, as well as the fact that it was a controlled substance.
  • The drug in the defendant’s possession is a controlled substance listed under Florida law, which can be proven by laboratory tests and expert testimony from forensic analysts.

In summary, securing a drug possession in Florida requires the prosecutor to prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: possession, knowledge, and that the drug is a controlled substance. It’s important to note that these elements only pertain to simple possession charges; charges of drug possession with intent to sell or distribute require additional proof.

Can I Appeal a Drug Possession Conviction?

Appealing a drug possession conviction in Florida means requesting a higher court to review a lower court’s initial ruling to determine if any legal errors affected the outcome of your case. Here are a few important considerations when appealing a drug possession conviction:

  • Grounds for appeal. You must have valid legal grounds for an appeal, such as procedural errors, insufficient evidence, ineffective legal counsel, misinterpretation of the law, or juror misconduct.
  • Appeal process steps. Successfully appealing a drug possession conviction requires going through several key steps. These include filing a notice of appeal, submitting a record of appeal to the appellate court for review, handling appellate briefs, scheduling oral arguments in front of the judge, and more.
  • Potential outcomes. Lastly, it’s important to understand possible outcomes: affirmation, reversal, remand, or modification. The appellate court could affirm the original conviction, or it could reverse it, resulting in your criminal charges being dropped or having to go through a new trial. The appellate court could also send it back to the lower court for further proceedings, or it may reduce or alter your sentence.

The outcome of your appeal isn’t just decided by your evidence — it is also heavily affected by the quality of your legal counsel, which is why it’s critical to work with a top-tier criminal defense attorney.

Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense: Leading Orlando Drug Crime Lawyers

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If you were charged with drug possession in Central Florida, your future hangs in the balance. In addition to prison time, probation requirements, and hefty fines, a conviction could result in a permanent criminal record, the loss of your constitutional rights, and restrictions on housing, educational opportunities, and employment. It could wreak havoc on your social, personal, and professional relationships, forever altering your life’s trajectory.

At the end of the day, the stakes are simply too high to choose any legal representation but the best. Luckily, getting started with Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense is easy: Call our law office or reach out online to schedule an appointment with an aggressive defense lawyer today.

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In need of a strong defense? Don’t face your charges alone. Get the legal support you need call today or email us. Your defense starts here.