Drug use and possession crosses all social and economic lines. Earlier this year an elementary school teacher was arrested and charged with possession of several kinds of drugs.
The most common kind of drug possession charges are those involving “recreational drugs” such as marijuana, cocaine, oxycodone and others in amounts generally small enough for personal use.
Proving drug possession in Florida
If you’ve been charged with drug possession, Florida law requires that a prosecutor prove three elements of that charge beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You possessed a substance.
- That substance is a controlled substance under Florida law.
- You had knowledge of the presence of the substance.
Drug possession defenses in Florida
There are a number of defenses to drug possession charges in Florida. You may have a constitutional defense, because the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution both prohibit illegal searches. If the search was unconstitutional, then the drugs found in that search cannot be used as evidence against you.
The prosecutor must prove you possessed the drugs, but possession can encompass different scenarios. Being around a drug is not the same as being in possession of a drug – if officers find drugs in a common area at a party, or in a car or house, the prosecutor must still prove you had knowledge of the drugs and control over them. A defense to drug possession that’s unique to Florida is a person who seeks medical assistance for a drug-related overdose. Drugs found in response to this kind of medical emergency cannot be used to prosecute the caller or person who overdosed.
If you are charged with possession of drugs in Sarasota, Bradenton or Venice, get sound legal advice about available defenses from a well-respected drug crime defense attorney before going to court or talking to the police.