How are Florida Drug Laws Organized?
When you take one look at the dozens of provisions that fall under Florida’s Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, you really do not wonder why there is so much confusion about state drug laws. It is difficult to make sense of them if you do not have a legal background, yet it is crucial to have a firm grasp on the statutory landscape to:
- Avoid violating the law; and
- Fight the charges if you were arrested.
Fortunately, you can rely on a Fort Lauderdale drug crimes lawyer to handle legal strategy and obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Still, it may be easier to understand Florida drug laws when you know how the statutes are organized. In general, they focus on two factors: The type and amount of controlled substance involved and your actions in relation to them.
- Florida’s Drug Schedule System: The type and amount of the controlled substance are important because Florida follows federal law in classifying drugs according to schedules. The scale of I to V runs from least to more serious charges, though the implications are severe for all schedules:
- Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and no usage that is accepted by the medical community.
- For Schedules II through IV, the potential for abuse is typically lower; however, the controlled substances in these classes typically ARE used by medical professionals in providing treatment. These drugs are highly restricted because of the potential for physical and/or psychological dependence, so they are usually only available by prescription.
- Schedule V controlled substances have a low potential for abuse and are currently used as treatment for medical conditions. Many of these drugs are available over-the-counter.
- Acts That Violate Florida Drug Laws: The second aspect of understanding Florida drug laws is what types of activity are prohibited with respect to any controlled substance appearing on Schedules I through V. Possession of marijuana and certain Schedule V drugs is a misdemeanor, but most other drugs can lead to felony charges. For example:
- You could be arrested for Possession with Intent to Sell If you have a higher amount of drugs on your person, since it evidences that you planned a transaction instead of personal use.
- Drug Trafficking is a crime that involves a large-scale, comprehensive scheme to produce, manufacture, transport, or sell a controlled substance. The most severe cases involve First Degree Felony charges, for which you could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, though it is usually an additional count officials tack on to the more serious drug offenses.
A South Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Will Help Fight the Charges
This overview may be valuable in helping you understand how Florida drug laws are organized, but it will not be sufficient for fighting the charges if you were arrested. Instead of putting your rights at risk, it is wise to trust an experienced lawyer to develop a solid legal strategy. To learn how our team can assist, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik to set up a consultation at our offices in Fort Lauderdale, FL.