According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs our nation a little more than $740 billion annually in lost work productivity, costs related to crime, and health care alone. A criminal defense attorney in Miami discusses drug laws and illegal drug use.  

Florida Possession Laws

In Florida, possession of most controlled substances, with the exception of medical marijuana, may be charged as a felony. The state allows a first-degree misdemeanor charge for simple possession of cannabis (marijuana) if it is less than twenty grams (unless legally obtained for medical purposes).  The charge of “possession with intent to sell” includes all legal elements of simple possession, but requires proof of the defendant’s intent to sell or distribute the drugs. Depending on the type of controlled substance involved in the crime, the specific charge varies- for example, possession with intent to sell marijuana may bring a third-degree felony charge while possession of cocaine with intent to sell may be charged a second-degree felony. A criminal defense attorney can help you better understand any charges and build a case for defense.

Common Drug Crimes

Controlled Substance– “Controlled” generally means that the use and distribution of the substance is governed by law. Controlled substances are classified at different levels under state and federal statutes.

Distribution and Trafficking– “Distribution” means that a person is accused or charged with delivering, selling or providing a controlled substance illegally. Often, this charge is used if someone tries selling drugs to an undercover officer. Trafficking refers to the illegal sale/distribution of a controlled substance, trafficking has more to do with the amount of drugs involved and less to do with whether or not the drugs crossed state lines. Consequences of this conviction vary significantly depending on the type and amount of controlled substance, location where the defendant was apprehended, the defendant’s criminal history and more.

Possession– This is the most common drug charge. For this conviction, the government must prove that the accused person intentionally possessed a controlled substance without a valid prescription and that it was a quantity sufficient for personal use or sale.

Florida Statistics (according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse)


  • Cocaine  
  • In 2012, cocaine accounted for 57% of the 129 Broward County deaths and 38% of the 198 deaths in Miami-Dade County


    • Heroin
      • Between 2011 and 2012, heroin deaths increased by 89% across Florida and rose by 120% in Miami-Dade County
      • The rapid rise of heroin constitutes as an “epidemic outbreak” particularly in Miami-Dade County


  • Prescription Opioids/Opiates Other Than Heroin


      • In 2012- 4,944 people died with 1 or more prescription drugs detected
      • In Miami-Dade County, the number of prescription opioid drug-related deaths increased by 13%


  • Marijuana
  • Treatment admissions for marijuana treatment declined in South Florida counties from 39% in Miami-Dade to 28% in 2013


A Few of Florida’s Drug Crime Penalties

  • Cannabis/Marijuana less than 20 grams Court Costs (maybe) 365 days jail Requires 1-year DL (driver’s license) suspension
  • Cannabis/Marijuana 10K lbs up 15 years + $200,000 fine 30 years Requires 1-year DL suspension
  • MDMA/Ecstasy 10 – 199.99 gms 3 years + $50,000 fine 30 years Requires 1-year DL suspension
  • LSD 1 – 4.99 gms 3 years + $50,000 fine 30 years Requires 1-year DL suspension 

Contact Us

If you need a criminal defense attorney regarding drug laws or drug offenses in Miami, contact Trujillo Vargas Gonzalez & Hevia, LLP today at 305-631-2528 or online at