Possession of Controlled Substances (Drugs)


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against Drug Possession allegations

SLG Law has experienced drug possession defense attorneys who have experience handling these type of cases.  It is not uncommon for people with no prior record to be arrested for possession of drugs (controlled substances).  A drug possession conviction can result in a driver's license suspension, felony conviction, jail or prison, loss of government benefits, loss of employment, and many other consequences.  Many times, a drug possession case can be diverted from the court system. 

What is drug possession?

Possession of a Controlled Substance is defined in Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a). In order for the State to prove you are guilty of drug possession, they must prove:

1.   You possessed a certain substance,

2.   The substance was [a specific controlled substance],

3.   You had knowledge of the presence of the substance.   



What is Actual Possession, Constructive Possession & Joint Possession?

To "possess" means to have personal charge or or exercise the right of ownership, management, or control over the thing possessed. 

Possession may be actual, constructive, and/or joint.


Actual possession means:
The controlled substance is in the hand of or on the person, or

The controlled substance is in a container in the hand of or on the person, or

The controlled substance is so close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the person.

Constructive possession means:
the controlled substance is in a place over which you have control, or in which you have concealed it. 

In order to establish constructive possession of a controlled substance if the controlled substance is in a place over which you do not have control, the State must prove you
1)   have control over the controlled substance, and

2)   have knowledge that the controlled substance was within your presence. 


Joint possession means:
two or more person may jointly possess an article, exercising control over it. 

If a person has exclusive possession of a controlled substance, knowledge of its presence may be inferred or assumed. 

Many people mistakenly believe that they have to be caught with the drug on them to be prosecuted for Drug Possession. This is incorrect.  Because it is a crime to constructively possess a drug in the State of Florida, you can be convicted of Possession even if you never actually possessed the drug, as long as you have control over the controlled substance.  The possession laws in Florida are very broad. 
What are the potential consequences of a drug possession conviction?

Possession of most drugs is a felony.  Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail.  

Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, Possession of Cocaine, Heroin, Prescription drugs without a prescription are all third degree felonies, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.


They caught me with a drug on me.  I've never been in trouble before. 
Am I going to go to jail and have this on my record?


Even if the evidence against you is strong, you may be able to obtain pretrial diversion if you have no or minimal record.  Pretrial diversion is a program offered by the State Attorney's Office where you enter into an agreement where you agree to do certain things (for example, community service, pay a fine, go to a class) and they agree to drop the charges if you successfully complete the program. You may be able to get that arrest expunged, as well. 

Even if you are not eligible for pretrial diversion, you may be able to enter into a Drug Court, or obtain drug offender probation.  Most courts, and state attorneys offices, have the same goal to keep first time offenders out of jail and help them maintain their record.  However, each case is different and certain aggregators or factors could mean that you are facing jail or prison. 


What are the possible defenses to a drug possession charge?

There are many defenses to drug possession charges.  Lack of evidence is often an issue.  Do they have fingerprints or DNA on the package the drug came in.  Search and seizure issues arise.  Did the police get a search warrant?  If you consented to a search, was it valid?  Were you in possession of the drug? Can they prove that it is a controlled substance?  Each case is different and requires thorough analysis of the facts and law to determine the best defense. 


If you have been arrested for drug possession or are under investigation, it is critical that you contact a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

Call Us Now!
 

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)
 407-228-2019 (Orlando)
or contact us online.

Contact Us 24/7 Se habla Español