Drug Offense Attorney in St. Petersburg

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Drug offenses are somewhat unique in that they can be very unsophisticated, with ample opportunity for a favorable resolution, or very complex, with the potential to utterly ruin a person's life. Obviously, an individual charged with possessing a small amount of marijuana is not in the same legal posture as a person who has been charged with trafficking in kilogram quantities of cocaine. Following any drug related arrest in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or Tampa, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, protecting your rights and your freedom, is essential.

When you hire The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C., you benefit from:

  • Hundreds of drug cases handled from both sides of the court
  • Over a decade of legal experience
  • Award-winning and recognized representation

Call (727) 491-5886 for your complimentary consultation.


Drug offenses are also unique in that many of them carry what is referred to as a minimum mandatory sentence. A "min. man." is a period of prison time that the court must impose, following a plea of guilty or no contest, or a finding of guilt by a judge or jury, on certain types of drug offenses. The court does not have the authority to sentence a person, under these circumstances, to a period of incarceration that is less than the proscribed min man for that offense. To obtain a sentence that is less that the minimum mandatory, an agreement must be reached with the State Attorney and this usually requires an amendment in charge. Also, drug related offenses carry potential fines that can far exceed most other types of offenses; they can range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Understand Your Charge

What follows is an overview of the various types of non-trafficking drug offenses in Florida, including their respective penalty provisions and potential collateral consequences. For a more in-depth discussion of sentencing in Florida, including the interplay of sentencing guidelines, minimum mandatories, and sentencing enhancements, see the Sentencing section of our website. If you have been charged with a drug case, you should also review the Drug Court section of our website under Client Solutions.

Controlled Substances Generally

Florida law classifies controlled substances into five separate schedules. The following is by no means exhaustive lists of the controlled substances set forth under each classification; it is meant to provide a very generalized overview:

  • Schedule I controlled substances include heroin, certain morphine derivatives, and cannabis;
  • Schedule II controlled substances include opium, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, cocaine, and methamphetamine;
  • Schedule III controlled substances include many types of anabolic steroids;
  • Schedule IV controlled substances include Alprazolam, Clonazepam, and Loprazolam;
  • Schedule V controlled substances include those containing certain specified quantities of codeine, morphine, and opium (measured in milligrams per 100 grams).

Possession of a Controlled Substance: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(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. Any person who violates this provision commits a felony of the third degree. A third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.

If the offense is the possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, that person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree. A First-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in the county jail.

Sale, Manufacture, Delivery or Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1)(a)

It is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. In most instances, the sale, manufacture, or delivery of a controlled substance is a felony of the second degree. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. The sale, manufacture or delivery (or possession with intent to do the same) of certain statutorily enumerated substances, such as cannabis, constitutes a felony of the third degree. The sale, manufacture or delivery of a Schedule V controlled substance constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree. A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in the county jail.

Sale, Manufacture, Delivery or Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance Within 1000 feet of a Child Care Facility, Elementary, Middle, High School, or Recreational Facility: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1)(c)

Depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection can constitute either a first or second-degree felony. If a first-degree felony offense is charged, the accused person must be sentenced to a three-year minimum mandatory sentence (unless the offense was committed within 1000 feet of a child care facility). A first-degree felony is punishable by up to thirty years in prison. If a second-degree felony offense is charged under this subsection, there is no applicable minimum mandatory sentence (unless the weight of the particular substance involved constitutes a trafficking offense). Also, depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection requires the imposition of a $500.00 fine and 100 hours of community service.

Sale, Manufacture, Delivery or Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture, or Deliver a Controlled Substance within 1000 feet of a College or University: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(d)

Depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection can constitute either a first or second-degree felony. In either event, there is no applicable minimum mandatory sentence (unless the weight of the particular substance involved constitutes trafficking). Also, depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection requires the imposition of a $500.00 fine and 100 hours of community service.

Sale, Manufacture, Delivery or Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance within 1000 feet of a Place of Worship: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1)(e)

Depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection can constitute either a first or second-degree felony. In either event, there is no applicable minimum mandatory sentence (unless the weight of the substance involved constitutes a trafficking offense). Also, depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection requires the imposition of a $500.00 fine and 100 hours of community service.

Sale, Manufacture, Delivery or Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance with 1000 feet of a Public Housing Facility: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1)(f)

Depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection can constitute either a first or second-degree felony. In either event, there is no applicable minimum mandatory sentence (unless the weight of the particular substance constitutes a trafficking offense). Also, depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection requires the imposition of a $500.00 fine and 100 hours of community service.

Manufacture of Methamphetamine or Possession of Certain Chemical with the Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1)(g)

If a person violates this subsection, and the commission or attempted commission of the crime occurs in a structure or conveyance where any child under the age of sixteen is present, the person commits a felony of the first degree. In addition, the defendant must be sentenced to a five-year minimum mandatory prison term.

If the commission of the crime causes any child, under sixteen years of age, to suffer great bodily harm, the defendant commits a felony of the first degree and must be sentenced to a ten-year minimum mandatory prison term.

Sale, Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with the Intent to Sell Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance within 1000 feet of an Assisted Living Facility: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1)(h)

Depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection can constitute either a first or second-degree felony. In either event, there is no applicable minimum mandatory sentence (unless the weight of the substance involved constitutes a trafficking offense).

Purchase or Possession with Intent to Purchase a Controlled Substance: Fla. Stat. § 893.13(2)(a)

Depending on the type of substance involved, a violation of this subsection can constitute either a second or third degree felony. In either event, there is no applicable minimum mandatory sentence (unless the weight of the particular substance involved constitutes trafficking). The purchase or possession with intent to purchase a Schedule V controlled substance constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.

  • Do drug offenses carry any collateral consequences I should be aware of?

Yes. A conviction for any type of controlled substance in Florida will result in a two- year driver's license revocation (for additional information, see the license suspension section of our website). It does not matter whether the controlled substances were found in or around your vehicle. In some states, a nolo contendre plea will avoid the associated driver's license suspension, but not in Florida. To see what options may be available to you, with regard to avoiding a conviction and the associated license suspension, see the Client Solutions section of our website.

Also, certain types of drug offenses carry adverse immigration consequences for non-United States citizens, including deportation. If you are charged with a drug related offense, and you are not a United States citizen, you must consult with an immigration attorney before entering any sort of plea in the criminal case.

  • Can you save my driver's license?

This depends on how the case is resolved. In Florida, a conviction is required to trigger the driver's license suspension. If your case is never formally charged, you successfully complete a diversion program, or you receive a withhold of adjudication, you will not lose your license. For more information, see the Client Solutions section of our website.

  • Am I going to jail?

Again, the answer to this question depends on many variables, including the nature and weight of the substance involved, whether you have been accused of possession or of selling, delivering, or manufacturing the controlled substance, and your prior record. In any event, there is usually much that can be done to avoid an incarcerative sentence, but early intervention by an experienced Tampa Bay area criminal defense attorney is crucial. At The Kilfin Law Firm P.C., we thoroughly evaluate a client's case, including a meticulous review of all the evidence against that person, and begin formulating a strategy to resolve the case in a manner that is as favorable to the client as possible, given his or her particular circumstances.

  • Can I seal or expunge my record?

If your case was resolved without a conviction, and you have no prior criminal convictions, you may qualify to have your record sealed or expunged. For more information, see the Sealing and Expunging section of our website.

If you were charged with any of the following offenses, contact our office today. We handle all types of drug-related cases, including but not limited to:

  • Resources

The following is a list of outside sources, prior blog posts, and other website sections on topics related to drug offenses:

  • Links
  1. HG. Org: St. Petersburg Drug Crimes Attorney
  2. HG. Org: St. Petersburg DUI Lawyer.
  3. HG. Org: St. Petersburg Suspended License Defense Attorney
  4. HG. Org: Florida Sentencing Enhancements Pt. 4: 10-20-Life
  • Blog Posts
  1. Do I Need a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney?
  2. They Never Read Me My Rights - Can My Charge Be Dismissed?
  3. What is the State of Limitations Anyway?
  4. This Is Entrapment!! Right??
  5. They Searched My Car - Can They Do That?
  6. Florida's William's Rule: What Is It and What Does It Mean For My Criminal Case?
  7. The Three Levels of Police/Citizen Encounters
  8. Pre-Trial Release in Florida: The Basics
  9. Speedy Trial in Florida: An Overview
  10. Search and Seizure in Florida: An Overview
  • Sections
  1. Alibi As a Defense to Your St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or Tampa Area Criminal Charge
  2. Entrapment
  3. Affecting the Filing Decision
  4. Pre-Trial Diversion
  5. Withholding of Adjudication
  6. Drug Court
  7. Plea Negotiations
  8. Defensive Motions
  9. Trial
  10. Sentencing
  11. Sealing & Expunging
  12. Drug Trafficking
  • The Bottom Line

If you have been charged with a trafficking offense, see the drug trafficking section of our website for additional information.

When you work with our St. Petersburg criminal defense firm, we will thoroughly review your case and develop a personalized strategy focused on minimizing the impact or your criminal charge, including any adverse collateral consequences. To get started or to learn more about how The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. can help you, contact our St. Petersburg office today and schedule a free consultation with our firm.