A drug is considered illegally possessed when it is on the Schedule of controlled substances and has not been legally prescribed. When classifying common drug possession offenses in Ft Lauderdale, the law takes into consideration the certain substances that a person cannot get a prescription for. There are drugs that are illegal, have no medical value, and have a high potential for abuse such as cocaine, cracked cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, ecstasy, and PCP. Where the substance or illegal drug falls on the Schedule dictates how that particular possession is prosecuted. If you suspect you will be charged or arrested for a possession offense, a distinguished drug possession lawyer can help you prepare a strong argument for your case.
Defining Illegal Possession
Common drug possession offenses in Ft Lauderdale are generally prosecuted under Florida Statute. One of the elements of possession of an illegal drug in Fort Lauderdale is the knowledge of the illegal nature of the controlled substance or drug. The authorities must prove that the item possessed is a controlled substance on a Schedule as defined by Florida law. There are two ways law enforcement can do that, out in the field or after the arrest by way of crime lab testing (usually done by the Broward Sheriff’s Office).
Role of Prescription Possession
Many times a prescription can mean the difference between being prosecuted or not for being in possession of an illegal drug in Fort Lauderdale. Possession of anxiety medication such as alprazolam, Xanax, and valium without a prescription is considered an illegal act or possession of an illegal drug. Possession of narcotics for pain without a prescription is considered possession of an illegal drug in Fort Lauderdale and includes oxycodone, Vicodin, codeine, Percocet and certain types of amphetamines likes Adderall commonly used for attention deficit disorder.
Impact of Probable Cause on Prosecution
A police officer can do a field test to establish probable cause for common drug possession offenses in Ft Lauderdale. For somebody to be prosecuted, testing by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office crime lab is required to identify the controlled substance. It must be proven that the individual had knowledge of the drug. The prosecutor must show that the person knew or should have known about the illicit nature of the controlled substance and its presence.
The prosecutor must prove that the individual had possession or actual control (constructive possession) of the controlled substance or the drug. The person must have the drug or controlled substance on their person or close enough to establish constructive possession. Most drug cases or drug possession cases in Fort Lauderdale fall under the felony category of prosecution as compared to a misdemeanor.
Possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor in Fort Lauderdale. Depending on the type of drug, the amount, and where the drug appears in the Schedule dictates whether the charge is a first, second, or third-degree felony.
Following a Drug Arrest
When someone is arrested for common drug possession offenses in Ft Lauderdale, they are booked, fingerprinted and either have to post bail or bond to get out of jail. There might be restrictions of their release. Restrictions of movement, drug testing, drug treatment, and then they would have to answer to the charges in court and mount a defense to those charges.
Although an individual is presumed innocent, there are certain agencies or governmental entities that require reporting requirements within a certain period of time beyond arrest. There are other agencies that only require a reporting after the case is over or if the individual pleads no contest. If an individual has employment concerns they should research any reporting requirements following a drug arrest. A lot of people get in trouble for failure to report, which is often a short term or the immediate consequence that an individual would need to be aware of.