Criminal statutes surrounding drug crimes can be strict, outlining harsh penalties for those accused of the crime. Therefore, even when it is a person’s first offense, the criminal consequences can be life altering, impacting the accused’s personal and professional life. Thus, it is important that defendants understand these laws, the details of their situation and how they can use this and other information to strategize a criminal defense.

According to Florida statute section 893, methamphetamine is considered a Schedule II controlled substance because it has a high potential for abuse, with abuse leading to dependency. Unlawful possession of this controlled substance is considered a third-degree felon.

This can be heightened to a second-degree felony if the accused is found in possession of listed precursors to make meth or essential chemicals that are intended for the uses of manufacturing meth. This crime could again be heightened to a first-degree felony if the commission or attempted commission occurs in a structure where a child under the age of 16 years of age is present.

With regards to trafficking, this statute states that it is unlawful to sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver or knowingly possess methamphetamine, and trafficking charges could result if any of these acts occur with 14 grams or more of meth. Those found in possession of 13 grams or more could face a first-degree felony, which could result in a 3-year prison term and a fine of up to $50,000. Those in possession of 28 grams or more could face a first-degree felony, which carries a penalty of 7 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. Those in possession of 200 grams or more could face a first-degree felony charge, 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Drug charges are treated seriously in the state of Florida; however, this does not mean that defendants in the state cannot take steps to reduce or dismiss the charges they face. Establishing a strong defense could help the accused clear their name and help them avoid harsh penalties.

Source: Floridadec.org, “Florida Criminal Meth Statutes,” accessed April 17, 2018