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What is Possession of a Controlled Substance?

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If you have been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, you are probably wondering what that means exactly.

Most substances - such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin - have specific charges of their own. For example, under Florida Statute section 893 (which lists all of the substances that are illegal in Florida), cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin are enumerated substances.

Chapter 893 lists a large number of substances. However, most substances listed are generic substances. Cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, are generic substances. As are oxycodone, alprazolam, and hydrocodone.

This is why if you are arrested with an OxyContin tablet, you may be charged with possession of a controlled substance because OxyContin is a brand that contains the drug oxycodone but also other substances, such as acetaminophen.

Furthermore, substances such as MDMA (“ecstasy” or “molly”) may be listed simply as “controlled substances” if arrested for possession because MDMA’s chemcial composition is specifically listed in the statute. Any deviation from the listed chemical composition and it can be classified simply as a “controlled substance.”

Possession of a controlled substance is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison. Furthermore, a conviction (adjudication) under Florida Statute section 893 will suspend your driver’s license for a period of 2 years.

Possession can easily turn into trafficking depending on the amount of the substance in your possession.

All trafficking offenses in Florida are based solely on the weight of the drug in your possession. Trafficking does not require proof of intent to sell, distribute, or transport. Merely possessing a substance can be considered trafficking if you have enough of it.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney representing clients charged with drug crimes in Miami-Dade and Broward. These crimes include possession, possession with intent to sell, manufacturing, purchase, and trafficking.