After being arrested for a drug offense, you are probably wondering whether you will face felony or misdemeanor charges. Usually, felony charges carry stiffer penalties, and your concerns are well-founded.
Whether you are looking at a felony or misdemeanor will largely depend on the type or amount of drugs involved. Other aggravating factors such as drug offenses that involve minors or use of firearms may also determine the nature of your charges.
What schedule do the drugs fall under?
Under Florida law, controlled substances are grouped into five distinct categories known as schedules. The schedule of the drugs and their quantity will dictate the charges you are likely to face.
For instance, being found in possession of less than 20g of marijuana (Schedule 1 drug) which is not meant for medical use, is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. Any more than that, and you could be staring at a third-degree felony charge.
A lot is at stake
Florida takes drug charges very seriously. A conviction for even a first-degree misdemeanor can mean time in jail, and for felony offenses, the sentences are even more severe. As such, the importance of a successful defense cannot be overstated, given the harsh penalties.
Preparing your defense
Are you being charged with possession or distribution? The offense in question will shape your defense. You can explore several defenses when going against your charges, and for a desirable outcome, you need to make informed decisions.
Was your evidence acquired legally? Were there any chain of custody errors in handling the evidence? Analyzing these and all other aspects of your case may lead to your case being dismissed or the charges being reduced. It all boils down to the actions you take upon arrest or before the commencement of legal proceedings.