In the state of Florida, drugs and the compounds used to create to crate them are classified as controlled dangerous substances. Florida regulates the possession of controlled dangerous substances and the penalties associated with their possession. The possession of a CDS can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the type and the amount of the substance involved. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and therefore receive less jail time and smaller fines.

The state of Florida does not consider ownership in possession crimes. Even if a drug does not belong to you, you may still be held criminally liable for actual or constructive possession. Actual possession refers to when a substance is in your physical custody, such as in your pocket. Constructive possession occurs when you have knowledge of the whereabouts of a CDS and you also have the ability to physically control it, such as placing it in the glove compartment of your car.

Florida Controlled Dangerous Substances Classification Schedules

  • Schedule I drugs (such as heroin) are drugs that have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use.
  • Schedule II drugs (such as opium and morphine) have a high potential for abuse, have an accepted medical use with severe restrictions, and their abuse has the potential for severe psychic and physical dependence.
  • Schedule III drugs (such as anabolic steroids) have a potential for abuse less than Schedule I or II drugs, have an accepted medical use, and their abuse may lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence.
  • Schedule IV drugs (such as diazepam) have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, have an acceptable medical use, and their abuse may lead to limited psychological and physical dependence in relation to Schedule III drugs.
  • Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse relative to Schedule IV CDS, have a currently accepted medical use, and have a limited risk of physical or psychological dependence relative to Schedule IV CDS. Schedule V drugs include medicines that contain very small amounts of specified narcotic drugs.

(Florida Statute Section 893.03.)

Florida Felony Drug Possession

Felony possession of a CDS is considered either a felony in the first or third degree. First degree possession felonies are the most serious and receive the harshest penalties. First degree felony possession involves the actual or constructive possession of a Schedule I CDS in excess of 10 grams and is punishable by up to 30 years incarceration, a fine of $10,000 or both. However, first degree felony possession does not include hallucinogens, 1,4-Butanediol, GBL, GHB, methaqualone or mecloqualone.

Felony possession in the third degree refers to the actual or constructive possession of any drugs not covered in first degree felony possession. Third degree felony possession in Florida is punishable by up to 5 years incarceration, a fine of $5,000 or both.

Florida punishes habitual felony offenders harshly. A person that has two or more prior felony convictions faces increased penalties for any subsequent convictions. If that person commits a first degree felony, the penalty can include up to life in prison. If a person commits a third degree felony, the penalty can include up to ten years in prison.

Florida Misdemeanor Drug Possession

Misdemeanor possession in Florida is referred to as a misdemeanor in the first degree. This is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. First degree felony possession includes:

  • up to 20 grams of marijuana
  • up to three grams of 2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-5-(2-methyloctan-2-yl)phenol
  • up to three grams of (6aR,10aR)-9-(hydroxymethyl)-6,6-dimethyl-3-(2-methyloctan-2-yl)-6a,7,10,10a-tetrahydrobenzo
  • up to three grams of [c]chromen-1-ol
  • up to three grams of 48. 1-Pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole, or
  • up to three grams of 49. 1-Butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole.

(Florida Criminal Code Section 893.13, 775.082, and 775.083.)

Habitual misdemeanor offenders may be penalized by six months to one year in prison, home detention for six months to 364 days or be required to enroll in a residential treatment program.