4 Common Misconceptions About Drug Crimes in Pinellas County

As the leading criminal defense attorneys in St. Petersburg, we often come across a few common misconceptions about certain drug crimes. These misconceptions can potentially lead people to make decisions that result in severe consequences they didn’t anticipate. 

In this article, we debunk four common misconceptions and aim to provide clarity on the reality of the prosecution of drug crimes in Pinellas County. 



Misconception #1: Only “Hard Drugs,” Like Heroin and Cocaine, are Serious Drug Crimes

Many people believe that drug crimes are only associated with serious illicit substances, like heroin and cocaine. In reality, possession, distribution, or manufacturing of any controlled substance, regardless of its classification, can lead to serious legal consequences. Federal law categorizes controlled substances into different schedules, and the penalties for drug offenses vary depending on factors such as quantity, intent, and criminal history.


Misconception #2: First-Time Drug Offenses Are Not a Big Deal

Some may believe that first-time drug offenses are not significant and result in lenient punishments. The legal system takes drug offenses seriously. Even for first-time offenders, consequences can include fines, probation, mandatory drug treatment programs, community service, or even incarceration.

It is important to understand the potential consequences of your first-time drug offense and seek proper legal representation from a drug crimes attorney in St. Petersburg with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. Our attorneys are highly experienced in representing first-time offenders and have developed strategies to make the best use of your status as a first-time offender.


Misconception #3: You Won’t Get Caught If You Use Drugs in Private

It doesn’t matter whether drug use occurs in public, or in the privacy of your own home – the mere possession of a controlled substance is against the law.

Pinellas County prosecutors commonly seek sentences for drug possession that include random drug testing, substance abuse counseling or treatment, and, depending on your prior criminal record, jail time. Florida law also requires a one-year driver’s license revocation with conviction of possession of many controlled substances.


Misconception #4: Having a Prescription for Marijuana Completely Protects You From Drug Charges

Even with the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida, possessing marijuana that was not purchased at a legitimate, licensed dispensary is illegal. In other words, having a medical marijuana card does not immunize an individual from marijuana prosecution if the marijuana was purchased outside of the regulations of the medical marijuana industry.

Additionally, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and its possession or distribution can lead to federal charges.


If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or the surrounding areas of Pinellas County, give our office a call today at (727) 578-0303 or complete our contact request form.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.