Possession of Methamphetamine

Illegal Drug Use

Florida carries harsh criminal consequences for those found guilty of drug crimes. These penalties are often strict and cause long term devastation to the convicted. First-time offenders can still potentially lose everything, including their freedom, finances, and future employment opportunities and accreditations as a result. Criminal statutes surrounding drug crimes can be strict, outlining harsh penalties for those accused of the crime. 

Such a reality makes it imperative that one has a competent drug offense attorney by their side to not only negotiate and aggressively defend against such accusations but to thoroughly explain the consequences of guilty findings. 

Florida Law on Methamphetamine Possession

The state of Florida classifies methamphetamine, sometimes called crystal, speed or meth, as a controlled substance. 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 in Florida with mandatory sentencing laws. 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.

Penalties for Methamphetamine Possession in Florida

For possession of methamphetamine, a judge can sentence a person to any or all of the following consequences:

  • A maximum fine of $5,000
  • Five years in prison
  • Five years of probation

Each of these punishments will have a drastic effect on one’s future outlook, and probation alone has its own penalties that can disrupt one’s life negatively.

Typical conditions of probation related to meth possession are:

  • House arrest
  • Imposed curfew
  • Additional court costs and program fees
  • Probationary monitoring
  • Drug testing
  • Community service 
  • Residential drug treatment
  • Out-patient drug counseling

 

Keep in mind that all of these are in addition to an already imposed driver’s license suspension.

What Constitutes Possession of Methamphetamine?

The prosecutor must show that the defendant was 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:

  • The defendant had to know the drug was present; and
  • The defendant had to know the drug was methamphetamine; and
  • 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. If facing charges of meth possession, do not give up hope that it’s impossible to beat. 

Defenses Against Possession of Methamphetamine Charges in Orlando

A reputable attorney can bring up several additional defenses to methamphetamine possession that can help foster a negotiated charge or earn a dismissal. These can include things like a valid prescription, illegal search and seizure or insufficient evidence. 

Common defense strategies that might work for your situation include:

Law Enforcement Didn’t Follow Protocol

In some criminal cases, law enforcement personnel do not follow proper legal procedures, such as reading a person their rights. 

You Have a Valid Prescription

Doctors rarely prescribe methamphetamine, so that defense usually does not work.

Illegal Search and Seizure

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. 

Probable Cause Was Not Legitimate

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.

Aggressive Orlando Drug Crime Defense Attorneys

If you’re charged with possession of methamphetamine, you will need a criminal defense attorney in order to reduce or avoid the potentially serious legal penalties you could face. Your lawyer should aggressively protect and defend your rights in court as your future depends on it. 

As recognized Florida Trend’s Super Lawyers, The Umansky Law Firm has continuously met the defensive challenges of Orlando and Central Florida residents facing serious drug crimes, and our commitment is to your rights and future. We do this by aggressively defending the charges against you and we help negotiate the best outcome possible. Contact us online or by phone today at (407) 228-3838 to receive your free consultation regarding your case.