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Methamphetamine Charges and Sentencing in Florida

Methamphetamine is an illegal drug that causes almost immediate addiction, according to those addicts who have used the drug and in all scientific studies. In Florida, it is illegal to possess methamphetamine, manufacture methamphetamine and possess the ingredients in total to manufacture or make the drug and it is illegal to provide assistants to those who sell, manufacture or possess methamphetamine.

The common ingredients in manufacturing methamphetamine are: sodium hydroxide or lye; anhydrous anomia which is used in fertilizer and commercial refrigerators; iodine; red phosphorus, which is found in the tips of matches; ephedrine, found in Sudafed and other cold sinus medicines; Ether; Drano; Brake Fluid, Coleman Camping Fluid and hydrochloric acid, used as a corrosive cleaner for metals and leather.

When law enforcement officer in Florida, have probable cause to believe that a meth lab is in operation, they will obtain a search warrant to search the premise and look for the listed ingredients. Palm Beach County sheriff deputies and the Lantana Police Department served a search warrant over the weekend in Lantana, Florida on an apartment and arrested Noble Simms, after allegedly finding ingredients to manufacture methamphetamine. Florida has very punitive sentences for those who sell, manufacture, and deliver methamphetamine.

In Florida, any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state or who is knowingly is in actual or constructive possession of 14 grams or more of amphetamine or methamphetamine, or of any mixture containing amphetamine or methamphetamine or phenylacetone, phenylacetic acid, pseudoephedrine, or ephedrine in conjunction with other chemicals and equipment utilized in the manufacture of amphetamine or methamphetamine commits a felony of the first degree punishable by 25 years to life in prison and this is known in Florida as “trafficking in amphetamine.”

If the quantity of amphetamine or methamphetamine involved is 14 grams or more but less than 28 grams, the person is sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of three years and a fine of $50,000. If the quantity of amphetamine or methamphetamine involved is 28 grams or more but less than 200 grams, the statute provides for a mandatory sentence of a minimum term of imprisonment of seven years and a fine of $100,000. If the quantity of drug involved is 200 grams or more, a convicted defendant is sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 calendar years and a fine of $250,000. Any person who knowingly manufactures or brings into the state 400 grams or more of amphetamine or methamphetamine or of any mixture containing amphetamine or methamphetamine, or phenylacetone, phenylacetic acid, pseudoephedrine, or ephedrine in conjunction with other chemicals and equipment used in the manufacture of amphetamine or methamphetamine and who knows that the probable result of such manufacture or importation will be the death of any person commits capital manufacture or importation of amphetamine.

Before the defendant can be convicted, the State must prove that the defendant had knowledge and the ability to control the trafficked methamphetamine and thus, a defendant who was a joint occupant of a house in which methamphetamine was located could not be convicted of trafficking where there was no direct evidence that he or she had access to the locked safe in which the drugs were located or had knowledge of its contents and the circumstantial evidence offered by the State was not inconsistent with a reasonable hypothesis of innocence. See Harrington v. State, 980 So. 2d 563 (5th DCA 2008). Additionally, the State must prove the actual weight of the Methamphetamine, as this is an element of the crime of possession of methamphetamine. See Sheridan v. State, 850 So. 2d  638 (2nd DCA 2003). The Sheridan court went on to reason that no commingling of the drug may occur to assure the weigh requirement under the trafficking standard. The Appellate court said the trial judge erred to allow the jury to determine the issue of fact as to the weight of the methamphetamine, when law enforcement officer commingled the contents of two baggies seized from defendant’s vehicle by dumping both bags which with contained powdery substances into one plastic bag prior to submitting the substance for chemical testing. The record from the trial was devoid of evidence describing the contents of each plastic bag, the approximate amount that each contained, or their packaging as a single unit. The Appellate court held that the two baggies first should have been tested separately and if found to be the same controlled substance, the weights combined, as the powdery material found in both bags had an appearance similar to non-controlled substances, such as vitamin powder or flour.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for the sale, manufacture, trafficking or possession of methamphetamine, contact West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine. Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D Stine has been representing clients with drug crimes in Florida and the Federal courts up and down the eastern seaboard for over a decade. Hire Stine or Do the Time!

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