The state of Florida is no stranger to the drug crime scene in the United States, at one time earning a reputation for being "the Oxy Express" due to the prevalence and attainability of drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone. However, no action is without a reaction, and both the state legislature and law enforcement have stepped up to the plate in fighting drug crime offenders.
Drug charges are serious offenses that come with some of the more strict sentencing guidelines found in the Florida Statutes. Specific offenses like drug trafficking often come with their own increased fines and mandatory minimum prison sentences in addition to the presumptive penalties provided for that specific class of misdemeanor or felony offense. Fighting to protect your rights and your future from drug crime conviction is important, and working with an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer is strongly recommended.
West Palm Beach Drug Defense Attorney
The penalties that come with drug crime conviction in Florida have the potential to affect you for the rest of your life. If you have been arrested on a drug charge in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, and Wellington, immediately take the first important step in your defense and call Andrew D. Stine, P.A..
With over 10 years of criminal defense experience, skilled and knowledgeable Palm Beach County drug charge defense lawyer Andrew Stine is a former public defender and army medic. These life experiences give him both an in-depth knowledge of the Florida criminal system and a militant, detailed approach to building strong, customized defenses for clients like you. For more information about what Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can do for your West Palm Beach or Boca Raton area drug crime case, call 561-832-1170 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Information Center for Florida Drug Crimes
- Florida Drug Crimes in the Palm Beach County Area
- Florida Penalties for Drug Crimes in Palm Beach County
- Drug Crime Resources in Palm Beach County
Florida is notorious for its problem with illegal use of prescription drugs. In Palm Beach County, the primary substances found in prescription drug arrests are methadone (Dialudid, Palladone), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab), oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet), and alprazolam (Xanax). The most common illicit substances found in the Palm Beach County area include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and MDMA/ ecstasy.
Drug charges in Florida are dependent on the amount found, if any additional evidence like drug paraphernalia was found, and your intent or actions with the drug at the time the drug was found. All drug charges come with severe penalties that can affect you for the rest of your life. Working with an experienced West Palm Beach drug crime defense attorney could be the difference between facing these penalties and achieving a more favorable outcome like a not guilty verdict. Some of the drug charges common to Palm Beach County include:
- Possession of Drugs: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(6)(a) – Unless the substance is lawfully obtained from a practitioner or through a valid prescription, being in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance in Florida is illegal under this law. Not only does this statute apply to prescription drugs like hydrocodone or oxycodone, it also applies to illicit substances like cocaine and marijuana.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: Fla. Stat. §§ 893.145 & 893.147 – According to Florida law, drug paraphernalia is all equipment, products, and materials that are used, designed for use, or intended for use in the manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, or transporting of controlled substances. Drug paraphernalia is also any equipment, product, or material used, designed for use, or intended for use in the injection, inhaling, ingestion, or other introduction of a controlled substance into the human body. The possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to use it for its purpose is a crime in Florida.
- Possession with Intent to Sell: Fla. Stat. § 893.13 – In Florida, drug possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver is the same offense as actually selling, manufacturing, or delivering a drug up to a certain amount, after which it is a drug trafficking charge. Drug possession may be upgraded to a possession with intent to sell charge if there are large amounts present, or if drug paraphernalia or large amounts of cash are present.
- Drug Trafficking: Fla. Stat. § 893.135 – Drug trafficking in Florida is defined as when a person knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state a controlled substance. However, it is also considered an offense of drug trafficking to be in actual or constructive possession of certain controlled substances over a specific amount, without regard to action or intent.
- Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs and Prescription Fraud: Fla. Stat. §§ 893.13(6)(a), 893.13(7)(a)7-893.13(7)(a)9, 893.13(7)(a)13 – When you do not have a valid prescription, being in possession of prescription drugs such as methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam (Xanax) is illegal in Florida. Remember, prescription drug possession can become a trafficking offense if you are in possession of more than a certain amount. This can be just a few pills of Oxycontin (four grams). It is also illegal to commit prescription fraud, which is governed by Fla. Stat. § 893.13(7)(a)7 (illegal possession of a prescription form), Fla. Stat. § 893.13(7)(a)9 (obtaining prescription through fraud), and 893.13(7)(a)8 & Fla. Stat. § 893.13(7)(a)13 (doctor shopping).
Both drug charges and their penalties in Florida are largely based on the amount of the controlled or illicit substance found. Most drug offenses charged in Palm Beach County are felonies. The exceptions are the first-degree misdemeanor charges of illegal possession of a prescription form and the use, manufacture, delivery, transportation, or advertisement of drug paraphernalia, which are punishable by up to a year in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Third-degree felony drug charges include obtaining a prescription by fraud, doctor shopping, possession of prescription drugs, simple drug possession at amounts below the trafficking threshold, and possession of lower-schedule substances like Xanax (alprazolam) with the intent to sell. In Florida, the maximum presumptive penalties for third-degree felony drug charges are five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Possession of other higher-schedule drugs with intent to sell is a second-degree felony. Examples of substances it is a second-degree felony to sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver include:
- Up to 28 grams of cocaine
- Up to 14 grams of methamphetamine
- Up to 4 grams of opiate (including heroin, methadone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone)
- Up to 4 grams of flunitrazepam (Rohypnol, roofies)
- Up to 28 grams of Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)
- Up to 10 grams of phenethylamines (includes MDMA/ecstasy)
- Up to a kilogram of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB
A second-degree felony drug conviction like for possession of cocaine with intent to sell can come with up to 15 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines. Possession of these drugs in excess of the above amounts is considered a trafficking offense. All Florida drug trafficking offenses are first-degree felonies, but what penalties you can face depends on the amount of the drug found. Some of the penalties you could face for a Palm Beach County drug trafficking charge include the following:
Three to 30 Years in Prison, $50,000 Fine
- Trafficking in cocaine, 28-200 grams
- Trafficking in methamphetamines, 14-28 grams
- Trafficking in opiates, 4-14 grams
- Trafficking in phenethylamines (such as ecstasy), 10-200 grams
Seven to 30 Years in Prison, $100,000 Fine
- Trafficking in cocaine, 200-400 grams
- Trafficking in methamphetamines, 28-200 grams
- Trafficking in phenethylamines, 200-400 grams
15-30 Years in Prison, $100,000 Fine
- Trafficking in opiates (heroin, methadone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone), 14-28 grams
15-30 Years in Prison, $250,000 Fine
- Trafficking in cocaine, 400 grams-150 kilograms
- Trafficking in methamphetamines, 200 grams or more
- Trafficking in phenethylamines, 400 grams or more
Certain drug crimes in Palm Beach County may come with sanctions like a driver's license suspension. Felony drug crimes come with additional consequences like the inability to pursue certain educational opportunities or professions, and the loss of certain civil rights such as the right to vote. One option certain drug offenders may have access to in order to avoid these penalties is Palm Beach County Drug Court. An experienced West Palm Beach drug crime defense lawyer can fight to protect your rights and pursue the favorable outcome that you believe is best for your case.
Palm Beach County Drug Court – Designed for people with pending drug charges that are not for trafficking or sales who also have not been convicted for a crime of violence, the Palm Beach County Drug Court is a special program aimed at treating the addiction that drives the person to commit the drug offenses. Successful completion of the program generally means dropped charges. The Palm Beach County Drug Court can be found at:3228 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Phone: (561) 688-4530
Narcotics Anonymous – Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a national, non-profit organization committed to providing a place for substance abuse addict to come together and overcome addiction. Follow this link to the NA website, where you can read literature about your addiction and find NA meetings in your area.
Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act – Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes is known as the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. Visit this link to review the state drug schedules, legal definitions of drug terms, drug charges and penalties, and other information directly related to your Florida drug crime.
Andrew D. Stine, P.A. | Drug Charge Defense Lawyer for Palm Beach County
If you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, and Tequesta, contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A. as soon as possible after your arrest. Andrew Stine has a detailed defense approach and over 10 years of criminal defense he will use to fight your Boca Raton area drug case. Your first consultation is free, so call 561-832-1170 today and schedule yours.