Drug possession charges should be taken very seriously in Brevard County because of the state’s strict drug laws. If you have been charged with drug possession in Melbourne, Rockledge, or anywhere in Brevard County, you are going to want the best defense possible, and that’s exactly what we will provide at the Law Office of James Kontos.
Drug possession charges can be frightening, but they don’t have to affect your future. A Brevard County attorney experienced with Florida drug laws can, in many cases, have these types of charges reduced, or even dismissed. You should never accept any plea deals offered by the prosecution without seeking the advice of an attorney.
Th eLaw Office of James Kontos is committed to making sure each of their clients gets the best defense possible. In your introductory FREE CONSULTATION, we will examine your case with you, explore all of your defense options, and explain all possible penalties that you may be facing.
Florida’s drug laws can be placed into two broad categories: possession and manufacture or distribution. In general, the penalties for possessing a controlled substance are less harsh than the penalties for growing or producing this substance or selling it to someone else.
“Bath salts” and “spice” were both recently added to the state’s list of controlled substances, joining hard drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, barbiturates, ecstasy, and amphetamines. Florida law also criminalizes the possession of most prescription drugs when possessed by someone other than the person to whom they were prescribed.
In part because the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal when recommended by a licensed physician, the simple possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor. Possession of other controlled substances is generally a felony.
Prosecutors will usually choose to elevate a simple possession charge to “possession with intent to sell” when a defendant is caught with a larger amount of drugs than would normally be kept for their personal use. In other cases, defendants who possess packaging materials and large amounts of cash, or whose text messages reveal communication with prospective customers, may be subject to this charge even if the amount of drugs in their possession is a relatively small one.
Drug manufacture can be a different offense entirely. Proving this claim will require prosecutors to show that an accused defendant purchased or possessed precursors to drug manufacture, illegally grew cannabis, or took other conscious steps to create a controlled substance, whether for personal use or with the intent to sell.
Often, a series of seemingly innocuous events (like purchasing large quantities of pseudoephedrine or certain farm chemicals), when taken together, can provide the probable cause needed for a search warrant. Any evidence seized pursuant to this warrant can then be used to support subsequent drug charges.
Types of Drug Charges that We Defend:
We are experienced in defending the following Brevard County Drug Charges:
Marijuana possession (without a prescription and without the intent to sell) is usually a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000.
Other drug crimes can range from a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
First-degree felony drug charges usually involve possession or possession of a relatively small amount with the intent to sell. Individuals caught with less than 28 grams (or around one ounce) of cocaine, less than 10 grams of MDMA or ecstasy, less than 1 gram of LSD, or up to 4 grams of heroin or other opiates may be subject to first-degree felony charges.
Meanwhile, those with more than 25 pounds of non-medical marijuana or more than the third-degree felony limits of other controlled substances may be charged with a first-degree felony. In the vast majority of cases, possession of this amount of drugs indicates an intent to sell and can be prosecuted as such.
In order to prove a defendant guilty of a charge involving a controlled substance, prosecutors must establish three factors beyond a reasonable doubt:
Without one of these three essential factors, the claim will fail. For instance, if you’re found in possession of a controlled substance but can show that you didn’t have knowledge of the substance (for example, if it was found in your vehicle after you lent it to a friend), you may not have the requisite knowledge for a conviction. By that same token, someone who is riding in a vehicle in which controlled substances are found but who had no control over the drug, even if they had knowledge of it, may not be found guilty.
While the penalties for Florida drug charges can be severe, a conviction isn’t a given. There are several potential defenses that an experienced lawyer could present for you, including:
Occasionally, an individual may come into possession of a controlled substance without even realizing it. Without the “knowledge” component of possession, a conviction cannot stand.
Physicians can legally prescribe quite a few controlled substances, including opiates and many types of amphetamines. As long as you have a valid prescription for a certain drug, you can’t be prosecuted for possessing it.
Entrapment, Fourth Amendment search and seizure violations, and other situations that infringe upon your Constitutional rights may taint any evidence seized. If a police officer is found to have violated your rights while seeking or executing a search warrant (or by performing a warrantless search), any evidence that is found during this search may be inadmissible in a later court proceeding.
Other defenses may be available depending on the specific facts of your case. An experienced defense attorney can work with you to determine which of these defenses are most viable and should be pursued.
Will I automatically go to jail if I’m facing drug charges in Florida?
Not necessarily! There are ways to have drug charges reduced or even dismissed, depending on the circumstances. Other possible penalties may include entering a substance abuse treatment program, community service, probation or random drug testing.
Can I still be charged if I didn’t give the officer permission to search my car?
Without permission or a warrant, nothing found in your vehicle can be used against you. An experienced Melbourne defense attorney will fight the charges on grounds that your constitutional rights were violated and have the charges dismissed.
What is a Pretrial Intervention Program, and is it an option for my Florida drug charges?
In some cases, a person facing a charge of possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, who has little to no criminal history, may qualify for a Pretrial Intervention Program. In this case, you may be allowed to enroll in the program, which will require the completion of certain requirements within a specified period of time. Upon successful completion, your charges with be dropped and the case dismissed.
Can I be charged for only possessing drug paraphernalia, but no actual drugs?
According to Florida law, possession of drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor. According to the Florida Statute, drug paraphernalia is defined 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, compounding, 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”. Possible penalties for a possession of drug paraphernalia could include jail time or probation, so it’s important to take this charge seriously.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Florida Drug Charge?
A conviction on a Florida drug offense can have serious consequences. Hiring an attorney that is experienced with Brevard County drug charges can make all the difference in maintaining your freedom and keeping your record clean. Call Kontos Law Firm for a FREE case evaluation today! Our experienced legal counselors will review your case and discuss all of your options with you.