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Drug Charges in Florida: Drug Crimes & Penalties

Drug offenses are considered crimes against society. Because of this, drug charges in Florida can be aggressively prosecuted. In their annual report, the Florida Department of Corrections estimated that 23% of inmates admitted into state prisons from July 2020 to July 2021 were drug offenders. 

Drug laws in Florida can be harsh and confusing if you are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system. Even a misdemeanor drug charge can potentially end in incarceration and long-lasting consequences. You owe it to yourself to seek the help of a drug crime lawyer that can safeguard your future and rights. 

Z. Hernandez Law represents clients facing drug charges in Orange, Lake, Seminole, Marion, and Osceola counties. If you were arrested in or near these locations, call (407) 900-8490 or use our online contact form to book a consultation with drug offense attorney Zarina Hernandez to see how ZHL can help you build a strong defense. 

How a Criminal Lawyer in Orlando Can Help When Facing a Drug Charge

When facing drug charges in Florida, enlisting the help of a lawyer is not an admission of guilt. Having a drug crime lawyer by your side can improve your chances of finding a suitable and aggressive defense for your case. 

At Z. Hernandez Law, we strive to provide our clients with the personalized legal representation they deserve. When taking a case, drug crime attorney Zarina Hernandez analyzes the circumstances of the offense and ensures that her client’s rights are being protected. Based on the evidence gathered, Zarina Hernandez will present you with the legal options and defense strategies available to you as well as the best course of action for your case. 

Some of the drug charges we handle include: 

  • Possession of a controlled substance: carrying or having a drug listed on Florida controlled substance schedules can lead to a possession charge. A key component of this type of offense is that the drug was not meant for selling but the defendant’s personal use. 
  • Trafficking charges: according to Florida drug laws, a trafficking charge arises when a person is unlawfully selling, buying, delivering, or manufacturing a controlled substance. You could also face drug trafficking charges in Florida if you are in possession of a significant amount of drugs. 
  • Distribution: unless authorized under chapter 893, you are not allowed to transfer, sell, deliver, or distribute a controlled substance to someone else. A violation of this law can lead to criminal charges. 
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia: owning products, materials, or equipment that are used to grow, produce, analyze, package, transport, inhale, or ingest drugs is illegal under Florida law. 

A drug charge arises when performing activities with highly regulated substances that you are not authorized to do. If your charge does not appear in the previous list, such as , we may still be able to help. Contact us to book a consultation. 

Florida Drug Charges and Sentences

The penalties and charges associated with drug crimes depend on numerous factors. For instance, the type of controlled substance and the amount found can enhance your charges and their punishments. 

The tables below include the punishments associated with some of Florida’s most common drug charges. More severe offenses may have a mandatory minimum sentence. Additionally, as part of the penalties, people convicted for drug possession crimes may be required to participate in a substance abuse program. 

Florida Drug Possession Penalties

Under Florida drug possession laws, penalties for possessing an controlled and illegal substance can vary widely depending on the type of drug and the amount in possession.

For example, possession of a small amount of cannabis may be classified as a first degree misdemeanor, while possession of other controlled substances such as cocaine or heroin could result in being charged with a first degree felony. Penalties can include imprisonment and fines, with more severe penalties typically reserved for larger quantities or more dangerous drugs.

See the tables below for more specific details of the penalties for drug possession charges in Florida as well as other drug-related crimes.

Misdemeanor crimes

OffenseType of misdemeanorMaximum fineMaximum imprisonment
Possession of drug paraphernaliaFirst degree$1,0001 year
Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis First degree$1,0001 year

Felony drug crimes: Drug possession & trafficking


OffenseType of felonyMaximum fineMaximum imprisonment
Less than 28 grams of cocaineThird degree $5,0005 years
Less than 4 grams of heroin Third degree$5,0005 years
Less than 14 grams of methThird degree$5,0005 years

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking cases involving substantial amounts of a controlled substance. Below are some examples of penalties for common drug trafficking charges. 

OffenseType of felonyMaximum fineMaximum imprisonment
25 but less than 2,000 pounds of cannabisFirst degree $25,00030 years
4 but less than 14 grams of heroin or any morphineFirst degree $50,00030 years
28 but less than 200 grams of cocaineFirst degree $50,00030 years
2,000 but less than 10,000 pounds of cannabisFirst degree $50,00030 years
14 but less than 28 grams of methamphetamineFirst degree$50,00030 years
7 but less than 14 grams of oxycodoneFirst degree$50,00030 years
1 but less than 5 grams of LSDFirst degree$50,00030 years
200 but less than 400 grams of cocaineFirst degree $100,00030 years
14 but less than 28 grams of heroin or any morphineFirst degree $100,00030 years
28 but less than 200 grams of methamphetamineFirst degree$100,00030 years
14 but less than 25 grams of oxycodoneFirst degree$100,00030 years
5 but less than 7 grams of LSDFirst degree$100,00030 years
10,000 pounds or plants of cannabisFirst degree $200,00030 years
400 grams – 150 kg of cocaineFirst degree $250,00030 years
200 grams or more of methamphetamineFirst degree$250,00030 years
28 grams – 30 kg of heroin or any morphineFirst degree $500,00030 years
25 but less than 100 grams of oxycodoneFirst degree $500,00030 years
7 grams or more of LSDFirst degree$500,00030 years
100 grams – 30 kg of oxycodoneFirst degree$750,00030 years

How to Beat a Drug Charge in Orlando, FL

Facing Florida drug charges does not mean that you are necessarily facing a conviction and the penalties associated with it. However, it does mean that you have been formally accused of committing a crime. At this stage of your case, a solid defense is the only thing that stands between you and the harsh consequences of a conviction. 

Below are some common defenses to drug crimes in Florida. Keep in mind that these strategies may vary depending on the circumstances of your case: 

  • You have a valid prescription
  • You were not in control of the controlled substance
  • The drug is not listed in Florida schedules
  • Law enforcement violated your constitutional rights
  • You were a victim of entrapment 

Charged with a Drug Crime? Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney

Florida’s drug laws are harsh and can lead to severe penalties and consequences. If you are facing a drug charge in Florida, it may be in your best interest to seek competent legal representation. A criminal defense lawyer can help to build a strong defense to try to reduce your charges or have them dropped while safeguarding your rights and future. 

Z. Hernandez Law is a criminal defense law firm representing clients facing charges in Orlando, Maitland, Kissimmee, Ocala, Ocoee, Altamonte Springs, Deltona, Longwood, and surrounding cities. Contact us via email form or call (407) 900-8490 to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.

Legal information reviewed by:
Zarina Hernandez | Founder & Attorney

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