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Each year thousands of people are arrested for drug crimes in Florida, and most of these arrests are for simple possession. While many states are working toward reducing the penalties for drug possession and decriminalizing marijuana, Florida has not kept up with curve. Some states have enacted legislation to allow and even encourage law enforcement to write citations and issues summonses to appear for drug possession violations, but Florida police officers are still arresting, booking and charging defendants for simple possession at an alarming rate. The numbers are the best illustration of this ongoing problem, as FDLE reported over 13 thousand drug arrests in Miami-Dade County in 2018. Palm Beach County and Broward County each reported about 8 thousand drug arrests that same year, so almost 30,000 people were arrested on drug charges in South Florida in 2018. Martin and St. Lucie Counties reported close to 2 thousand drug arrests each in 2018, which is still high considering their much smaller populations. If you or a loved has been arrested in the Tri-County area or along the Treasure Coast, do not risk going to court without a lawyer. Thousands of lives are severely affected by drug possession charges, but a lawyer can help make sure your case is resolved in a way that doesn’t harm your future and your freedom. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who specializes in drug possession cases in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, as well as along the Treasure Coast. He has successfully defended hundreds of clients on drug charges, and has won jury trials and motions to suppress across South Florida. Benjamin is available for a free consultation 7 days a week at (954) 543-0305, and has flexible meeting times at his offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. He is also willing to travel anywhere from Homestead to Fort Pierce to meet at a convenient location.
The Florida drug possession laws are based around the Federal Controlled Substances Act, but there are only 3 different groups of drugs for the laws regarding drug possession. Marijuana possession (known legally as cannabis) is the most common drug charge, and the severity of the offense depends on the amount. Anything less than 20 grams is a first-degree misdemeanor, and anything over 20 grams is a felony. Cannabis must contain more than .3 percent THC or else it is hemp, which is legal. The hemp legalization laws have limited a police officer’s ability to detain and search a person based on the odor of marijuana alone. Possession of a trace amounts of cannabis or even a burnt roach is still a crime in Florida, and law enforcement still has the power to arrest a person for possessing a joint. It’s unjust, unfair and needs to change immediately, but for now that’s the law. Benjamin continues to do whatever it takes to help defendants fight marijuana charges, and he is standing by to offer a free consultation how he can help you.
Possession of a schedule 5 controlled substance is the least common offense, and really only applies to codeine. Any violation of this offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, with a 60-day maximum penalty. Possession of any other controlled substance whether legally produced or not is a considered a third-degree felony, regardless of how little the person actually possessed. Common controlled substances that are not legally produced include heroin, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine (crystal meth) and LSD. Heroin, LSD and ecstasy are all schedule 1 controlled substances, which means that possession of more than 10 grams is considered a first-degree felony. Prescription drugs classified as controlled substances are illegal to possess without authorization. Anyone found to be in possession of oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), Adderall and Ritalin without a prescription faces felony prosecution. The same goes for schedule 4 controlled substances such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Soma, Darvocet, Tramadol and even the popular sleeping pill Ambien. Just one pill of these drugs can result in a felony charge that can haunt a person for the rest of their life. Do not let a felony drug possession charge be the reason why you don’t get accepted into school or why you lose your job or professional license, and do not let it impact your immigration status. Benjamin Herbst is a skilled South Florida drug possession lawyer that will do whatever it takes to preserve your future and keep you out of jail. He has extensive experience representing juvenile defendants, in addition to adults in county and circuit court. Benjamin firmly believes the Florida drug laws need to be changed, and he takes this fight into courtrooms across the state. Call Benjamin today and learn how he can fight for you.