When does drug possession become a felony offense in Florida?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Firm News

Being arrested for having drugs in your possession is likely to result in significant consequences. Florida police and the prosecution take drug offenses seriously and the penalties associated with possession charges reflect this reality.

Having said that, being arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana is unlikely to have the same repercussions as being found with a drug like cocaine or heroin. Below is an introductory explanation of how Florida broadly categorizes its drug offenses.

Drugs are graded on a Schedule from I to V

Alongside many other states, Florida categorizes drugs using a sliding scale from one to five. Schedule I generally names the drugs with the highest potential for abuse and V names those with the lowest. There is some variation based on medicinal uses, though. A drug that serves a legitimate medical purpose and is highly addictive will likely be ranked lower than a drug that is equally addictive and serves no legitimate medical purpose.

As an example, drugs in Schedule I and II include the likes of heroin, LSD, opium and morphine. Schedule III and IV include drugs such as ketamine, anabolic steroids, tramadol and diazepam. Schedule V drugs include Motofen and Lyrica.

When does an offense for possession become a felony?

The seriousness of the penalty for a drug possession charge depends on the type of drug involved and the amount that you’re found to be in possession of.

Being found in possession of a Schedule V drug, or a small amount of cannabis, is likely to be considered a misdemeanor offense. After this, possession becomes a felony offense of different degrees ranging from first to third. The penalties upon conviction of a felony offense range from thousands of dollars in fines up to 30 years in prison.

Given the seriousness of an arrest for possession of drugs, it’s important to make sure you have the right assistance when putting together your defense. Because the stakes of your case are so high, now is not the time to employ a “DIY” approach to your legal situation.