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If you’ve been watching TV lately, you’ve probably seen many of the new scripted dramas about the opioid drug crisis. Florida had a long public battle to try and reign in the state’s prescription drug problems. Even with so many other states putting laws in place to fight pain medicine diversion, at the height of the opioid fight, Florida still was struggling to fight prescription pill abuse. Subsequently, Florida laws are very strict drugs laws. The state’s aggressive position regarding possession, distribution, and abuse of controlled substances can be seen in the frequency at which the state prosecutors fight to impose maximum fines and sentences for offenders.

Five Drug Schedules

There are five different illegal drug or controlled substance categories used in Florida to classify how drugs are handled in the state. For example, some drugs have medicinal uses, and others have a strong likelihood of drug diversion.

The Florida illegal/controlled substance drug schedule includes:

  • Schedule I: Drugs in this category have a high likelihood of abuse, and they also have no known medicinal purposes. Examples of drugs in this category include heroin and LSD.
  • Schedule II: Drugs in this category have the potential for abuse but can also be used medicinally with strict restrictions. Examples of drugs in this category include cocaine or morphine. Any medical use of these drugs would be limited due to their high potential for dependency.
  • Schedule III: Drugs in this category can be abused, but the likelihood of abuse is much lower than higher scheduled drugs. These drugs have medicinal uses, but they also have a high potential for dependency. An example of a drug in this category would be anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs in this category have a low potential for abuse, and they are also more widely used medically. These drugs can create dependency, but not commonly. An example of a drug in this category would be Diazepam.
  • Schedule V: Drugs in this category have the lowest potential for abuse. Because the usage of these drugs is not likely to lead to addiction, they are widely used for medical purposes.

Penalties for Possession of Illegal Drugs

Penalties for illegal drug possession in Florida are stiff. The penalties and fines are determined by the amount of drugs found in the possession of the defending party when they were arrested.

  • Schedule I: Defendants with more than 10 g of a Schedule I drug are guilty of a 1st-degree felony.

Sentence: 30 yrs. or less in prison

Fine: $10,000 or less in fines

  • Schedule II-V: Defendants with more than 10 grams of any controlled substance in categories II -V is guilty of a 3rd-degree felony.

Sentence: 5 yrs. Or less in prison

Fine: $5,000 or less in fines

Marijuana is increasingly becoming decriminalized in many states, but not in Florida. It is still very much a crime to use, possess, or sell marijuana in Florida. If you are found in possession of marijuana, you could face serious consequences.

  • Less than 20g of marijuana is a 1st-degree misdemeanor

Sentence: 1 yr in prison

Fine: $1000 or less in fines

  • More than 20g of marijuana is a 3rd-degree felony

Sentence: 5 yrs or less in prison

Fine: $5,000 or less in fines

Contact a Florida Federal Drug Crimes Attorney

Being charged with a drug crime is serious and showing up for court without adequate representation is unwise. Drug laws in Florida are very clear about how all illegal drugs are treated in the state. From prescription drugs without valid prescriptions to recreational marijuana purchased out of state, 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.