Maltezos Law

Domestic Violence Lawyer Pinellas

3306 N. Howard Ave
Tampa FL 33607

Phone: 813-642-7438

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Drug Charges

Most common criminal cases heard in Florida Courts

Drug charges are among the most common criminal cases heard in Florida courts. These cases range from simple possession of marijuana to charges involving unauthorized prescription drugs and harder drugs such as heroin. Drug arrests are a serious matter in the Sunshine State as Florida has harsh penalties for drug offenses.

Penalties for Drug Crimes

If you or someone you know has been arrested or is under investigation for a state or federal drug crime, it is vital that you seek trusted legal representation. You could be at risk for jail or prison time and heavy fines. Drug crime convictions will leave you with a permanent criminal record that can negatively affect your future in terms of various opportunities. Because such a record is available on a routine background check, you may have difficulties finding employment or housing or being accepted for higher education, financial aid, or a professional license. Felony convictions can also result in a loss of such civil rights as gun ownership and the right to vote. These convictions can also have negative immigration consequences for noncitizens, such as deportation.

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Drug Offenses in Florida

Drug crimes in the state include all those listed under Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes. These substances are listed in “schedules” according to their addictiveness and risk of abuse. They include such drugs as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, LSD, opium, PCP, and prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, Adderall, Xanax, morphine, and fentanyl. If you are in possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription, you can be charged and prosecuted.

Drug charges that you could face involving any controlled substance include:

  • Simple possession
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession with intent to sell
  • Cultivation or manufacture of drugs
  • Drug trafficking


Unfortunately, under most circumstances, possessing a controlled substance in the Sunshine State is charged as a felony in state as well as federal courts. Only possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor. If you are found with more than 20 grams of marijuana, you will face a third-degree felony. You will also face this charge if you are found with up to 28 grams of cocaine, up to 4 grams of heroin, up to 10 grams of MDMA (Ecstasy), or up to a gram of LSD. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Additional consequences can include probation, mandatory substance abuse treatment, random drug testing, and community service hours.

Cannabis Possession< 20 grams1st degree misdemeanor
Cannabis Possession> 20 grams3rd degree felony
Cocaine Possession< 28 grams3rd degree felony
MDMA Possession< 10 grams3rd degree felony
Heroin Possession< 4 grams3rd degree felony
LSD< 1 gram3rd degree felony
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Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is the most serious of all drug crimes as it involves large-scale drug operations such as importing, selling, and transporting these substances across state or national borders. Federal drug trafficking convictions can lead to mandatory minimum sentences of up to 25 years with fines of up to $500,000, depending on the type of drug involved as well as the quantity and other circumstances.

Trafficking in Cannabis (First-degree felony)Mandatory Minimum Sentence
In excess of 25, but less than 2,000 pounds or 300 or more cannabis plants3 Years + $25,000 fine
2,000 pounds, but less than 10,000 pounds or 2,000 or more cannabis plants7 Years + $50,000 fine
10,000 pounds or more or 10,000 or more cannabis plants15 Years + $200,000 fine
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