With the rise of illegal drug use in America, law enforcement is taking enhanced measures to crack down on drugs. Because of this, drug possession charges are becoming even more common. In 2018, a total of 134,396 arrests for Drugs/Narcotics Offenses reported in Florida. Drug charges not only carry criminal penalties, but could affect your personal and professional life. If you are charged with drug possession, here’s what you need to know to protect your future.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
Drug possession charges differ in severity depending on which substance you are in possession of and how much you are in possession of. Crimes for the possession of controlled substances are charged as a felony in Florida, except for the possession of “less than 20 grams of marijuana” which is charged as a misdemeanor. Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 penalty. Other possession charges are usually a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and a $5,000 penalty.
If you are charged with drug possession, you may be eligible for several diversion programs. Entrance and successful completion of a diversion program will result in a dismissal of the charges against you, which will allow you to later expunge the charges from your record.
Which diversion program is right for you?
If you are charged with misdemeanor drug possession, you may be eligible for Pretrial Intervention. In this program, you may be required to do community service, pay penalties, or attend substance abuse counseling.
If you are charged with felony drug possession, you may be eligible for diversion to Felony Drug Court. Felony Drug Court is a diversion program which requires a minimum of 12 months and focuses on the treatment of drug offenders, with the hopes of reducing recidivism among participants. Entrance to Felony Drug Court requires approval from the Office of the State Attorney.
How can drug possession charge affect your life?
Criminal charges and convictions can stay with you for the rest of your life. This may affect your status with your university, future job prospects, your eligibility for professional licensure, and could result in the suspension of your driver’s license. As a result, if you are charged with DUI, it is very important that you protect your future by obtaining the best legal counsel. At the Law Office of Lee Meadows, we provide you with affordable legal representation from an experienced attorney. If you have any questions, please call the Law Office of Lee Meadows to schedule a free consultation.