Florida is trying to control prescription drug abuse in the state. To that end, the state has created some of the country's strictest prescription medication possession laws. In Florida, the possession of any amount of a prescription drug is illegal without a valid prescription. Fla. Stat. § 893.13(6)(a) means that you cannot have prescription medication that belongs to someone else, nor may you have a prescription for restricted medications written by an unauthorized individual. Fla. Stat. § 893.13(9)(c) outlines some exceptions to this law for medical professionals and pharmaceutical representatives who need to transport controlled medications for work purposes.
Penalties for Prescription Drugs in Florida
Florida’s drug restrictions follow the Federal Controlled Substance Act, which breaks drugs into five Schedules. Drugs with a Schedule I designator have the least medicinal value and the highest likelihood for abuse. Many of the most common prescription drugs have a Schedule II designator. Common prescriptions like hydrocodone and codeine are examples of legally prescribed medicines that are highly restricted. Unlawful possession of any controlled medication, even some of the most common prescriptions, without the required documentation could result in a third-degree felony charge. A conviction could result in up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $5,000.
Suppose you have an amount of controlled medication predetermined by the state to exceed the amount needed for medicinal use. In that case, you may be charged with unlawful possession with intent to sell. Being charged with unlawful possession of a restricted substance in quantities large enough to qualify as intent to sell can lead to second-degree or third-degree felony charges. A second-degree felony carries penalties and fines of no more than 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 or less. Larger amounts of controlled drugs move from intent to sell to trafficking charges, which at the Schedule II level carry a first-degree felony charge. A conviction of this level would result in 30 years or less in prison and a fine of $50,000 or less.
Prescription Drug State Oversight
To help further regulate and track controlled restricted medications and controlled substances, the state of Florida has a monitoring program known as the Electronic Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substance Evaluation Program (E-FORCSE.) Law enforcement can track medications back to the doctors who prescribed them. Florida laws are very clear about how prescription drugs found in possession of those without valid prescriptions will be treated. So, if you have been charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance in Florida, our team can help develop your legal strategy.
Call the legal team from Mitchell & West LLC today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation.