Prescription Drug Crime
Florida has begun to crack down on prescription drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. A conviction for an offense of this nature can potentially carry heavy fines, jail time, and significant implications for your personal and professional life. While only your skilled Pinellas County drug crime lawyer can tell you how the law will apply to your individual situation, many cases share some of the same features and possible defenses. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we represent clients facing charges related to drugs, DUI, theft, and many other crimes.Florida Law Regarding Prescription Drug Crimes
The Florida criminal code makes it illegal for individuals to possess a controlled substance that they do not have a valid prescription or order for. The prescription must also have been written by the medical practitioner as part of their professional practice. The penalties for violating this law depend on a number of different factors.Penalties for Violating Florida Prescription Drug Law
Prescription drugs, like illegal drugs, are divided into different schedules. The severity of punishment will depend on what schedule the drugs fall into. Possession of Schedule II drugs comes with harsher penalties than possession of Schedule V drugs. Schedule II drugs include medications that have a high potential for abuse including Percocet, OxyContin, and Adderall. Schedule III drugs include Tylenol with Codeine, Suboxone, and anabolic steroids. Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, while Schedule V drugs include Robitussin AC and ezogabine.
Another factor that the court looks at when charging and sentencing people for violating Florida prescription drug law is the amount of the drug that a defendant is found to be in possession of. The more drugs you are caught in possession of, the harsher the penalties. Possession with intent to sell comes with greater penalties than simple possession. Similarly, if you are found with extremely large quantities of controlled substances you may be charged with trafficking under the Florida drug law.
For example, possession of less than 14 grams of a Schedule II drug like hydrocodone, with intent to sell, is a second-degree felony and is penalized by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 15 years in prison.Defenses to Florida Drug Crimes
Just because you are charged with a prescription drug crime in Florida does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. An experienced prescription drug crimes attorney can tell you what defenses may be applicable in your case. However, there are some common defenses.
A common defense to this sort of charge is if you have a prescription for it, as possession of controlled substances is only illegal if you don’t have a valid prescription. This may be applicable in cases where you get arrested because you had your prescription somewhere other than the original bottle the medication came in. The burden to prove this defense is on the defendant.
Alternatively, if the pharmaceuticals were discovered as part of a search of the defendant’s vehicle or person, one defense is to question the legality of the search itself. If the evidence was found during an illegal search, then the prosecution generally cannot use it against the defendant in court.
Another defense to prescription drug crimes is that you weren’t actually in possession of the drugs. In order to be in possession of the drugs, the defendant must have knowledge of them and dominion and control. If you can show that you weren’t aware that the medication was in your possession, you may be able to raise a defense of this nature.Experienced Drug Crime Defense Attorneys Serving Pinellas County
If you have been charged with a prescription drug crime, it is wise to contact a seasoned criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled legal team can help you defend you against the charges, whether they are simple possession of a small amount or trafficking in large amounts of drugs. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we defend clients against any criminal charges, no matter how big or how small. Our attorneys handle state and federal criminal cases in Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call us at 727-286-6141 or use the contact form on this website to set up a consultation.