While the laws continue to change for marijuana possession, anyone without a medical marijuana card still faces potentially severe consequences. Those only increase for other types of drugs.
The state has seen a downward trend in drug-related arrests. In 2020, the Florida Department of Health listed 1,293 drug-possession arrests in Lee County compared to 4,731 in 2018. If you find yourself facing a possession charge, you still likely have questions.
1. How does the state define possession?
Unless you have permission, the state considers the possession of any controlled substance illegal. Possession charges come in two forms. First, actual possession means you have the drugs on you, including in a backpack. Constructive possession does not require physical contact. This charge indicates that you have control and knowledge of drugs, such as in a drawer.
2. Does the type of drug make a difference?
The state follows the federal classification which includes five schedules of controlled substances. The classification starts with the type of drugs people more frequently abuse. Schedule I includes marijuana for non-card members, LSD, and heroin. Opioids, cocaine, and crystal meth fall into the Schedule II category. Any possession of those two types equates to harsher penalties.
3. What consequences might I face?
The type of drug and amount you have on you factor into your potential consequences. Typically, 28 grams or less of marijuana comes with a first-degree misdemeanor charge, which comes with a $1,000 fine and a possible one-year sentence. If you have more than 10 grams of certain Schedule 1 drugs, it may mean paying a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years incarcerated.
Always remember that every case has its own nuances, which means you may have options to fight your charges.