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How drug charges are determined

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Drug Charges

Determining the level of drug charges a defendant receives in Florida is not always based on the amount of drugs confiscated by law enforcement. Other material facts of the situation may be included as well. Many warrants are served in “roundups” by police after lengthy investigations. Some charges may be filed as trafficking while others will only be charged with receiving or possessing drugs or paraphernalia. Aside from contraband amounts, there are three criteria Florida prosecutors use.

Substance type

The first determining factor in filing drug charges is the type of substance. Certain drugs like marijuana are considered less dangerous than other chemicals and are the lowest on the scale. Additionally, medical marijuana is allowed in the state, so having a prescription can matter. However, there is a limit on the amount a patient may possess.

Substance knowledge

Intent is also a component of prosecuting defendants in any drug case in Florida. The defendant must understand the chemical is illicit and that even possessing it constitutes a crime. Some defendants are caught in the middle in drug stings or traffic stops, and certain criteria of acknowledgement can apply when charges are submitted to the court.

Substance control

Not all drug charge defendants have actual control of an illegal substance that may be found in their home or a location that they oversee. While they may control a property where a warrant is served, they may not control the chemicals found. In some cases, the defendant may not even know it was there.

While drug cases will often include multiple parties, Florida prosecutors typically have no legitimate interest in going after those who are marginally complicit. Not only can the case be readily dismissed, but it wastes government resources in the process.