There is no question that Florida has a serious drug problem. Drug crimes, overdoses and deaths seem to be on the rise, and authorities continue to enact ever tougher laws and harsher penalties for those involved in drug offenses. You are probably aware that the severity of a drug charge depends on a number of factors, and your ability to defend against any of these factors can mean the difference between a dropped charge, a misdemeanor with a fine or a felony conviction that means decades behind bars.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has developed categories of drugs, with Schedule I being the most likely to be abused and Schedule V having the lowest risk of danger. Nevertheless, even legal prescription drugs can lead to trouble if you misuse or mishandle them. Knowledge is key and having as much information as possible about your circumstances and options can provide you with a better chance for achieving a more positive outcome as you face these criminal charges.
Depending on the kind and quantity of drugs involved, authorities might be less interested in pressing simple possession charges. However, their attention is ever vigilant when it comes to finding and prosecuting those involved in other drug crimes, such as delivering, distributing, smuggling and manufacturing. Even possessing certain items for using packing or storing drugs can lead to charges.
Some penalties following a conviction for drug crimes include:
- Performing community service
- Paying costly fines
- Serving months or years of probation
- Remaining under house arrest
- Serving time in a local or state jail
- Receiving a sentence to be served in federal prison
If you are facing drug charges, even for simple possession, your future could be on the line, especially if you have previous convictions on your record.
Your future after a conviction
While these penalties may be short-term, the offense remains on your record for the rest of your life. This could impede you from achieving your goals, especially if that includes joining the military, receiving federal student loans to complete your education, purchasing a gun or pursuing professional certification for certain jobs. In fact, finding any job is often more difficult with a conviction on your record.
Florida authorities are zealous to arrest and convict those accused of drug crimes, so you must be even more determined to fight the charges that threaten your freedom and your future.