Most Florida residents probably think that a drug possession charge is relatively straightforward: when a person is caught with illegal drugs, that person will face a drug possession charge. However, oftentimes there is more to these charges than such a simplistic process. In Florida, our readers need to be aware of the basic elements of a drug possession charge.
For starters, the material that is seized by law enforcement officials – which is alleged to be an “illegal” drug – must actually be what the police officers believe it to be. Law enforcement officials receive extensive training in order to be able to identify illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine, oftentimes just be looking at it or smelling it. However, that type of identification alone typically will not hold up in court. The material must be tested to verify its authenticity.
Next, to prove a drug possession charge, the prosecutor must be able to show that the defendant actually knew that the illegal drug was, in fact, illegal to possess, as well as the fact that the defendant actually knew the drug was in his possession. To prove this “knowledge” can be quite difficult.
Lastly, the prosecution must prove that the defendant actually had control of the illegal drug in question. This element of drug possession charges can cause quite a bit of “grey” area, legally speaking, and has been the subject of numerous cases that have been debated all the way to the US Supreme Court. “Possession” oftentimes means more than just having the drug in your pocket. Florida residents facing criminal charges may want to consult an experienced attorney to determine the defense that works best for their situation.