If someone is facing a drug possession charge in Florida, he or she has reason to worry. The penalties can be severe and life changing. Understanding some common defense tactics may help prepare for court.
According to FindLaw, drug possession refers to the custody of a controlled substance with the intent for personal use. The list of these substances includes illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroine and marijuana, as well as things such as spice and bath salts. In order to prove possession, a prosecutor must show three things, and they include:
- The substance is illegal based on the state’s law
- The defendant had control of the illegal substance
- The defendant knew about the presence of the drug
Most drug possession charges are felonies, although someone holding up to 20 grams of marijuana faces a misdemeanor charge. For a misdemeanor, the penalties include court costs and jail time of up to one year. Felony penalties include prison time and fines. For a first-degree felony, the judge may order the defendant to serve up to 30 years in prison and pay fines up to $250,000.
Some common defense tactics attorneys use include police entrapment, the defendant did not know it was an illegal substance and the defendant had a prescription for the substance. For marijuana cases, a medical license can also be a good defense
According to the Legal Information Institute, another defense is to argue unlawful search and seizure. An Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, this protects people from violation of privacy. Many searches that do not have a warrant are illegal, as are those that use excessive force. A violation of the 4th Amendment can be challenging to prove and fight, so hiring a competent attorney is imperative.