How Are Legal Or Prescription Drug Cases Handled In Florida?
There is an absolute defense in Florida to possessing prescription drugs if you have a valid prescription for the drug of which you’re in possession. If you were prescribed oxycodone or hydrocodone for an injury, if you have a prescription for Xanax and you’re taking it for a nervous or a mood condition, if you’re in possession of them and you have a valid prescription, that’s an absolute defense in Florida.
It is not a defense in Florida if someone provided you with a single dose of a prescribed drug and you don’t have a prescription. For instance, an individual hurts themselves just doing lawn work on the weekend. They know somebody, a family member, who has a prescription drug like hydrocodone or Vicodin, and the family member provides a few pills to the individual who was injured and that individual doesn’t have a prescription.
That’s providing an illegal drug to someone in the state of Florida, which is a felony. The person who possesses the illegal drug is in possession of a narcotic, illegal drug and it’s a felony. The person who gave it, the family member who gave the prescribed drug because they had a prescription to the family member is also committing a crime.
There is no discretion in the law regarding those types of cases and many people throughout the community, family members provide each other with these types of drugs and these types of scenarios happen but the delivery of that drug is illegal in the state of Florida, there is no defense regarding those issues.
Does Becoming a Police Informant Ever Help Someone’s Drug Case?
The prosecutor’s office will not get involved with confidential informants. How that usually happens is as soon as somebody gets arrested or apprehended for a drug crime, the DEA agent or the state drug agent will ask that individual before the booking photo is posted online, before they are formally arrested to help solving or setting up other individuals. That can be beneficial in sentencing to the individual.
However, we have made it a policy at the Law Office of Andrew Stine to not represent confidential informants and to not involve ourselves with confidential informants. One of the reasons why is because it hurts or touches too many innocents or individuals who would otherwise not be involved with the drug trade to pull them into it and it affects too many people.
While it does help the person who’s charged, it could cause a lot of turmoil and a lot of unrest amongst other people who may not be involved or get involved with criminal activity. For instance, if the confidential informant sets up a sale between a person or target and law enforcement and the person who is bringing the drugs has somebody else drive them, the driver of the car will also be charged with the crime under what’s called constructive possession.
That person driving the car could be a mother, a wife related to the individual who is selling the drugs, it could be a child of the alleged drug dealer or salesperson selling the drugs who was contacted by the confidential informant. I believe that it harms too many unsuspected innocent people and we’ve made it our business not to represent those who are confidential informant or state witnesses. What the state will do is sometimes reduce the sentence of the confidential informant because that individual has given what they call “Substantial Assistance.”
The problem that I found working in the public defender’s office in Palm Beach County early on was determining when the person who is arrested, who’s providing the confidential information reaches the goal of substantial assistance. Do you have to set up one person, 10 people, or even if you set up three people, is that enough or not? “If you bring one person in, we’ll give you a credit,” or, “If you bring three people in, we’ll give you credit.” There’s never a solid rule, and it also puts the confidential informant in a position where they could be harmed.
What are Some things People Unintentionally Do that Hurts their Drug Case?
People will try to talk their way out of it. They will provide law enforcement officers with information, confessions like where they got the money, where they got the drugs, who they were allegedly taking it to, and all of those statements will be used against the drug defendant.
It is best to immediately not say a word. One of the other pitfalls or one of the harms that the individual cause themselves will oftentimes be to try to blame someone else by saying things like, “I didn’t know the drugs were in the car,” or, “I didn’t know that the drugs were in the house.” By making those statements, it doesn’t negate the fact that constructive possession can be showed.
In Florida, actual possession is when the individual has a pair of pants on and the marijuana or the illegal drugs are in their pocket, for example, but you could be also charged under the idea of constructive possession, where you’re in a home and drugs are found in that home and the home is being possessed by other individuals.
It’s best to say nothing and it’s best to provide no information. They’re the biggest problems that I see when it comes to drug crimes that individuals who are arrested try to talk their way out of it and by doing so, provide information to law enforcement officers that is eventually and usually used against them.
For more information on Prescription Drug Cases in Florida, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 561.880.4300 today.