In 2008, the US government estimated that 13 million people over the age of 12 had used methamphetamine, with 529,000 of them being regular users. Meanwhile, nearly 7% of high school seniors have used the drug at least once in their lifetime. In Florida, the use of methamphetamine is a serious problem. The penalties for this crime can be severe and include lengthy prison sentences and large fines.
Therefore, this article will discuss the potential penalties for meth crimes in Florida. It will provide an overview of the simple possession, manufacturing, and trafficking of meth.
An Introduction to Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine, also known as “meth,” “crystal,” “crank,” and “ice,” is a powerful and addictive stimulant. It boosts the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain while inhibiting their reuptake. These neurotransmitting monoamines act to activate the brain’s reward centers and produce the drug’s distinctive “high.” The effect of this drug frequently includes loss of appetite. A 14-hour high is possible. The user is typically impaired and unable to look after themselves or others while they are high. After prolonged use, these neurotransmitters are depleted, which causes emotional depression.
The drug is usually smoked, injected, or snorted. It can also be taken orally. Meth use can lead to increased alertness, decreased appetite, and increased physical activity. The drug can also cause psychotic symptoms such as paranoia, aggression, and hallucinations. Meth use is associated with several serious health problems, including liver damage, stroke, brain damage, and tooth decay. The drug can also lead to death.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the potential penalties for meth-related crimes in Florida.
This means that the person caught with meth only has it for personal use and is not selling or manufacturing it. There are many reasons why someone may be arrested for simple possession. However, even a small amount of the drug can result in prison time depending on the circumstances of your case. If you are not given a full five-year prison sentence, you may instead receive community service or probation.
You can be convicted if:
- The police find meth on your person or in your possession;
- You admit to the police that the drugs are yours;
- An expert witness testifies that the drugs are methamphetamine; or
- The jury believes, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the drugs are methamphetamine and that you knew they were drugs.
This is the process of creating methamphetamine. It can be done in a lab or “cook” meth using a variety of chemicals. The penalties for manufacturing meth depend on the amount of meth you are caught with and whether the crime occurred in a drug-free setting, such as a church, park, or school.
Charges are generally classified as second-degree felonies, which carry sentences of up to 15 years in a Florida state prison. Additionally, up to fifteen years of probation, fifteen years of community service, or a combination of any two of those penalties are options. It is very likely that if you receive probation or community control, you will have to attend drug counseling and that you will undergo random methamphetamine testing while on probation or community control.
This is the most serious meth offense in Florida. Trafficking is defined as the sale, possession, or transportation of methamphetamine in an amount of 14 grams or more. The punishment for trafficking in methamphetamine is a first-degree felony known as “trafficking with amphetamines,” which can be punished by up to thirty years of prison time and large fines depending on the amount of meth involved.
Here are the detailed penalties for trafficking methamphetamine:
- If you are found responsible for possessing between 14 grams or more of methamphetamine, a mandatory minimum sentence of three (3) years in jail and a $50,000 fine will be imposed on you.
- If you possess between 28 grams or more of methamphetamine, you will receive a mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven (7) years in addition to a $100,000 fine.
- Anyone found guilty of possessing 200 grams or more of methamphetamine faces a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen (15) years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
- It is a capital felony punishable by a $250,000 fine to manufacture or import into Florida 400 grams or more of methamphetamine, phenylacetone, phenylacetic acid, pseudoephedrine, or ephedrine along with other ingredients and tools used in the production of methamphetamine while knowing that the death of any person would likely result from such manufacture or importation.
You can be convicted if:
- You are aware of the presence of meth and that it will be used to produce methamphetamine;
- You have the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver the methamphetamine; and
- What you are selling, manufacturing, or delivering is methamphetamine.
A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Role
An attorney can benefit you if you think you might be charged with possessing meth. They can:
- Negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed;
- Investigate the case against you to look for any weaknesses that can be exploited;
- Challenge the evidence against you;
- Work to get you into a drug treatment program instead of jail or prison;
- Help you understand the charges against you and what your options are;
- Protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process; and
- Defend you in court if the case goes to trial.
You can use these defense strategies to help you fight your meth charges if:
- You didn’t know the drugs were methamphetamine.
- The police found the drugs through an illegal search and seizure.
- You were set up by someone else.
- You have a valid prescription for methamphetamine.
- The police entrapped you.
- The lab made a mistake in testing the drugs found in your possession.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a meth crime is serious and can have life-changing consequences. You need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands these types of charges to fight for you.
Our attorneys at Hanlon Law have experience in handling meth crimes. We will examine your case and develop a solid defense strategy to achieve the best result for your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
1111 3rd Ave W Ste 310
Bradenton, FL 34205