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An Experienced Fort Lauderdale Drug Crime Lawyer Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions

As an experienced drug crime lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I've seen firsthand the devastating effects of drug-related offenses in our state. Unfortunately, the Sunshine State's position on the map has made it a hot spot for drug trafficking from Mexico, Colombia, and other Central and South American countries. This influx of illicit narcotics has resulted in an overwhelming surge of arrests and convictions related to drugs each year.

I often receive many questions from those charged with drug crimes, ranging from the severity of the penalties they may face to the type of defense available. In this blog, I share some of the most frequently asked questions our office receives.

If you face drug charges, call the Law Offices of R. David Williams, P.A. at (954) 522-9997 to schedule a FREE consultation and discuss your legal options with an experienced drug crime lawyer. We will fight for your rights!

What Is a Drug Crime?

In Florida, drug crimes refer to offenses that involve the possession, sale, manufacture, or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances. These crimes are governed by both state and federal law and can carry serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Some of the most common drug crimes in Florida include:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Possession with intent to sell or distribute
  • Drug trafficking
  • Manufacturing or growing illegal drugs
  • Prescription drug fraud
  • Sale or distribution of illegal drugs

What Drugs Are Considered Controlled Substances in Florida?

There is a long list of Schedule I through Schedule V drugs defined as controlled substances under Florida law. Possessing a controlled substance can result in severe penalties if caught possessing it without a valid prescription.

These drugs include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, pills such as Xanax and Oxycodone, designer drugs such as K2 and Spice, ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, Tylenol with codeine, Valium, Tramadol, Xanax, Ativan, Ambien, Darvon, and Darvocet.

To access a list of all the controlled substances and their schedule classification, go here to read the statute’s text.

What Does Possession of a Controlled Substance Mean?

In Florida, possession of a controlled substance refers to the illegal possession of drugs or other substances that are regulated by state and federal law.

The possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession means that you have direct physical control over the drug, while constructive possession means you have knowledge of the drug's presence and access to it.

In either case, if you are found with a controlled substance in your possession, you will face criminal charges.

What Happens If the Police Find Drugs in My House?

If the police find drugs in your house, you may face serious legal consequences, including charges of possession of a controlled substance. The specific outcome of the situation will depend on various factors, including the type and amount of drugs found, the circumstances of the discovery, and the state and federal laws applicable to your case.

If you are charged with a drug crime, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced drug crime attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and the criminal justice process and represent you in court to obtain the best outcome for your case.

Is There a Difference between Possession and Trafficking of a Controlled Substance?

Yes, there is a difference between possession and trafficking of a controlled substance in Florida. Possession refers to having a controlled substance in your possession for personal use, while trafficking refers to the sale, transportation, or importation of a controlled substance. Trafficking carries much more severe penalties than possession.

What Are the Penalties for a Drug Crime Conviction in Florida?

The penalties for a drug crime conviction in Florida are severe, and a conviction can result in long-term consequences. The specific penalties for a drug crime will depend on various factors, including the type and amount of drug involved, your criminal history, and the specific circumstances of your case.

Though not exhaustive, here is a table summarizing the different drug crimes and the corresponding penalties in Florida:

Drug Crime and Charge Penalties
Possession of a Controlled Substance

(1st-degree felony) possession of more than 10 grams of any Schedule I drug

Up to 30 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000
(2nd- or 3rd-degree felony) intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance (charge depends on the type of controlled substance involved) Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000
(3rd-degree felony) possession of more than 10 grams of any other controlled dangerous substance Up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000
(1st-degree misdemeanor) possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana Up to 1 year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine
(3rd-degree felony) possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana Up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000
Drug Trafficking

(1st-degree felony)

Up to 30 years in prison, and/or fines up to $500,000

The specific penalties will depend on the type and amount of substance involved

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (Misdemeanor) Up to 6 months in prison for a first offense and fines up to $1,000 – repeat offenders will face longer prison times and fines

License suspension: up to 1 year

Community Service: up to 50 hours of community service

Ignition Interlock Device installation required on your car for up to one year after conviction

Drug Paraphernalia Possession

(1st-degree misdemeanor)

Up to 1 year in prison and fines up to $1,000

If you are facing drug charges, it is critcal to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand your rights, the charges against you, and the best possible defense strategy for your case.

Can I Fight a Drug Charge, or Do I Have to Accept It?

You have the right to fight a drug charge in Florida. An experienced drug crime attorney can help you build a defense strategy and represent you in court. There are several potential defenses that can be raised in a drug crime case, including illegal search and seizure, entrapment, and lack of knowledge of the presence of the drug.

Are There Any Alternatives to Jail Time for Drug Crimes in Florida?

Yes, there are alternatives to jail time for drug crimes in Florida. These alternatives may include drug court (a treatment-based program for non-violent drug offenders), or probation, which would allow you to serve your sentence outside of jail while under supervision.

Does Being Convicted of a Drug Crime Affect My Ability to Get Housing and Employment?

Yes, being convicted of a drug crime can affect your ability to get housing and employment. Landlords and employers often perform background checks and may refuse to rent to or hire you if you have a criminal record.

What Kind of Evidence Does the Prosecution Need to Convict Me of a Drug Crime in Florida?

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed, sold, transported, or imported a controlled substance. Evidence that may be used to convict you of a drug crime in Florida may include drugs found in your possession, witness testimony, and law enforcement reports.

How Does Sentencing Work If I’m Convicted of a Drug Crime in Florida?

Sentencing for drug offenses in Florida depends on the specific facts of your case, including the type and amount of drug involved and whether you have a prior criminal record. In some cases, a judge may impose a sentence within the prescribed range, while mandatory minimum sentences may apply in other cases.

Why Should I Hire a Drug Crime Lawyer?

If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, hiring a drug crime lawyer is critical to protect your rights and obtain the best outcome for your case. An experienced drug crime attorney can:

  • Provide you with a clear understanding of the charges against you and the potential penalties
  • Investigate the facts of your case and gather evidence to support your defense
  • Negotiate with the prosecution to reach a favorable plea bargain
  • Represent you in court and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process
  • Advocate on your behalf to obtain the best possible outcome for your case, including a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you or a reduction of the sentence if you are convicted.

By hiring an experienced drug crime attorney, you increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case and avoiding the severe consequences of a drug crime conviction, such as imprisonment, fines, and a criminal record.

Schedule a FREE Consultation with Drug Crime Attorney David Williams If Facing a Drug Charge

Are you facing a drug charge? Call drug crime attorney David Williams for personalized service and the best possible defense tailored to your unique needs. At the Law Offices of R. David Williams, P.A., we care about our clients and know that good people can make bad mistakes.

Mr. Williams has been practicing criminal defense in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and other counties throughout Florida for over 25 years. Let him help you get your life back on track. Call us today at (954) 522-9997, or complete our online form to schedule your FREE consultation with a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney. We will fight for your rights!

Copyright © 2023. Law Offices of R. David Williams, P.A. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (post) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Law Offices of R. David Williams, P.A.
15 Southwest 10th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
(954) 522-9997

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If you have been recently arrested or charged with any criminal offense in South Florida, you need an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you.

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