Florida Has Some of the Strictest Drug Laws in the Country
You Need a Drug Possession Charge Lawyer in Tampa to Avoid Prison Time
Florida drug abuse and control statutes are designed to punish any use, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances. These statutes are so harsh that just the simple possession of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor, even if it is only small quantities of the substance. Possession of all other controlled substances is classified as a felony.
Florida also punishes you for possessing chemicals that can be used to manufacture drugs or for possessing paraphernalia that could be used to manufacture, cultivate, or package controlled substances. The latter is a misdemeanor, but the former is a felony. Finally, Florida also has laws against possessing controlled substances with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver those substances. Except for Schedule V drugs, possession with intent is a felony charge.
Tampa prosecutors will often try to charge you with the highest charge possible after you are arrested for drug charges.
This is because they can use those higher charges as leverage to get you to plead guilty to lesser charges that are still felonies. Your Tampa drug possession charge lawyer from Taracks & Associates won’t let them get away with that. We will get any unreasonable charges dismissed and then fight to minimize the consequences of any remaining charges.
Why Do Clients Choose Taracks & Associates for Drug Possession Charges in Tampa?
At Taracks & Associates, we have been practicing criminal defense law in Tampa for over 30 years. Barry Taracks, the founder of our law firm, was a prosecutor for three years before becoming a defense attorney. His time in the prosecutor’s office gives him a unique insight into the methods of the prosecution. This allows him to make better deals and better defend our clients.
You can see the effect of this insight by looking at our decades of results. Our drug possession charge lawyers have successfully gotten drug charges reduced, dropped, and dismissed. We have negotiated for the shortest possible sentence and gotten evidence thrown out due to illegal searches. We understand the Tampa criminal justice system, and we know how to use it to defend the rights of our clients.
If you are looking for a drug possession lawyer in Tampa, Taracks & Associates has the experience and record of success you are looking for. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
Chemicals Used to Manufacture Drugs
While most people know the names of drugs like ecstasy or crystal meth, which are illegal to possess, few can identify the chemicals that are used to manufacture drugs. Despite the fact that some of these chemicals have a legal use, they are all controlled substances that are illegal to possess in Florida without a license. These chemicals include:
- Acetic anhydride
- Benzyl chloride
- Diethyl ether
- Sodium permanganate
If you have a license to legally possess these chemicals, that is an affirmative defense against possession charges. But even if you don’t, our drug possession lawyer will attempt to prove that you possessed the chemicals for purposes other than drug manufacture, which can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced.
Penalties for Drug-Related Offenses
How Many Years of Prison Do You Face for a Tampa Drug Possession Charge?
There are a lot of factors that determine how much prison time you could be punished with for a conviction in a drug or drug-related case. If you are charged with misdemeanors (mostly marijuana and drug paraphernalia cases), punishment should be limited to less than a year of jail time, with a good chance of sentences being concurrent. For felonies, you will usually be facing up to 15 years in prison, depending on the severity of the charges.
The majority of drug possession offenses are classified as either second-degree felonies or third-degree felonies. The former has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and the latter has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
But maximum sentences don’t tell the whole story. Judges have a lot of discretion when setting sentences. Usually, judges will take three factors into account when determining your sentence:
- Prior convictions
- Amount of the controlled substance, listed chemical, or paraphernalia you possessed
- Schedule of the substance
If you have no prior convictions and possessed small amounts of a less severely restricted drug, you will probably get sentenced to the minimum penalty allowed by law. However, if you have multiple prior convictions or possessed large quantities of a severely restricted drug, you could be sentenced to the maximum penalty. During your free initial consultation, your Tampa drug crime lawyer from Taracks & Associates can give you a better sense of how much prison time you are facing.
Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession
A Big Difference to Your Tampa Drug Possession Lawyer
There are two different types of possession — actual possession and constructive possession. While the penalties for these two types of possession are the same, the standard of proof differs significantly. And because the standard of proof differs, the defense against each of these types of charges requires a different approach.
If you have been charged with actual possession, then a Tampa official (police officer, investigator, etc.) is claiming that they discovered a prohibited substance or object directly on your person. This definition of possession includes the substance being in your clothing or a bag that you are carrying. In such cases, your lawyer for drug possession in Tampa, FL will usually fight this charge by proving the search of your person violated your rights in some way.
A charge of constructive possession, however, claims that you are the owner of an illegal substance not found on your person. This is more difficult for the prosecution to prove, because they need to prove that you knew about the drugs and that you were responsible for the drugs in that location. Your lawyer will usually fight these Tampa drug possession charges by either contesting that you were aware of the drugs or contesting that you were in control of the location in which they were discovered. For this charge, it is also possible to contest the legality of the search that uncovered the drugs.
Drug possession is a crime where it is common for prosecutors to overcharge and for investigators to violate your rights. Taracks & Associates drug possession lawyers have decades of experience fighting these charges and getting them dismissed or reduced.
If you are facing charges in Tampa, contact our offices at 813-281-2897 for a free consultation immediately.