Disclaimer: We do not represent snitches. If your plan to get out of trouble involves working with the cops, we are definitely not the firm for you. We will not help you get other people in trouble.
Okaloosa County has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug possession. If you are found with the smallest amount of controlled substance or drugs, you will be facing criminal charges. Depending on the drug, the charge will either be a misdemeanor or felony.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I’ve been an Okaloosa County drug crime defense lawyer since 2001. Brandy Merrifield is my partner. If you have been charged with a drug crime, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.
Common Drug Charges in Okaloosa County
The drug offenses that are most common in Okaloosa County include:
The general consensus regarding marijuana is that it is not nearly as dangerous or habit-forming as other controlled substances. While many other states have either legalized or decriminalized the personal use of marijuana, under Florida law, marijuana possession is still illegal unless you have a medical use exemption. Marijuana is the only listed drug per Florida Statutes that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor, while 20 grams or more is a felony.
Misdemeanor possession of Marijuana in Okaloosa County
Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor and a conviction will result in up to 1 year in the county jail, 1 year of probation and fines.
Felony possession of Marijuana in Okaloosa County
Possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana is a felony under Florida law. Felony marijuana possession is punishable by up to 5 years in the Florida Department of Corrections along with up to a $5000.00 fine.
It is also a felony to possess ANY amount of THC oil or concentrate.
Heroin and Opioid use is on the rise and law enforcement is out in full force to eliminate this drug in Okaloosa County. The problem is, the authorities seem more interested in punishing and locking up addicts vs. getting them the help they need.
Heroin or Opioid possession is a third-degree felony and the penalties can be up to 5 years in the Florida Department of Corrections along with up to $5,000 in fines.
Trafficking in controlled substances is an automatic prison sentence if convicted. The problem with trafficking is that even a small amount for personal use can justify a trafficking charge. The schedule, type and amount of drug alleged will dictate the length of prison sentence you will face. A trafficking conviction means a prison sentence between 3 and 30 years.
How are drugs classified in Okaloosa County?
All known narcotics are classified in schedules. Florida Statute §893.03 dictates the scheduled class for each drug. The class is determined by the potency and potential for addiction. For a more in-depth look at Florida’s take on drug class schedules, see this page.
Actual vs. Constructive Possession in Okaloosa County Drug Cases
In order for the State to prove that you are guilty of possession of a controlled substance they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) You knew of the presence of a substance; (2) You exercised control or ownership over that substance; (3) The substance was (specific substance alleged).
Actual Possession versus Constructive Possession
Sometimes, law enforcement is more concerned with getting the arrest and confiscating the illegal substance than following the law and procedure. That mistake can be used to your benefit. To prove you possessed an illegal substance the State must show that you had actual or constructive possession.
Actual possession means that you are aware of the presence of an illegal substance and that the substance is either on your person or in such close proximity that it is in your immediate reach. This is also called “ready reach.” If you are found with drugs in your pocket you would “actually” possess the illegal substance.
Constructive possession means that you are aware of the presence of an illegal substance and that the substance is in a place in which you have control. An example of constructive possession is if you were found to have drugs in your car and you are the only person in the car.
What you can expect from an Okaloosa County Drug Crime Attorney
Having experienced Okaloosa County defense attorneys on your side gives you peace of mind. We will examine whether the police followed the law and proper procedure. If they didn’t, we will file a motion in court to have the evidence suppressed or the case dismissed.
Every client we defend can count on:
- Demand for all evidence the State has against you
- Extensive review of the evidence, video, arrest, and possession issues
- Depositions of law enforcement officers
- Pretrial motions that could get evidence suppressed or your case dismissed
- Review of your priorities and exploration of treatment options if needed
- The knowledge that you will have an experienced Okaloosa County criminal defense team working for you to get your life back on track.
Alternative Sentences for Drug Crimes in Okaloosa County
While the penalties for drug possession in Okaloosa County are strict, you have options. Many times drug users are simply personal users who have an addiction and need help in overcoming their addiction. Prison is not the place to fight an addiction to drugs but sometimes, that is where drug users end up. If you are a first time offender, we can explore pretrial diversion programs as a way to keep this off your record. For some cases, we can also explore treatment options in place of incarceration.
Contact an Okaloosa County Drug Crime Defense Attorney Today
You need experience and advocacy on your side. After a conviction is not the time to wonder if you made the right decision. When you are ready to be defended and not judged, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.
For information about my other Okaloosa practice areas, click here.