Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Caught with drugs: what does it mean for your future?

Mar 3, 2021 | Drug Charges

Florida has some of the harshest penalties when it comes to drug crimes. Not only are you possibly looking at significant monetary fines and extensive jail and prison time. But the situation can often be extremely overwhelming and stressful. Leaving your whole world turned upside down.

To help you better understand what a drug charge can mean for you and your future. This post will dive into Florida’s drug crimes and penalties and what consequences you may be facing depending on the type of drug you are caught with. 

Drug crimes and penalties

In Florida several factors can determine the penalties you will have to face if you are caught with drugs. Typically, these factors include:

  • The type of drugs or substance you are caught with
  • The number of drugs you have at the time you are caught
  • What were your intentions in committing the crime
  • Where did the crime occur

For instance, if you are caught possessing a drug, you can be facing stiff penalties. However, if you are caught trying to sell the substance to someone else, you can be looking at even harsher consequences.

Drug schedules

Frequently, drugs are sorted into various schedules, which are determined by how dangerous the drug is in terms of whether it has any accepted medical use and its addiction risk. In general, Schedule V drugs are the least severe because they have widely-accepted benefits and low potential for abuse, while Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous. 

  • Schedule V: Substances in this category are considered to have the lowest potential for abuse and usually the preparations contain limited quantities of the narcotic. These drugs are typically used for antidiarrheal, analgesic, and antitussive purposes.
  • Schedule IV: This category usually includes substances and drugs fraudulently obtained, such as Valium and Ambien.
  • Schedule III: This category includes frequently abused drugs with some accepted medical use, such as Codeine or Testosterone.
  • Schedule II: This schedule includes drugs such as Opioids, Cocaine, and other types of Methamphetamines.
  • Schedule I: Schedule I is the most dangerous category because the drugs in this schedule have the highest potential for abuse and currently no accepted medical use. They include substances such as LSD, Ecstasy, Heroin, and even Marijuana.

Typically, crimes that involve drugs are either considered a misdemeanor or a felony with the majority of these drug crimes often fitting into the felony category. 

If you are charged with a felony offense, you can end up with significant prison time and fines that can exceed thousands of dollars. Also, many times, when these drug crimes reach the felony level, they have mandatory minimum sentences. 


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