Are you facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in Pinellas County? Do the substances you’re being charged for actually fall under the controlled category? Knowing the answers is important if you want to litigate those possession charges and get your life back.
Our drug crimes attorney in St. Petersburg gives a brief overview of the controlled substances for which you can be charged criminally in Pinellas County.
What are Controlled Substances?
Controlled substances refer to drugs or medications that are tightly regulated by the government because of their potential for abuse and/or lack of a recognized medical or therapeutic purpose. Under the standard controlled substances laws, how these drugs or substances are handled, stored, distributed, and used are regulated and subject to the government’s oversight. Both criminal and civil penalties can be applied for violating Florida’s controlled substances laws, depending on the circumstances.
Our drug crimes defense attorney in St Petersburg explains the five schedules for controlled substances according to Florida Statute 893.03.
This section defines controlled substances with the highest potential for abuse or no medically accepted use in the United States of America. The schedule further states that using these drugs even under medical supervision does not meet acceptable safety standards. These include:
- Fentanyl derivatives,
- Hallucinogenic substances,
- Synthetic cannabinoids,
- Compounds containing THC,
- And other drugs of similar nature.
This section defines controlled substances with a high potential for abuse, no medical use, or usage that can cause severe psychological and physical dependence. The controlled substances in this schedule include:
- Opium-related drugs,
- and morphine.
This section defines controlled substances with less potential for abuse and addiction than drugs and substances specified in Schedule I and Schedule II. They include:
- Anabolic steroids,
- Derivatives of barbituric acid,
- Synthetic THC in sesame oils,
- And products containing gamma-hydroxybutyric acid.
The substances covered under this section have a smaller chance of causing addiction, and have currently accepted medical uses for treatment in the United States. Examples include:
Schedule V controlled substances are categorized as drugs and substances derived from mixing other controlled substances to a limited degree. The mixture should contain more medicinal ingredients. One such example is cough suppressants that contain opioids or other pharmaceutical strength analgesics.
Penalties for Possessing Controlled Substances in Pinellas County
Penalties for possession of schedule I and schedule II drugs are the most severe since those have a higher potential for abuse. Here is the breakdown of those penalties by our drug crimes attorney in St. Petersburg.
Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis (a schedule 1 drug) leads to a penalty of up to 1 year in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine.
Third Degree Felonies
Possessing any of the following amounts of schedule I and II drugs can cause you to be charged with a third-degree felony.
- Cocaine—less than 28 grams;
- Cannabis—20 grams or more;
- Crystal Meth (Methamphetamine)—less than 14 grams;
- Heroin—less than four grams;
- Xanax—any amount without a valid prescription from a valid doctor; and
- Oxycodone—less than seven grams without a valid prescription.
Third-degree felony penalties include a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In addition, all “simple” possession drug charges carry a mandatory 6 month driver license suspension, if convicted.
Are You Facing Drug Charges in Florida?
If you’re facing drug charges in Pinellas County, Florida, getting the right legal representation may help you avoid conviction, obtain treatment alternatives instead of jail, or result in a dismissal of the charge.
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.