Being accused of committing a crime can be a terrifying experience. Depending on how the situation is resolved, it can have a profound impact on your life, your family and your career. So it’s important to understand that an accusation is not the same thing as a conviction, and you may have options.
What is possession of a controlled substance?
Florida Statute Chapter 893 lays out what is illegal to possess and when. Some drugs are illegal at all times, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and possessing them would be a violation of the law. Other drugs, such as the prescription drugs Valium or Xanax, may be legally possessed only with a valid prescription. Without a doctor’s permission, having those drugs would also be a violation of Florida’s controlled substance laws.
Possession is not always straight-forward
Sometimes, controlled substances are found directly on a person – in their pocket, for instance. But oftentimes, the drug is only found near the accused, such as in a car or home. Law enforcement may conclude that a particular person was in possession of the drug but that doesn’t mean their conclusion was correct. It is the obligation of the state to prove the accused possessed the drug beyond a reasonable doubt – the accused doesn’t have to prove anything – and many times, there just isn’t enough evidence for the state to prove their case.
Civil rights violations are common
Because controlled substances are frequently found following a search of the person, their car or their home, police must act within strict constitutional requirements. The reality is that they often do not. When law enforcement makes a mistake and violates these requirements, the evidence they collected can be prohibited from being used against the accused. Without such evidence, the case can become impossible to prove.