In Florida, it is illegal to possess certain prescription medications without a valid prescription. More specifically, Florida Statute §893.13(6) states that an individual can be charged with possession of a controlled substance if they possess a controlled substance, “unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice….”
Pursuant to Florida Statute §893.03, controlled substances are classified into five distinct categories known as schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. The five schedules range from the most serious drugs with the most severe penalties (Schedule I) to the least serious drugs with the lightest penalties (Schedule IV). For a list of the drugs included in each schedule, click here to view Florida Statute §893.03.
To show “possession” of a narcotic drug within the Florida statute relating to unlawful possession of narcotic drugs, the state must prove that (1) the defendant had physical or constructive possession of the drug, (2) the defendant had knowledge of the presence of the drug, and (3) the drug possessed is actually the specific drug alleged to be in possession of the person (e.g., the Xanax pills must be Xanax and not in fact over-the-counter aspirin tablets).
The punishment for drug possession charges in Florida depends on the type of controlled substance, the type of charge, and the degree of the misdemeanor or felony. A conviction for possession of a Schedule V controlled substance (e.g., codeine) without a prescription is a misdemeanor of the first degree, which can result in a term of imprisonment of up to one year and/or fines in an amount up to $1,000. A conviction for possession of controlled substances in Schedule I (e.g., heroin, LSD), Schedule II (e.g., hydrocodone, Adderall, Ritalin), Schedule III (e.g., anabolic steroids) or Schedule IV (e.g., Xanax, Valium) without a prescription is a third degree felony, which can result in a term of imprisonment up to five years and/or fines in an amount up to $5,000.
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in South Florida, contact the Miami criminal defense attorneys and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Yale L. Galanter, P.A. to discuss the facts of your particular case. Yale Galanter and his team of experienced and aggressive drug possession attorneys will make every effort to help you avoid serious repercussions and consequences for your alleged drug possession offense.