prescription pill bottle

You face an uphill battle if you have been charged with a drug crime in Sarasota. Florida’s narcotics laws are strict – a conviction can lead to a lengthy prison sentence, steep fines, and probation. The best way to protect your freedom and future is to hire an aggressive drug crimes attorney. That’s where Van Elswyk Law comes in.

Founding attorney Brice Van Elswyk is a highly skilled criminal defense trial lawyer and former prosecutor who knows what it takes to defend drug charges. Whether you have been charged with possession of marijuana or a more serious drug offense, trust Van Elswyk Law to protect your rights. Contact our office today to consult with an experienced Sarasota drug crimes attorney. 

Common Drug Crime Charges in Sarasota

Van Elswyk Law has extensive experience defending clients against state and federal drug offenses, including: 

  • Drug Possession – Charges depend on the classification of the narcotic (e.g. schedule 1-5) and the amount possessed by the defendant
  • Drug Possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver – Depending on the type of substance, and where the offense occurred, this offense can be charged as a third-degree, second-degree, or even a first-degree, felony
  • Drug Distribution This offense includes selling, distributing, or conspiring to sell or distribute illegal narcotics
  • Drug Manufacturing Florida laws prohibit the unlawful manufacturing of controlled substances (e.g. cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine, fentanyl), possessing materials to manufacture illegal narcotics, as well as cultivating marijuana plants
  • Drug Trafficking – This is a state and federal offense involving the illegal possession, production, and distribution of controlled substances or conspiracy to traffic drugs
  • Drug Prescription Fraud –  Using forged or fake prescriptions to obtain opioids, tranquilizers, or other prescription medication or attempting to fill legitimate prescriptions at multiple pharmacies (pharmacy shopping) constitutes prescription fraud

Because penalties depend on factors such as the nature of the offense (e.g. possession for use versus manufacturing), and the quantity involved, having an aggressive drug crimes attorney is crucial. 

About Federal Drug Classifications

Federal classifications divide illegal narcotics into five schedules based on the drug’s known medical use (if any) and potential to be abused:

  • Schedule I –  Drugs with no known medicinal use and are likely to be abused, including heroin, psilocybin (mushrooms), MDMA (ecstasy or Molly), peyote, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • Schedule II – Narcotics with some accepted medical use but likely to be abused, such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone
  • Schedule III – Drugs with some accepted medical use that pose a moderate risk of abuse, including barbiturates, anabolic steroids, or medicine with small amounts of codeine
  • Schedule IV – Prescription anti-anxiety drugs (such as Xanax, Valium, Zolpidem)
  • Schedule V – Substances containing limited quantities of narcotics, or one or more non-narcotic active medical ingredients, often found in over-the-counter cough syrup and cold medication

Marijuana Possession

Although using medical marijuana is permitted in Florida, recreational cannabis remains illegal and marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug. Possession of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000; however, possession of more than 20 grams and up to 25 pounds of marijuana is a felony. Notably, possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or park can result in stiff penalties: up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Florida Drug Crime Penalties

Penalties for drug crimes in Florida depend on the classification, amount, and other factors, such as whether the drug was intended for personal use or distribution. 

For example, possession of more than 14 grams or more (but below 28 grams) of certain drugs, such as methamphetamine, is a first-degree felony, has a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years and a fine of $100,000. Possession of any other controlled substance is a third-degree felony and has a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years and a maximum fine of $50,000. 

By contrast, the penalties for drug trafficking are severe. Punishment depends on the classification and amount, ranging from a minimum of 3 years in prison and fines to 30 years. Regardless of the charges, it takes an experienced drug crimes attorney to protect your rights and freedom. 

How Van Elswyk Law Can Help With Your Drug Charges

Brice Van Elswyk has extensive experience defending clients against all types of drug crimes in Sarasota. Well-versed in the applicable state and federal narcotics laws, he will tailor a defense strategy to the facts of your case. 

For example, if you were charged with possession of marijuana, the state must prove that you were knowingly in possession of the drug. Brice will conduct an extensive investigation to determine whether the police made mistakes or violated your civil rights. Suppose the police conducted an illegal search or failed to Mirandize you. In this situation, he can ask the court to suppress the evidence and dismiss the case. 

Regardless of the charges, a drug conviction will jeopardize your freedom and future. You can trust Van Elswyk Law to achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact Our Experienced Sarasota & Bradenton Drug Crimes Attorney

Being charged with a drug crime is serious. Don’t do it alone. Contact our experienced drug crime lawyer at Van Elswyk Law today for a confidential consultation.

Van Elswyk Law defends clients against drug charges in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding area, including Charlotte County, Hillsborough County, and Manatee County.