In some ways, a first-time drug offense in Florida is almost scarier than a repeat offense. You don’t know what to expect and might not be sure how much trouble you’re in. Will you have to serve jail time if this is your first offense, or can you get away with paying a fine?
Do first-time drug offenders have to go to jail?
You don’t have to be caught selling or manufacturing drugs to receive drug charges. The mere act of possessing illegal drugs can result in a misdemeanor. In the state of Florida, illegal drugs are defined as banned substances like meth, heroin, bath salts and non-medical marijuana that wasn’t prescribed by a doctor.
The smallest charge for drug possession is a first degree misdemeanor, which is given to people who are caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana. If you’re caught with more than 20 grams of marijuana or any amount of another drug, your charge will be upgraded to a felony. Either way, all drug charges come with the potential for jail time.
If you’re charged with a misdemeanor for your first offense, you could be facing up to a year in prison. Third degree felony charges come with up to five years in prison, while a first degree felony can result in thirty years in prison.
Are you facing drug charges?
If you’re being charged with drug possession, it might seem like a simple open-and-shut case. At the very least, however, your attorney might be able to get your charges reduced or argue for a more lenient punishment. You might be able to avoid jail time and take classes or pay a fine instead.