Florida residents charged with possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia might face a conviction that affects various aspects of home and work life. Depending on your job, it could affect your professional license and the jobs you can legally hold. In situations where you face several related charges, the penalties could affect several civil liberties, including a prohibition on the ownership of firearms and the ability to vote.
According to the State of Florida, the use, manufacture or possession of drug paraphernalia is unlawful. This includes items used to plant, grow or manufacture an illegal substance and those for inhaling, ingesting or injecting that substance.
Your defense may begin before you get to trial. Pretrial defenses are often raised through a motion to suppress or motion to dismiss and include:
- Statute of limitations
- Warrantless stop
- Illegal search and seizure
- Speed trial violation
If your case goes to trial, constructive possession, overdose defense, or temporary possession are among the most common defenses.
If your charges include possession of drug paraphernalia, and it’s your first violation, it is often a first-degree misdemeanor. This means you might have fines up to $1,000 and potentially serve a jail term of up to one year and possibly up to one year of probation. If you face drug charges also, it might result in a felony conviction, which typically increases fines, jail time and probation.
When considering your case, the court looks at the item’s proximity to controlled substances and whether you can use it for legitimate purposes. Understanding the law and your options is critical to minimizing the effect of a conviction on the rest of your life or avoiding it altogether.