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A college drug charge may lead to a lifetime of consequences

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2020 | Firm News

Media glamorization, peer influence and constantly evolving social beliefs about legalization vs. control of various substances all contribute to the temptation young adults face when headed to college. According to a 2016 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, on an average day in the U.S. 703,759 full-time college students used marijuana, 11,338 took cocaine and 4,570 used heroin.

Unfortunately, many individuals underestimate just how costly even a relatively minor drug charge may be. In addition to stiff fines and the potential for imprisonment, students facing a possession charge risk losing financial aid, expulsion and may have to live with a misdemeanor or felony on their record that could jeopardize education, employment, housing and other opportunities for years to come.

Florida penalties for drug possession

The severity of a sentence for drug possession depends on the type and amount of the controlled substance involved and whether an individual has prior convictions. Some examples of drug charge penalties include:

  • First-degree misdemeanor: Excepting legally obtained medical cannabis, possession of up to 20 grams carries penalties of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Those with multiple prior offenses may be subject to enhanced penalties.
  • Third-degree felony: Possession of 20 or more grams of non-medical cannabis, up to 28 grams of cocaine, up to one gram of LSD and up to four grams of heroin/opioids may result in up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • First-degree felony: Possession of more than 25 pounds of non-medical cannabis, more than 28 grams of cocaine, more than one gram of LSD and more than four grams of heroin/opioids may result in up to 30 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.

It is important for individuals facing a drug charge to realize that the effects of a conviction may have additional consequences that could last a lifetime. As well as facing issues with job and housing searches, a misdemeanor or felony offense may prevent those convicted from pursuing a business or professional license, receiving public benefits or even exercising their right to vote.

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