Drug Cases

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer Bradford Cohen has experience in many areas of controlled substance criminal matters. When it comes to possession of a controlled substance, there are many legal issues that affect the outcome of your case. The decisions that need to be made are: Do you have a valid Motion to suppress the illegal drugs found? Did the officer's take incriminating statements while illegally detaining you? Was there multiple individuals in a vehicle and the illegal substance was found in a common area of the car? Are you a candidate for Drug Court? Was the measurement of the drugs found done properly? These are just a few questions an experienced Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer should ask. In addition on many drug cases depending on the amount of the substance found, there could be minimum mandatory sentences involved. Essentially, the legislature mandates that you must get a minimum sentence for the crime if you are convicted or if you take a plea. The Criminal Judge in your case has no discretion in sentencing you. That is why you need a criminal lawyer that has experience in these matters.

We want to help you in your controlled substance case. Our firm will aggressively fight the charges pending against you. Let our years of experience in Criminal Defense assist you in obtaining a fruitful resolution to your case. We handle criminal possession of cocaine, MDMA, prescription drugs, and/or marijuana in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Dade and West Palm Beach.

893.13  Prohibited acts; penalties.

(1)(a) Except as authorized by this chapter and chapter 499, it is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance. Any person who violates this provision with respect to:

1. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

2. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

3. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(5) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b) Except as provided in this chapter, it is unlawful to sell or deliver in excess of 10 grams of any substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a) or (1)(b), or any combination thereof, or any mixture containing any such substance. Any person who violates this paragraph commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) Except as authorized by this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a child care facility as defined in s. 402.302 or a public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight, or at any time in, on, or within 1,000 feet of real property comprising a state, county, or municipal park, a community center, or a publicly owned recreational facility. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "community center" means a facility operated by a nonprofit community-based organization for the provision of recreational, social, or educational services to the public. Any person who violates this paragraph with respect to:

1. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. The defendant must be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 3 calendar years unless the offense was committed within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a child care facility as defined in s. 402.302.

2. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

3. Any other controlled substance, except as lawfully sold, manufactured, or delivered, must be sentenced to pay a $500 fine and to serve 100 hours of public service in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law.

This paragraph does not apply to a child care facility unless the owner or operator of the facility posts a sign that is not less than 2 square feet in size with a word legend identifying the facility as a licensed child care facility and that is posted on the property of the child care facility in a conspicuous place where the sign is reasonably visible to the public.

(d) Except as authorized by this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a public or private college, university, or other postsecondary educational institution. Any person who violates this paragraph with respect to:

1. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

2. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

3. Any other controlled substance, except as lawfully sold, manufactured, or delivered, must be sentenced to pay a $500 fine and to serve 100 hours of public service in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law.

(e) Except as authorized by this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance not authorized by law in, on, or within 1,000 feet of a physical place for worship at which a church or religious organization regularly conducts religious services or within 1,000 feet of a convenience business as defined in s. 812.171. Any person who violates this paragraph with respect to:

1. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

2. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

3. Any other controlled substance, except as lawfully sold, manufactured, or delivered, must be sentenced to pay a $500 fine and to serve 100 hours of public service in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law.

(f) Except as authorized by this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a public housing facility at any time. For purposes of this section, the term "real property comprising a public housing facility" means real property, as defined in s. 421.03(12), of a public corporation created as a housing authority pursuant to part I of chapter 421. Any person who violates this paragraph with respect to:

1. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

2. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

3. Any other controlled substance, except as lawfully sold, manufactured, or delivered, must be sentenced to pay a $500 fine and to serve 100 hours of public service in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law.

(2)(a) Except as authorized by this chapter and chapter 499, it is unlawful for any person to purchase, or possess with intent to purchase, a controlled substance. Any person who violates this provision with respect to:

1. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

2. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

3. A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(5) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b) Except as provided in this chapter, it is unlawful to purchase in excess of 10 grams of any substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a) or (1)(b), or any combination thereof, or any mixture containing any such substance. Any person who violates this paragraph commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3) Any person who delivers, without consideration, not more than 20 grams of cannabis, as defined in this chapter, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. For the purposes of this paragraph, "cannabis" does not include the resin extracted from the plants of the genus Cannabis or any compound manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin.

(4) Except as authorized by this chapter, it is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to deliver any controlled substance to a person under the age of 18 years, or to use or hire a person under the age of 18 years as an agent or employee in the sale or delivery of such a substance, or to use such person to assist in avoiding detection or apprehension for a violation of this chapter. Any person who violates this provision with respect to:

(a) A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Imposition of sentence may not be suspended or deferred, nor shall the person so convicted be placed on probation.

(5) It is unlawful for any person to bring into this state any controlled substance unless the possession of such controlled substance is authorized by this chapter or unless such person is licensed to do so by the appropriate federal agency. Any person who violates this provision with respect to:

(a) A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(d), (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c)4., commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c), (2)(c)1., (2)(c)2., (2)(c)3., (2)(c)5., (2)(c)6., (2)(c)7., (2)(c)8., (2)(c)9., (3), or (4) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) A controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(5) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(6)(a) It is unlawful for any person to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice or to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance except as otherwise authorized by this chapter. Any person who violates this provision commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) If the offense is the possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, as defined in this chapter, the person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. For the purposes of this subsection, "cannabis" does not include the resin extracted from the plants of the genus Cannabis, or any compound manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin.

(c) Except as provided in this chapter, it is unlawful to possess in excess of 10 grams of any substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(a) or (1)(b), or any combination thereof, or any mixture containing any such substance. Any person who violates this paragraph commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(d) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary of the laws of this state relating to arrest, a law enforcement officer may arrest without warrant any person who the officer has probable cause to believe is violating the provisions of this chapter relating to possession of cannabis.

(7)(a) It is unlawful for any person:

1. To distribute or dispense a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.

2. To refuse or fail to make, keep, or furnish any record, notification, order form, statement, invoice, or information required under this chapter.

3. To refuse an entry into any premises for any inspection or to refuse to allow any inspection authorized by this chapter.

4. To distribute a controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1) or (2) except pursuant to an order form as required by s. 893.06.

5. To keep or maintain any store, shop, warehouse, dwelling, building, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other structure or place which is resorted to by persons using controlled substances in violation of this chapter for the purpose of using these substances, or which is used for keeping or selling them in violation of this chapter.

6. To use to his or her own personal advantage, or to reveal, any information obtained in enforcement of this chapter except in a prosecution or administrative hearing for a violation of this chapter.

7. To possess a prescription form which has not been completed and signed by the practitioner whose name appears printed thereon, unless the person is that practitioner, is an agent or employee of that practitioner, is a pharmacist, or is a supplier of prescription forms who is authorized by that practitioner to possess those forms.

8. To withhold information from a practitioner from whom the person seeks to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person making the request has received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous 30 days.

9. To acquire or obtain, or attempt to acquire or obtain, possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge.

10. To affix any false or forged label to a package or receptacle containing a controlled substance.

11. To furnish false or fraudulent material information in, or omit any material information from, any report or other document required to be kept or filed under this chapter or any record required to be kept by this chapter.

(b) Any person who violates the provisions of subparagraphs (a)1.-7. commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083; except that, upon a second or subsequent violation, the person commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) Any person who violates the provisions of subparagraphs (a)8.-11. commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(8)(a) Notwithstanding subsection (9), a prescribing practitioner may not:

1. Knowingly assist a patient, other person, or the owner of an animal in obtaining a controlled substance through deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of the prescribing practitioner's professional practice;

2. Employ a trick or scheme in the practice of the prescribing practitioner's professional practice to assist a patient, other person, or the owner of an animal in obtaining a controlled substance;

3. Knowingly write a prescription for a controlled substance for a fictitious person; or

4. Write a prescription for a controlled substance for a patient, other person, or an animal if the sole purpose of writing such prescription is to provide a monetary benefit to, or obtain a monetary benefit for, the prescribing practitioner.

(b) If the prescribing practitioner wrote a prescription or multiple prescriptions for a controlled substance for the patient, other person, or animal for which there was no medical necessity, or which was in excess of what was medically necessary to treat the patient, other person, or animal, that fact does not give rise to any presumption that the prescribing practitioner violated subparagraph (a)1., but may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether the prescribing practitioner knowingly assisted a patient, other person, or the owner of an animal to obtain a controlled substance in violation of subparagraph (a)1.

(c) A person who violates paragraph (a) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (c), if a prescribing practitioner has violated paragraph (a) and received $1,000 or more in payment for writing one or more prescriptions or, in the case of a prescription written for a controlled substance described in s. 893.135, has written one or more prescriptions for a quantity of a controlled substance which, individually or in the aggregate, meets the threshold for the offense of trafficking in a controlled substance under s. 893.15, the violation is reclassified as a felony of the second degree and ranked in level 4 of the Criminal Punishment Code.

(9) The provisions of subsections (1)-(8) are not applicable to the delivery to, or actual or constructive possession for medical or scientific use or purpose only of controlled substances by, persons included in any of the following classes, or the agents or employees of such persons, for use in the usual course of their business or profession or in the performance of their official duties:

(a) Pharmacists.

(b) Practitioners.

(c) Persons who procure controlled substances in good faith and in the course of professional practice only, by or under the supervision of pharmacists or practitioners employed by them, or for the purpose of lawful research, teaching, or testing, and not for resale.

(d) Hospitals that procure controlled substances for lawful administration by practitioners, but only for use by or in the particular hospital.

(e) Officers or employees of state, federal, or local governments acting in their official capacity only, or informers acting under their jurisdiction.

(f) Common carriers.

(g) Manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.

(h) Law enforcement officers for bona fide law enforcement purposes in the course of an active criminal investigation.

(10) Notwithstanding any provision of the sentencing guidelines or the Criminal Punishment Code to the contrary, on or after October 1, 1993, any defendant who:

(a) Violates subparagraph (1)(a)1., subparagraph (1)(c)2., subparagraph (1)(d)2., subparagraph (2)(a)1., or paragraph (5)(a); and

(b) Has not previously been convicted, regardless of whether adjudication was withheld, of any felony, other than a violation of subparagraph (1)(a)1., subparagraph (1)(c)2., subparagraph (1)(d)2., subparagraph (2)(a)1., or paragraph (5)(a), may be required by the court to successfully complete a term of probation pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth in s. 948.034(1), in lieu of serving a term of imprisonment.

(11) Notwithstanding any provision of the sentencing guidelines or the Criminal Punishment Code to the contrary, on or after January 1, 1994, any defendant who:

(a) Violates subparagraph (1)(a)2., subparagraph (2)(a)2., paragraph (5)(b), or paragraph (6)(a); and

(b) Has not previously been convicted, regardless of whether adjudication was withheld, of any felony, other than a violation of subparagraph (1)(a)2., subparagraph (2)(a)2., paragraph (5)(b), or paragraph (6)(a), may be required by the court to successfully complete a term of probation pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth in s. 948.034(2), in lieu of serving a term of imprisonment.

History.--s. 13, ch. 73-331; s. 1, ch. 76-200; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 2, ch. 79-1; s. 3, ch. 79-325; s. 5, ch. 80-30; s. 2, ch. 80-70; s. 490, ch. 81-259; s. 2, ch. 82-16; s. 52, ch. 83-215; s. 1, ch. 84-77; s. 5, ch. 85-242; s. 4, ch. 87-243; s. 2, ch. 88-381; s. 4, ch. 89-281; s. 1, ch. 89-524; ss. 1, 6, ch. 90-111; s. 1, ch. 93-59; s. 2, ch. 93-92; s. 1, ch. 93-194; ss. 22, 23, ch. 93-406; s. 2, ch. 96-360; s. 2, ch. 97-1; s. 1, ch. 97-43; s. 1827, ch. 97-102; s. 22, ch. 97-194; s. 106, ch. 97-264; s. 1, ch. 97-269; s. 47, ch. 97-271; s. 1, ch. 98-22; s. 1, ch. 99-154; s. 14, ch. 99-186; s. 3, ch. 2000-320; s. 11, ch. 2002-78; s. 2, ch. 2002-81; s. 3, ch. 2003-10; s. 1, ch. 2003-95.