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Differences Between Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Charges

Drug charges are serious offenses that could have a significant impact on someone’s life. In Florida alone, the state’s Department of Law Enforcement reported more than 134,000 arrests for drug offenses in 2018.

If you are facing drug charges in Florida, the team at Magilligan Law is here to help. Contact our attorneys as soon as possible so we can get working on your case.

Drug Schedules

The state categorizes drug offenses into schedules based upon how likely someone would be likely to abuse the drugs.

Schedule V

These are the types of drugs that are least likely to be abused according to the state and are prescribed regularly by doctors. Some drugs included in this schedule are cough suppressants, Lyrica, Motofen, and Parepectolin.

Schedule IV

These drugs also are not considered highly addictive but have more potential for someone to become physically and psychologically dependent compared to Schedule V drugs. These drugs are also commonly prescribed by doctors and include clonazepam, diazepam, orbital, and tramadol.

Schedule III

Like the previous two schedules, these drugs are also prescribed by doctors to treat certain conditions. While these drugs are considered not to have as high of a risk of physical dependence, they are considered to have a high potential for someone becoming psychologically dependent on these types of drugs. Examples of these types of drugs include barbituric acid and anabolic steroids.

Schedule II

These substances are at a much higher risk not only for psychological abuse but physical abuse. While some of these drugs are prescribed by physicians, they are done on an extremely limited basis. These drugs can include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, opium, and oxycodone.

Schedule I

These drugs are considered to have the highest potential for dependency or abuse and are not prescribed by physicians. Drugs that are in the Schedule I category include heroin, LSD, and peyote.

Drug Charges Penalties

Depending on the seriousness of the charges will determine if someone will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Florida law describes drug possession charges as the following:

  • First-degree misdemeanor drug possession — this is the least serious of all drug charges. If someone is charged with a first-degree misdemeanor they could face up to one year of incarceration or fines of up $1,000, or both. Someone could face this charge if they illegally have a Schedule V drug or 20 grams or less of marijuana.
  • Third-degree felony drug possession — an individual could be charged with this if they are found to have a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug. Someone convicted of a third-degree felony could spend up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
  • Second-degree felony drug possession — someone could be charged with this if they are found to have a large amount of Schedule I or II drugs. If a person is convicted of a second-degree felony they could face up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
  • First-degree felony drug possession — this is the most serious drug possession conviction an individual could face. Individuals could face this charge if they have a significant amount of Schedule I drugs on their person. Florida law states that someone convicted of first-degree felony drug possession could face up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Don’t Fight Drug Charges Alone

At Magilligan Law we know that facing a drug charge can be intimidating. Our firm has handled countless drug cases and has helped individuals in challenging situations. Don’t feel like you have to fight drug charges alone — see how Magilligan Law can help by reaching out to us today at (954) 883-9122.