Drug Crimes

Possession, distribution, manufacturing, and cultivation are all drug crimes that carry severe penalties in Florida. Our Tampa drug crime lawyers use 40+ years of combined experience to combat these.

Tampa Drug Crime Defense Attorneys

Over 40 Years of Combined Legal Experience

Florida has some of the harshest penalties in the nation for drug offenders. The state's mandatory minimum sentences are harsh. Even carrying medication like hydrocodone without proof of a valid prescription could warrant a minimum three-year sentence. 

Drug crimes may include possession, manufacturing, or distribution of controlled substances classified as having a potential for abuse.

These substances can include:

At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., have been representing clients in Florida since 2001, and our results have earned us attention from peers to media outlets on the local and national level. As aggressive litigators, we know what it takes to defend our clients against drug crime convictions. If we take your case, you can trust that we will do everything possible to see that your future is protected.

Penalties for Florida Marijuana Charges

If you have been charged with a marijuana crime, it's important to get a defense attorney like Thomas & Paulk, P.A. on your side. After all, while many scientists and medical experts have produced research that proves marijuana has acceptable medical use, the drug is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance in Florida.

In Florida, marijuana crimes include:

  • Marijuana possession
  • Marijuana cultivation
  • Marijuana trafficking

Each of these charges carry different penalties, the severity of which can vary based on the amount of marijuana involved. Currently, offenders could serve up to one year imprisonment for a misdemeanor marijuana charge or up to 30 years for the harshest felonies.

Florida Penalties for Cocaine Drug Crimes

When a person is caught with cocaine, they’ll likely face possession charges if they are accused of having less than 28 grams of the drug on their person or property. This crime is a third-degree felony in Florida.

Florida cocaine possession penalties include:

  • Up to five years in prison or probation
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Suspension of a drivers license for up to one year

If a person is accused of having more than 28 grams of cocaine, they may face trafficking charges. Cocaine manufacturing, sale, distribution, or trafficking may be charged as a first-degree felony in Florida and can carry extreme penalties based on the amount of cocaine allegedly involved. 

Florida cocaine trafficking penalties include:

  • 28 to 199 grams: 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • 200 to 399 grams: 7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams to 149 kilograms: 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine 

Penalties for Meth-Related Crimes

Possession of meth in Florida, regardless of the amount, can result in at least:

  • 5 years in prison
  • 5 years of probation
  • Fines of up to $5,000

If a person is accused of having 14 grams or more of meth in their possession, they can face increasingly serious charges. Charges for this amount of meth are usually escalated from possession to trafficking. For example, half a gram of crystal meth present in 15 grams of mixture could result in methamphetamine trafficking charges. This results in a mandatory prison sentence, so skilled criminal defense is crucial.

The mandatory minimums for meth trafficking include:

  • 14 to 27 grams: 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • 28 to 199 grams: 7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 200 to 399 grams: 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

When a person receives a felony crystal meth conviction, they’ll also face a two-year suspension of their driver’s license and inhibit a person’s ability to obtain a commercial license in the future. If a person is accused of possessing or trafficking 400 grams or more of amphetamine, they can face life in prison.

Penalties for Heroin Charges in Florida

Any possession of heroin is a third-degree felony. This means you will be facing more serious penalties than you would for lesser drugs. Even just a trace of heroin found in a pipe in your possession could land you behind bars.

If you are convicted of a heroin possession (under 10 grams), you could face:

  • Maximum of 5 years of probation
  • Around $5,000 in fines
  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Driver’s license suspension

If convicted of sale or delivery of heroin, you could face:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Maximum of $10,000 in fines
  • Up to 15 years of probation

If the amount of heroin exceeds 10 grams (for possession or sale), the penalties are much steeper. Offenders could face a first-degree felony conviction, resulting in a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Our Tampa Drug Crime Firm Can Fight for You

Because drug crimes are such serious offenses, the most important step you can take is to seek counsel from  a skilled Tampa drug crime attorney. When you come to our legal team at Thomas & Paulk, you can rest assured that we have the experience and ability to help.

We are an effective drug crime defense team because:

  • We have over four decades of combined experience.
  • We have handled over 7,000 criminal cases.
  • We have experience as former prosecutors.
  • We provide individualized attention to every client.
  • We are prepared, around the clock, to fight for your rights.

If you are facing drug charges, get help immediately. Our Tampa drug crime attorneys are here to defend your interests.

Drug Crime Defense

When your future is complicated by drug charges and your freedom is on the line, you need a strong and skilled team in your corner to protect your constitutional rights. At Thomas & Paulk, our Tampa drug crime defense attorneys have what it takes. We're ready to help.

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Drug Charges in Tampa, FL

Common Tampa, Florida Drug Crimes

In Florida, drug crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the case. The type of controlled substance, the amount involved, and the type of offense itself may all influence the severity of drug charges in Tampa and across Florida.

The following are examples of drug crimes:

  • Possession - The penalties for drug possession will vary depending on the amount and the type of controlled substance involved. Less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, for example, punishable by a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Possession with Intent - Should the defendant have enough of a drug in their possession, as well as paraphernalia or materials, the law enforcement may deem they were only in possession of the drugs because they intended to sell or distribute it.
  • Cultivation - The growing of illegal drugs and controlled substances. It is considered a criminal act of cultivation to have a "grow house" where marijuana is produced. This is known legally as the "manufacture of cannabis" and is a third-degree felony.
  • Manufacturing - Similar to cultivation, manufacturing refers to the illegal production of drugs; however, this is done through heat and chemicals. Producing cocaine or having a meth lab would be considered manufacturing drugs.
  • Trafficking- Trafficking is the selling, purchasing, manufacturing, and delivering of drugs. This could be local, across state lines, or even internationally. Penalties can be severe and may range into the hundreds of thousands of fines, as well as prison time.

In recent years, Florida has become increasingly harsh with both drug crime laws and penalties. Any person who is convicted of a drug crime can expect to spend time in jail, pay substantial fines, and attend mandatory drug and alcohol treatment. Due to the severity of the legal consequences involved, it is always advisable that a person seek out the services of a knowledgeable Tampa drug crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Felony & Misdemeanor Drug Charges in Tampa

Drug-related crimes involving controlled substances named under Section 893.03 of the Florida Statutes, may be charged as felonies of the second or third degree or misdemeanors of the first degree. The type of drug, amount, and act will all influence potential penalties.

Under Section 893.13 of the Florida Statutes, if a person sells, manufactures, delivers, or possesses with the intent to sell certain controlled substances listed in Sec. 893.03, this is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Generally speaking, the above prohibited acts can lead to third-degree or second-degree felony charges or first-degree misdemeanor charges depending on the type of drug involved. 

Schedule V Misdemeanor Drug Charges

Schedule V drugs under Sec. 893.03(5) are substances, compounds, mixtures, or preparations that have a “low potential for abuse” and accepted medical uses.

Controlled substances listed in Sec. 893.03(5) include:

  • Codeine
  • Dihydrocodeine
  • Ethylmporphine
  • Diphenoxylate
  • Opium
  • Difenoxin
  • Ezogabine
  • Lacosamide
  • Pregabalin
  • Stimulants

Offenses involving these substances may be charged as misdemeanors, depending on the amount involved and the alleged act itself. If charged as first-degree misdemeanors, these drug crimes are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine in Florida.

Florida Mandatory Minimum Sentences 

Florida has some of the harshest mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. The courts must follow these rules, resulting in harsh jail sentences even if a person has no prior criminal history. Mandatory minimums require someone to serve a certain amount of time in jail, even if the judge overseeing a case doesn’t believe they deserve such a sentence.

Recently, Florida lawmakers have sought to modify these mandatory minimums. They’ve acknowledged that the harsh laws can result in low-level offenders spending excessive time in the state’s prison system, one of the nation’s largest. The laws for mandatory minimums for drug crimes came when the state was trying to be tough on drug lords. Yet, many legal experts assert that the laws resulted in minor offenders receiving severe sentences.

If you’re facing a drug charge that falls under current Florida mandatory minimum rules, you need the help of our Tampa drug crime lawyers. While nothing can guarantee the outcome of your particular case, experienced counsel can make all the difference in the final result.