The state of Florida takes meth charges very seriously. You need to know that you are facing severe consequences if you are convicted in a meth case. Possession of less than 14 grams of meth is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. Possession of 14 or more grams of meth is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and carries a mandatory minimum sentence even for a first-time offender. We understand how overwhelming and scary these penalties are — and we are here to help.
Meth Manufacturing Charges
Meth is viewed as damaging not only to the person using it but also to the community. The production of meth in makeshift labs can result in fires and explosions that can injure and kill innocent people, including law enforcement personnel and emergency responders who are called to a meth house.
- Possession of precursor chemicals such as phenylacetone, phenylacetic acid, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine with the intent of manufacturing meth is a felony. Exposing a child to the dangers of a meth lab is a first-degree felony, subject to a five-year minimum mandatory prison sentence.
- Causing the death of someone else through the manufacture of meth is a capital felony, punishable by death or life in prison.
Florida Law on Methamphetamine Possession
The state of Florida classifies methamphetamine, sometimes called crystal, speed or meth, as a controlled substance. Drugs also classified as Schedule II narcotics, include cocaine, morphine and oxycodone. Possession of any amount of methamphetamine up to 14 grams is a third degree felony. A conviction will also result in a mandatory two-year suspension of the defendant's driver's license.
Possession of 14 or more grams of methamphetamine is considered drug trafficking. Even if the drug is "cut" with additives, law enforcement counts the total weight of the mixture. The courts penalize drug crimes with mandatory sentencing laws in Florida. This means that a judge has little discretion when sentencing defendants who are guilty of methamphetamine possession or sales. The courts must order certain minimum penalties according to state law.
For possession of methamphetamine, a judge can sentence a person to any or all of the following consequences:
- 5 years in prison
- Maximum Fine of $5,000
- 5 years of probation
Probation carries its own penalties with it, such as home arrest, curfew, additional court fees, strict supervision, drug testing, community service hours and residential or out-patient counseling. This is in addition to the driver's license suspension already imposed.
Defenses Of Meth Charges
There are defenses to meth possession and meth manufacturing charges. For example, in some criminal cases, law enforcement does not follow proper legal procedures, such as reading a person their rights. A reputable attorney can bring up several additional defenses to methamphetamine possession. These can include illegal search and seizure, insufficient evidence or a valid prescription, however doctors rarely prescribe methamphetamine, so that defense usually does not work.
If the police pressure a person into a search or overstep their bounds in a search, the evidence, such as confiscated methamphetamine, will be suppressed in court. They must obtain a search warrant in "good faith" with concrete evidence backing their request. For example, they cannot ask for a search warrant based on an anonymous tip. The police must also have probable cause or facts in order to arrest a person. Probable cause keeps law enforcement from arresting people just because they don't like that person or based on flimsy excuses. Solid reasons for probable cause in arrests can include physical observation, circumstantial evidence or testimony from others.
A defendant must be in actual possession or constructive possession of methamphetamine in order to be convicted. Actual possession means that the drug was physically on the defendant. Constructive possession means that the defendant had access to the drug, such as in the kitchen of a residence. This is more difficult for a prosecutor to prove because he must show three elements. First, the defendant had to know the drug was present. Second, the defendant had to know the drug was methamphetamine. Finally, the defendant had to be in charge of the drug, also called dominion and control.
For example, if you rent a room from a friend and the police find drugs hidden in the living room, they would need proof that you knew the methamphetamine was present. Even if you saw the drug and knew it was present, they would need to prove that you knew it was methamphetamine. If the drug was found in your landlord's room, you would not be arrested because you did not have access or dominion and control over it.
Do You Need Help With Your Meth Charge? Contact Us Day Or Night.
At The Umansky Law Firm, we are here to help minimize the effects of a meth arrest on your life. Our drug crime defense lawyers represent juveniles and adults who are arrested on meth possession and manufacturing charges in Orlando and other communities in central Florida. We have more than 60 years of combined experience that we put to work when fighting for your rights.
To schedule a free case review with an Orlando meth arrest attorney at The Umansky Law Firm, contact us online or call 407-228-3838.
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