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Will I go to jail for a first-time drug offense?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Punishments for drug possession in Florida vary greatly. Factors influencing the potential charges and penalties you face include your criminal history, the amount you possessed, and the type of drug.

Keep in mind that there are no guarantees when it comes to drug charges. For most cases, however, the likelihood of you going to jail for a first-time offense is low. Keep reading to learn more about the factors that determine your punishment for drug possession and what you could realistically expect.

Possession of marijuana

Marijuana for recreational use is still illegal in Florida. However, the state does allow medical use of the drug. If you do not have medical permission to possess marijuana, the punishments can vary quite significantly depending on the amount you carry. Anything less than 20 grams will yield a first-degree misdemeanor charge. Though rare, a prison sentence of one year is still possible. For larger amounts, you face much more severe punishment. Possession of 25 pounds, for example, involves significant fines and a minimum prison sentence is three years.

Possession of cocaine

Cocaine possession automatically results in a third-degree felony charge. If convicted, you risk spending up to five years in prison. This remains true even if you are a first-time offender. Possessing between 28 and 199 grams of cocaine entails a first-degree felony charge. The mandatory minimum jail time is three years with no reprieve for good behavior if convicted.

Jail time for drug possession in Florida depends on the severity of your crime and how the court views the nature of your possession. The intent to distribute usually carries harsher punishments compared to simple possession charges. Jail time isn’t always a “given,” but never assume an outcome even with relatively minor drug charges.

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