Methamphetamine, also known by its street names ice, crystal, speed, and crank, is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. While its medicinal forms are legal, albeit highly restricted, a user who does not possess a valid prescription may face third degree felony charges.
Beyond that, a person who possesses a chemical essential to making methamphetamine, and the intent to manufacture or to distribute it, may face second degree felony charges.
Furthermore, the law is especially strict if children are involved. The state can charge the manufacture of methamphetamine, or the possession of any listed precursor or essential chemical with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, as:
- A first degree felony, with a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, if the crime occurs in a building or vehicle in which a child younger than 16 is present.
- A first degree felony, with a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, if the crime causes any child younger than 16 to suffer great bodily harm.
Finally, the state can charge the trafficking, sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, or knowing possession of 14 grams or more of methamphetamine as a first degree felony, with varying sentences that depend on the amount. The state can charge those offenses as follows:
- 14 grams or more is a first degree felony, with a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence and $50,000 fine.
- 28 grams or more is a first degree felony, with a mandatory minimum seven-year prison term and $100,000 fine.
- 200 grams or more is a first degree felony, with a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine.
People convicted of methamphetamine possession also face a one-year driver’s license suspension.
If you are charged with a methamphetamine-related crime, immediately contact an attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges, and if appropriate, may assert the following defenses:
- Constructive possession. If a drug is found in a location that other people can access, such as in a car or home, your attorney may assert constructive possession as a defense. The defendant can argue that he or she had no knowledge of the drug’s presence, which is required for conviction. For example, the prosecution would have to establish in court that a defendant knew a drug was in his or her car or home to convict.
- Insufficient evidence. The prosecution must prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to introduce sufficient evidence to meet this standard of proof, conviction is unlikely.
- Lack of knowledge. Defendants may assert that they did not know that drugs were in their possession. For example, a defendant may claim lack of knowledge if he or she was wearing another person’s jacket, and drugs were found in it.
- Illegal search and seizure. Police officers must follow the law and act reasonably when they seize or search a citizen’s property. If officers perform an unlawful search or seizure, the court should exclude any evidence from that search or seizure from admission at trial.
- Prescription defense. In Florida, a person is legally allowed to possess a controlled substance if a doctor legally prescribed it. If you were charged with possession of a controlled substance for which you have a valid prescription, the court is likely to drop your charges.
- Overdose defense. Under Florida law, people who overdose, or bystanders acting in good faith, cannot face criminal charges for possession of a controlled substance if police obtain evidence of that possession as a result of the person seeking medical attention.
- Temporary possession. Defendants charged with possession can also attempt to establish that they did not have actual, permanent “dominion and control” of a drug, which is necessary to support a conviction.
Call the Khonsari Law Group for Help With Your St. Petersburg Methamphetamine Case
If you or a loved one is charged with a methamphetamine-related crime, contact an attorney immediately. Call the Khonsari Law Group at (727) 269-5300, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers today.