Can drug charges be dropped?

marijuana buds on a black backdrop

Dealing With Drug Charges

As a coastal state, Florida is vulnerable to illegal drug trafficking. With that in mind, the state has implemented strict laws for drug charges. What the different levels and types of drug charges are can be confusing. When a person is arrested on drug charges, it is recommended to obtain legal counsel, but the following questions and answers can give some help.

What are the types of drug charges?

Drug charges typically involve illegal drugs. There are three degrees which drug charges are based on: 

  • The drug type
  • The amount/weight of the drug
  • The suspected intention of the drugs

In the state of Florida, common drug charges include the following: 

  • Possession
  • Fraudulent custody of a controlled substance
  • Intent to distribute
  • Drug trafficking
  • Delivery, selling, or combination of both
  • Attempted sale of controlled substance or illegal drugs
  • Possession of drug manufacturing equipment or drug paraphernalia 
  • Distribution of controlled substances or illegal drugs 
  • Manufacturing and cultivating illegal drugs

Common drug charges are typically the chemicals contained in, or the following drugs, listed in alphabetical order: 

  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines

Prescription drugs that include the following can also lead to drug charges.

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax

Do drug charges ever get dropped?

Yes, but you’ll want an experienced criminal drug defense attorney to represent you. They will know the ins and outs of the drug charges and the situation that surrounds the drug charges. The most common defense for drug charges is insufficient evidence, you’ll want that experience on your side. There are elements to every drug charge that the state prosecution will need to prove in order to get a conviction that sticks. 

Each of the elements have to be proven in a court of law, beyond a reasonable doubt as stated by the legal system. If any of the elements can’t be proven, then the drug charges must be dropped. 

Are all drug charges felonies?

Any possession of a controlled substance without a legal prescription is a crime in the state of Florida. The level of drug charges that a person may face will depend on a few different factors. Among those factors is the amount and type of drugs, and in several cases, drug charges for drug possession is classified as a felony, but there are some instances in which charges are classified a misdemeanor.

How many years do you get for drug charges?

Depending on the drug, Florida has five different schedules for controlled dangerous substances and illegal drugs they could be classified under that will determine the sentencing. The schedule types are listed as such: 

  • Schedule I: Drugs with a high potential for abuse that do not have an accepted medical use. This includes heroin and LSD.
  • Schedule II: Drugs with a high potential for abuse that may have an  accepted medical use under strict restrictions. This includes cocaine, morphine, and opium.
  • Schedule III: Drugs with a potential for less extent of abuse than Schedule I and Schedule II and have a possible medical use with a little chance of moderate physical or psychological dependence. Anabolic steroids fit under this schedule.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs with a lower abuse potential than those already mentioned and have a medical purpose but can lead to physical or psychological abuse. Diazepam falls under this schedule. 
  • Schedule V: Drugs with a low abuse potential than the other scheduled drugs listed and have a medical purpose but can have the potential of being physical and psychological dependent. These are small doses of a narcotic drug. 

The amount of the drug will determine the severity of drug charges of possession. The penalties can vary as follows:

  • Over 10 grams of a Schedule I drug: First degree felony
    • Penalty: Maximum 30 years jail time and/or a maximum fine of $10,000
  • Over 10 grams of other controlled dangerous substance: Third degree felony
    • Penalty: Maximum 5 years prison and/or a maximum fine of $5,000
  • 20 grams of marijuana: First  degree misdemeanor.
    • Penalty: Maximum 1 year prison and/or maximum fine of $1,000.
  • Over 20 grams marijuana: Third degree felony
    • Penalty: Maximum of 5 years prison and/or maximum fine of $5,000.

Can felony drug charges be reduced?

A person with previous drug charges resulting in a felony conviction cannot have the drug charges expunged or removed. With experience and expertise, a criminal attorney with experience in drug charges may be able to get charges dropped if the person doesn’t have any previous record. 

Can drug possession charges be dropped?

Again, with an experienced criminal defense attorney, drug charges can be dropped if they are able to show the state doesn’t have adequate evidence. 

Can drug trafficking charges be reduced?

No, mandatory minimum sentencing is imposed with the state drug trafficking laws. However, an experienced criminal attorney with drug charges can get the sentencing lowered based on the person’s criminal record and the surrounding situation of the drug charges. If the drug charges are on school property or in the presence of a minor, getting the sentence lowered will be unlikely. 

How do you beat drug charges?

In Florida, the legal defenses used in most cases that can get drug charges dropped is if the defense attorney can prove the person charged was not in control of the drugs or didn’t have any knowledge of drugs being present. 

various kinds of drugs on a black table

When You Have Drug Charges – Who Do You call? 

So, to answer one final question. For your best bet of getting the drug charges dropped or getting the minimum sentencing possible, what type of lawyer handles drug charges? The answer here is simple. Find a criminal defense lawyer that has experience in drug charges. They will typically advertise themselves as such, but your local bail bond agency call often point you in the right direction as well.