Stroleny Law, P.A. Protects the Rights of Individuals Accused of Drug Possession in Miami and the Surrounding Areas
There are many types of drug offenses, and many carry serious consequences that can last a lifetime. Drug trafficking offenses are subject to mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines under both state and federal law. With so much emphasis on lengthy sentences and trafficking offenses, it can be easy to overlook charges of “simple possession” (without the intent to sell or distribute) of drugs. It is, however, important to understand these charges if you or a loved one is being investigated for such a crime.
The experienced criminal defense attorney of Stroleny Law, P.A. has years of experience defending drug cases in the state and federal courts across southern Florida. He fights hard to prevent illegally obtained evidence from being used at trial, suppress illegal confessions, and even dismiss charges that are not supported by the evidence. He protects his clients’ constitutional rights at every step of a criminal investigation, charging and pretrial court matters, at trial, and – when necessary – on appeal. Call (305) 615-1285 to schedule your free phone consultation.
The Legal Definition of Drug Possession
Drug possession in Florida is governed by Section 893.13 of the Florida Statutes. Most possession offenses are felonies, which are classified by degree – first, second, or third – based upon the type and amount of the drug involved. Section 893.13(6)(b) makes an exception for the possession of twenty grams or less of cannabis, which is a first-degree misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges are also available for specified small amounts of Schedule V controlled substances listed in Section 893.03(5). Examples include codeine, ethylmorphine, opium, and assorted stimulants.
Section 893.13 has other important provisions related to the possession of controlled substances. For example, Section 893.13(6)(a) specifies that a person may not be in possession of a controlled substance unless it 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. This provides an exception for controlled substances that are lawfully obtained with a valid prescription. Medications such as codeine, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, Percocet, and other pain relievers fit this exception so long as the patient holds a valid prescription for the full amount of medication in his or her possession.
It is also important to understand the difference between actual and constructive possession. Actual possession occurs when the drug is found on the suspect’s person. Constructive possession occurs when the defendant exercised care, custody, control or management of the drug. Our criminal defense lawyer in Miami raises important legal issues when drugs are found in a vehicle or home. Did anyone else have access to that area? What evidence is there that the defendant, and not someone else, was in fact in charge of the drugs? If someone testifies against the defendant, do they have a motive to lie? Could they be testifying to the defendant’s possession in order to prevent charges from being filed against themselves? In many cases, these become important questions for the jury to decide. In any event, the prosecution must ultimately prove that it was the defendant – and not someone else – who had constructive possession of the drugs.
The Many Types of Drug Paraphernalia
It is also illegal to possess drug paraphernalia. Section 893.145 of the Florida Statutes defines this as all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance. Prohibited items include (but are not limited to): kits used in the planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived; isomerization devices used for increasing the potency of any plant which is a controlled substance; testing equipment; scales and balances; diluents and adulterants; separation gins and sifters used for cleaning or refining cannabis; blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used for compounding controlled substances; capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used for packaging small quantities of controlled substances; containers and other objects used for storing, concealing, or transporting controlled substances; hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects used for injecting controlled substances into the human body.
The Section also contains a blanket prohibition on objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled substances (such water pipes, carburetion tubes and devices, smoking and carburetion masks, roach clips, miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials, chamber pipes, carburetor pipes, electric pipes, air-driven pipes, chillums, bongs, ice pipes or chillers, whip-its, tanks, balloons, hose or tubes, 2-liter-type soda bottles, and duct tape. Section 893.147 of the Florida Statutes goes on to prohibit items used (1) to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance; or (2) to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance. Anyone who uses or possesses such paraphernalia is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The Section also provides criminal penalties for manufacturing or delivering paraphernalia (a third-degree felony) and delivery of drug paraphernalia to a minor under the age of eighteen (which is a second-degree felony).
Protect Your Legal Rights – Call an Experienced Miami Drug Attorney Today
The consequences of a drug conviction can last a lifetime. Lengthy prison terms and restricted civil rights are just some of the serious consequences a person faces when he or she is charged with possession of drugs. Give yourself the most legal protection possible by consulting with an experienced Miami drug attorney as soon as possible. The experienced criminal defense attorney of Stroleny Law, P.A. can help protect your constitutional rights at all stages of criminal investigations, court case proceedings, and post-conviction matters. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. You can also contact him through the online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.