Disclaimer: Flaherty & Merrifield does not represent confidential informants. If that’s your plan, please call someone else.
Every arrest involving possession of a controlled substance without a prescription in Destin is a felony which means you could be facing prison time. Florida Law Enforcement has taken a hard stance on drug possession and prescription medication has been placed at the forefront of their war on drugs. Florida aims to crack down on anything from “pill mills” to the recreational user. This equates to serious penalties for even the most low-level offender.
Florida law does not discriminate between a hardened drug dealer and a private user. This means that no matter who you are, if you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription in Destin, you are facing serious penalties.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I’ve been defending locals, vacationers, and military members accused of drug crimes in Destin since 2001. My partner, Brandy Merrifield, has worked with me since 2007. If you have been charged with drug possession, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 460-7470. Our Destin possession of a controlled substance without a prescription defense lawyers have the experience and expertise to protect your future.
What is Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription?
Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription is a third degree felony. Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a) defines possession on a controlled substance without a prescription as:
“A person may not be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice”
This charge is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a $5000.00 fine, and a permanent felony conviction on your record.
Are there other charges I could face if I obtained the prescription illegally?
The main focus of this page is the possession of controlled substance without a prescription, but if the State accuses you of Prescription Fraud, you face the additional felony charge of Obtaining a Prescription by Fraud.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 893.13(7), it is illegal to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance through the use of fraud, forgery, deception, or misrepresentation.
The most common situations that lead to this charge would be changing an existing prescription, taking a doctor’s prescription pad and filling out your own prescription, or calling in a prescription while pretending to be the doctor or someone from the doctor’s staff.
Obtaining a Prescription by Fraud is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
What does it mean to be charged with Trafficking in Prescription Drugs?
Even if you aren’t a drug dealer, you can still be charged with Trafficking. All Trafficking means under Florida law is that you possessed over a certain amount. Sadly, all Trafficking charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 3 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of 30 years to Life.
Every controlled substance has a different “cut-off” for triggering the Trafficking charge, but here are the most common prescription drugs we see in Destin:
- 4 grams or more but less than 14 grams: 3 year minimum prison sentence.
- 14 grams or more but less than 28 grams: 15 year minimum sentence.
- 28 grams or more but less than 30 kilograms: 25 year minimum sentence.
- 28 grams or more but less than 50: 3 year minimum sentence.
- 50 grams or more but less than 100: 7 year minimum sentence.
- 100 grams or more but less than 300: 15 year minimum sentence.
- 300 grams or more but less than 30 kilograms: 25 year minimum sentence.
- 30 kilograms or more: LIFE sentence.
- 7 grams or more but less than 14: 3 year minimum sentence.
- 14 grams or more but less than 25: 7 year minimum sentence.
- 25 grams or more but less than 100: 15 year minimum sentence.
- 100 grams or more but less than 30 kilograms: 25 year minimum sentence.
- 30 kilograms or more: LIFE sentence.
- 4 grams or more but less than 14: 3 year minimum sentence.
- 14 grams or more but less than 28: 15 year minimum sentence.
- 28 grams or more: 25 year minimum sentence.
Does it matter if the pills weren’t found on me?
Under Florida law possession can be either “constructive” or “or actual”. To understand how to defend a drug case it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney that understands the difference.
The state must prove that the controlled substance was found on your person. This element is very important to defending your case. Actual possession is in your pocket, in your hand or in a piece of clothing that you are wearing.
This term gets a bit tricky and calls for a more creative defense. Constructive means that you have access to the controlled substance. The substance must be known to you and be within “ready reach”. This type of possession arrest happens most often after a traffic stop of a car with more than one person in it.
Defending a Possession of Controlled Substance without a Prescription in Destin
Every case is different, but the following list will give you an idea of the things we will be looking at to find something we can use to help you:
- In depth analysis of the traffic stop, detention and arrest;
- Analyze the use of a canine unit;
- Ensure that your Constitutional Rights were not violated;
- Review the how and why of the search and seizure;
- Find out if the police used a confidential informant;
- Explore whether law enforcement followed exact protocol;
- Speak with any witnesses or co-defendants;
- Explore whether a valid prescription exists;
- Set depositions of officers and witnesses;
- File appropriate motions to have the charge reduced or dismissed; and
- Explore mitigating circumstances
At Flaherty & Merrifield, we defend every client the way we would want our loved ones to be defended if they were in trouble.
If you or a loved one have been charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription in Destin, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 460-7470 for a free consultation.