Can I be charged with drug possession in Florida even if the drugs weren’t actually on me?
Maybe you’re confused why this is even a question - to be charged with drug possession, isn’t the whole point that you have drugs on you? Well, not exactly.
Unfortunately, in Florida, drug laws allow for someone to be able to be charged with drug possession even if you’re not actually in physical possession of drugs at the time of the arrest.
Bottomline - you do not even have to have drugs on your person to be charged with drug possession in Florida.
Florida drug laws define possession of a controlled substance (drug) as the ability to exercise the right of ownership, management, or control over the contraband or goods that have been illegally imported/exported.
The standard the state of Florida uses to determine drug possession is whether the drugs were in your “constructive possession.”
Constructive possession of drugs essentially means you knew about the drugs, and you had control over them. This could play out a number of different ways, but say you get arrested outside your home - there are no drugs on your person, but you do have drugs in your car or house. Even if you’re not in your car or your house, you can still be charged with drug possession in Florida.
Under Florida law, a person is prohibited from being in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless the substance was lawfully and legally obtained from a practitioner who provided a valid prescription in good faith of their professional practice.
Consequences of Drug Possession in Florida?
If you’re convicted of drug possession in Florida, the consequences vary greatly. It depends on which drug or controlled substance you were in possession of AND how much of that drug(s) you were in possession of.
Consequences for drugs that have no medical necessity (such as cocaine and heroin) or are highly restricted are typically penalized more harshly due to the high risk of abuse.
Sentencing requirements for your drug crime conviction could range from 1 year in jail to even decades in prison if there is enough of the drug that the possession charge is elevated to a drug trafficking charge. Fines for drug possession could also range from hundreds of dollars to $500,000.
Learn about specific Florida drug crime sentencing penalties here.