Drug Crimes Defense
In West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County and elsewhere throughout the state of Florida, there are a variety of different drugs, medications and narcotics that are considered “controlled substances.” Possession, distribution and sale of these controlled substances is restricted by both state and federal law. Violations of the laws related to controlled substances are considered to be drug crimes.
Penalties for drug crimes can be serious in Florida, depending on the nature of the crime. For minor violations, you may be able to get away with just probation- but you could still end up with a criminal record. For major drug crimes, you may face up to life in prison. It is, therefore, extremely important to consult with an experienced West Palm Beach drug crimes defense attorney for help when you have been accused of a drug offense. The knowledgeable professionals at Musca Law can provide you with advice on handling drug charges and can assist you during the investigation.
Drug Crimes & West Palm Beach Criminal Defense
The state of Florida establishes the rules for controlled substances, as well as the definitions of and penalties for drug crimes in Title XLVI Chapter 893: Drug Abuse Prevention and Control. Under this Act, a variety of different controlled drugs and narcotics are grouped into different categories. These include:
- Schedule I Drugs: Schedule I drugs are narcotics or medications that do not have any legitimate medical use or purpose. These drugs are used only for illegal narcotics abuse. Examples include LSD, cannabis, peyote, heroin and mescaline, among others. Most schedule I drugs are considered highly dangerous and addictive and any possession, use or distribution is forbidden.
- Schedule II Drugs: Schedule II drugs are dangerous and addictive drugs, but they are also drugs with some legitimate medical use. While they are legal when used for medical purposes, there are very strict controls on when and how they may be used, distributed and possessed. Examples include morphine, codeine, opium and oxycodone.
- Schedule III Drugs: Schedule III drugs are drugs with a medical purpose that are considered less dangerous than Schedule II drugs. These drugs are usually only moderately addictive or risky and include Benzphetamine, Tiletamine and most anabolic steroids.
- Schedule IV drugs are the least dangerous and addictive of the controlled substances. Schedule IV drugs also have a medical purpose. Some examples include clonazepam; clobazam; and halazzepam.
Drug Charges & West Palm Beach Criminal Defense
Being in possession of these and other drugs or medications on the controlled substances list can all give rise to charges of drug crimes. The specific charges you will face will depend in large part on what type of drug you have and how much of it is available to you. Having large amounts of any controlled substance sends the message that you intend to distribute it or to deal drugs, so the penalties become much much worse when you have larger quantities. For example:
- Possession of drug paraphernalia is the least serious of the drug offenses. You don’t actually have to have any drugs in your possession or under your control to be charged with this offense. Having tools that allow you to use drugs is sufficient. Examples of drug paraphernalia include kits to cook cocaine, or bongs and pipes used to smoke marijuana. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor charge and carries with it a potential penalty of up to a year of incarceration and a $1,000 fine.
- Possession of drugs/narcotics. This is the charge you face if you had a small amount of drugs that was for recreational use. The penalties for simple possession are going to vary depending on what kind of drug you had. For less than 20 grams of cannabis (marijuana), you face up to a year of incarceration and up to a $1,000 fine. You are also going to lose your driver’s license for two years. Cocaine, on the other hand, is a more serious drug and charges for simple possession of less than 28 grams of cocaine may result in incarceration for as long as five years.
- Intent to sell or distribute. If you have such a large amount of drugs under your control that it is unlikely that you were going to use them all for recreational purposes, you can be charged with intent to distribute or sell. You can also face this charge if there is other evidence of your intent to sell (such as marijuana bagged into little baggies or possession scales and other tools used by drug dealers). Of course, if you actually are caught selling or giving away drugs, this can give rise to a charge of intent to sell as well. Selling drugs is more serious than using them, so the penalties are going to be much more stringent. Under Florida law, for example, if you have 25 or more marijuana plants, you face second-degree felony charges and incarceration for up to 15 years.
- Drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is the most serious drug offense in Florida. Trafficking can be inferred simply by having extremely large amounts of a drug in your possession, even if there’s no actual proof that you moved the drug into or throughout the country or the state. For instance, if you are caught with anywhere from 25 to 2000 pounds of marijuana, a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years of incarceration and a $25,000 fine is imposed. The maximum penalty is 30 years of incarceration. With more serious drugs such as cocaine, things become even worse. Anyone in possession of more than 150 kilograms of cocaine, for example, can be found guilty of trafficking and will face a mandatory minimum penalty of incarceration for life.
Committing a drug crime near a school, public housing facility or other designated location can also serve as an aggravating factor and the penalties are thus more stringent for this offense as well. For instance, delivering drugs within 1000 feet of a school or other designated location can result in up to 15 years of incarceration as well as a fine up to $10,000.
The consequences of drug crimes are clearly serious, and it is important to take action when you are under investigation for a drug charge. Residents of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, Jupiter or other areas in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach should consider contacting the professional West Palm Beach drug crimes attorneys at Musca Law for advice on whether these or other defenses would work best for your situation. Musca Law represents clients accused of the following drug crimes:
- Prescription Drugs
- Meth Defense
- Drug Possession
- Drug Distribution
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Manufacturing
- Drug Smuggling
- Grow Houses
- Grow Houses/Landlord Defense
- Drug Charge Enhancements
- Drug Paraphernalia
Don’t gamble with your freedom, future and reputation. If you are facing drug charges in Palm Beach County, call the West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers at Musca Law for a free consultation. 239-277-5297. Phone answered 24/7.