The consequences of receiving a charge involving illegal drugs in Florida can be wide-ranging. Some of the ramifications of illegal drug possession in Florida can include:
- Getting charged with a misdemeanor or felony
- Having to pay steep fines
- A permanent criminal record
- Having your driver’s license taken away
If you have been charged with illegal drug possession, your entire life can change from one moment to the next and you could see your career and home life turned upside down. An experienced criminal drug possession attorney can help you better understand your legal rights. Call St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean K. McQuaid today to schedule a free consultation: (727) 381-2300.
Florida Laws and Drug Possession
Florida drug possession and your driver’s license are intertwined. According to Florida Statute §322.055, those 18 or older convicted of drug possession, trafficking, or sales, could face the following consequences:
- Having their driver’s license revoked
- Having their driver’s license suspended
- Delay in eligibility for obtaining a driver’s license
Generally, drug possession in Florida can result in having a driver’s license revoked for a year or until the offender has completed a drug treatment program approved by the state.
Common Types of Illegal Drugs in Florida
State and federal laws prohibit the possession of many controlled substances. This includes certain prescription drugs such as opiates, some antidepressants, and others unless prescribed by a doctor to the person found in possession of the medication. Commonly abused prescription drugs can include:
The possession of controlled substances without a valid prescription is illegal. Even having a prescription but the wrong dosage of medication can lead to a charge of illegal possession.
Other common controlled substances that can lead to a charge of illegal drug possession include but are not limited to:
A conviction for drug possession in Florida can have a number of detrimental effects and carry various fines and punishments.
What Should I Do if I Have to Drive for Work?
Issues involving Florida drug possession and your driver’s license can severely impact your livelihood, particularly if you have to drive to get to your place of employment or if driving is part of your job description. However, if you risk losing your job or business due to having your driver’s license revoked, you may have options for recovering your driving privileges.
Individuals who need their driver’s license for business or employment reasons can apply for a restricted license. A restricted license can reinstate their driving privileges six months after the license was revoked or suspended. Unfortunately, six months have to pass either way before you can apply for a restricted license.
In order to restore your driving privileges after six months, you must petition the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) for reinstatement. According to Florida Statute §322.055, the court can ask the DHSMV to issue an offender with a license for business or employment-related driving purposes only. If an offender has finished a drug treatment and rehabilitation program, they can also be eligible for full reinstatement of driving privileges under the statute.
If losing your driver’s license could cause you to lose employment, you should consult with St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean K. McQuaid as soon as possible. We could potentially help you retain or recover your driving privileges.
Your Options If You Have Not Gone to Court Yet
Individuals who have not yet had a court hearing for their drug possession case may be able to avoid a license suspension or revocation by asking for a pretrial diversion program or a withhold of adjudication. A pretrial diversion generally involves counseling. The program can only occur prior to trial and after the defendant has been charged with the crime.
During the time an individual is in a pretrial diversion program, the prosecution’s case will be put on hold. The advantage of partaking in a pretrial diversion includes possibly having all charges dropped when you successfully complete the program.
If you are not offered a pretrial diversion program, you may have the option of asking for a “withhold of adjudication”. With a withhold, the judge will not formally convict the person of the criminal offense. A withhold can therefore avoid the criminal conviction and, importantly, avoid the license suspension.
Once you have been charged, you should consider seeking legal guidance and discussing your options with a seasoned criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can try to minimize the consequences of a conviction and can potentially help you retain your driver’s license after a Florida drug possession charge.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You With Your Florida Drug Possession Charge
Drug possession is not a trivial crime and can have major detrimental consequences including steep fines, imprisonment, driver’s license revocation, and much more. When you have been charged with drug possession, you should consider seeking professional legal advice to understand all of your legal options. Having an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney by your side can help you get your life back on track. Our defense strategies can include but are not limited to:
Unlawful Search and Seizure
One angle of defense can be asserting that an unreasonable search and seizure led to the charge of drug possession. An unreasonable search not only violates the Fourth Amendment of an individual, any evidence gathered in an unlawful search may not be used in court.
Lack of Knowledge
An individual may not have known that the controlled substance was present, particularly if they were driving another’s car, a shared car, or if there were other passengers present at the time of the arrest. If the prosecutor cannot prove that you knew of the illegal substance, they may have to drop charges.
St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean K. McQuaid Can Fight for Your Rights
Depending on your specific case, there can be various ways in which our legal team could build a defense on your behalf. If you have been charged with drug possession and now face serious consequences, including potentially losing your driver’s license, consider contacting our experienced criminal defense legal team today. Attorney Sean McQuaid has a successful track record of helping people charged with crimes for over two decades.
Call St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean K. McQuaid now and talk to our criminal defense team for free: (727) 381-2300.