Possession of a Controlled Substance

It is illegal to possess a controlled substance under Florida law. Florida Statute § 893.13 states that it is unlawful for a person to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. If convicted, a possession of a controlled substance charge can carry heavy penalties.

The penalties for possessing a controlled substance are reliant on the amount and type of drug seized. Many believe that these types of charges involve only street drugs such as cocaine or heroin. However, you can be charged with possession with certain prescription medications such as Valium or Vicodin. If not authorized, possessing or using these drugs can lead to criminal charges.

If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation.

St. Lucie County Attorneys for Possession of a Controlled Substance

Have you been arrested for possessing a controlled substance in the Treasure Coast, Florida area? It is highly advised that you exercise your right to remain silent with authorities. Gain trusted legal representation with the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell.

Meltzer & Bell is a group of established attorneys who focus on criminal defense. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are compassionate with clients and aggressive in the courtroom. We excel at creating strong defenses and uncovering all legal options for our clients. Get ahead of the prosecution today. Find an attorney with Meltzer & Bell.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell represent those accused of drug offenses throughout the greater Martin County and St. Lucie County area including Stuart, Fort Pierce, Rio, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter Island.

Call us now at (772) 291-2534, and set up a free consultation for your drug crime.

Overview for Possession of a Controlled Substance in FL


Definitions for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida

Florida law states it is illegal for a person to possess any kind of controlled substance. A person can be in either actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. Depending on the amount and type of drug, statutory penalties will apply.

The term “actual possession” is when an illegal drug is found on a person’s physical person. This can be their purse, in their hand, in their pocket, or anywhere within “ready reach,” then the case will be filed under actual possession.

On the other hand, “constructive possession” is not as simple. If the controlled substance is deemed to be under the alleged offender’s dominion or control, it is considered constructive possession. An example can be if the illegal drug was stashed in a motor vehicle that is registered to the alleged offender.

The following are some controlled substances that are illegal under Florida law.

  • MDMA (Molly)
  • Codeine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Opium
  • Valium
  • Marijuana
  • LSD or Acid
  • Xanax
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine

Florida Drug Schedules

Controlled substances are classified under different schedules to determine their risk of abuse. Florida has drug schedules that range from Schedule I to Schedule V, categorized by risk of dependency and accepted medical usage.

  • Schedule I – A schedule I drug has the highest potential for abuse. No schedule I drugs currently have no accepted medical usage. Schedule I drugs have the most serious penalties under Florida’s justice system. Some examples of schedule I drugs include: ecstasy, heroin, LSD, and marijuana.
  • Schedule II – Schedule II drugs also have a very high potential for addiction. Some Schedule II drugs can be used medically, however it is not common. Some examples for schedule II drugs include cocaine and methamphetamines.
  • Schedule III – Drugs under schedule II have a moderate to low risk for abuse. They can, however, still create drastic psychological and physical effects. Some examples include: testosterone, and anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV – Schedule IV drugs have a much lower potential for abuse. Additionally, it can be used medically in some cases. There may be some physical and psychological dependence for these drugs, but it is very rare. Some examples include: Robitussin, Lyrica, and Lomotin.

Penalties for Possession for a Controlled Substance in St. Lucie County, FL

Statutory penalties for controlled substances are dependent on the amount seized and the drug’s schedule. Marijuana, however, can be an exception. If a person possesses 20 grams or less of cannabis, the crime is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. This happens despite the fact that marijuana is a schedule I drug.

If there is a large quantity of the controlled substance, the charges may be elevated. Often when law enforcement finds illegal drugs in bulk they will try to file charges for possession with intent to sell. A possession with intent to sell offense has harsher penalties than simple possession. Additionally, if the crime happens under federal jurisdiction, the penalties are enhanced.


Additional Resources

Florida Drug Possession Laws – Visit the official website for Florida laws and rules. Find more information regarding the specifics of possession offenses, drug trafficking, and drug manufacturing. Learn more regarding the penalties and possible admissible defenses that can be used in court.

Treasure Coast Drug Courts – Visit the official website for the drug courts in the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida. Find more information regarding the drug courts requirements, forms, and locations for various drug courts along the Treasure Coast


Lawyer for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida

Have you been arrested for possession of a controlled substance in the St. Lucie County and Martin County area? You need to be aware of what different routes your case may take. Hiring a skilled attorney can greatly increase your chances of having your charges reduced or dismissed.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are well versed in Florida’s drug laws and courts. We understand that the legal process can be daunting. It is our job to relieve your mind by finding the best possible legal option for your case. Put your future in trusted hands. Get in contact with an attorney at Meltzer & Bell.

Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida including Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, and Rio,

Dial us today at (772) 291-2534, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation.


This article was last updated on September 5, 2018.

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