Controlled Substances: Florida’s Drug Laws Beyond Marijuana

By Lowry Law Firm | Posted on February 12, 2016

The DEA categorizes controlled substances under five categories. Categorizing a drug as a controlled substance means that the use, possession, manufacture, and transport of that substance is regulated. Such actions can lead to criminal charges, fines, and time in jail or prison. If you have been charged with a drug offense in Florida, it is imperative to get the help of a drug crimes defense lawyer who knows how to defend you in court.

To breakdown the classifications of controlled substances set forth by the DEA, we will look at the five different schedules of drugs. Schedule I drugs are listed as having no medicinal use and a high potential for abuse and dependence. Drugs listed under this category include marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. Schedule II drugs are similarly listed as having a high potential of abuse and dependence, but less so than Schedule I drugs. Drugs listed in this category include cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, OxyContin, fentanyl, Adderall and Ritalin. It follows that Schedule III drugs, such as ketamine, steroids, and products with less than 90 milligrams of codeine, are listed as having moderate to low chance of dependence. Schedule IV drugs are listed as having low risk of dependence. Drugs in this category are prescription drugs and include Soma, Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. Schedule V drugs are listed as having the lowest potential of abuse, but still contain minimal amounts of narcotics. Drugs under this schedule include Robitussin and Lyrica.

For the purposes of this examination, we will focus on common Schedule I, II, and IV drugs. We have outlined the penalties associated with different charges for possession of heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs below:

Heroin:

  • Any amount is a felony possession charge,
  • 4 to 14 grams is considered trafficking and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine,
  • 14 to 28 grams is a trafficking crime and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine,
  • 28 grams to 30 kilograms, also trafficking, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine,
  • More than 30 kilograms is the most severe level of trafficking and carries a mandatory life sentence.

Cocaine:

  • Any amount is a felony possession charge,
  • Under 28 grams is a felony charge of possession with intent to distribute,
  • 28 to 200 grams carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine,
  • 200 to 400 grams is a trafficking crime and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine,
  • 400 grams to 150 kilograms, also a trafficking crime, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine,
  • More than 150 kilograms is the most severe level of trafficking and carries a mandatory life sentence.

Prescription drugs (possession carries the same penalties as heroin):

  • Any amount without a prescription is a felony possession,
  • 4 to 14 grams is considered trafficking and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine,
  • 14 to 28 grams is a trafficking crime and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine,
  • 28 grams to 30 kilograms, also trafficking, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine,
  • More than 30 kilograms is the most severe level of trafficking and carries a mandatory life sentence.
Get the Help You Need

Drug offenses in Florida carry harsh penalties. If you are facing drug charges, your freedom is at stake. Contact Fort Lauderdale defense attorney Mark S. Lowry to get the legal representation you deserve. Call the office today for your free case evaluation.