Methamphetamine is extremely addictive, and a person can become addicted to meth after using it just once. As a result, Florida and many other states take meth crimes very seriously. In some cases, charges involving meth also involve weapons or sex crimes. If you are charged with a meth crime, you will need an experienced and aggressive St. Petersburg meth crime lawyer to represent you. At Hanlon Law, we believe strongly in fighting for people accused of serious crimes.Penalties and Defenses for Meth Charges
Florida Statute section 893.03(2)(c)(4) puts methamphetamine in Schedule II of Florida's controlled substances, based on its high potential for abuse (leading to dependence) and its accepted but substantially restricted medical uses. If you are caught possessing less than 14 grams of meth, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. Under section 893.149, it is a second-degree felony to possess a listed precursor or essential chemical, while intending to manufacture a controlled substance like methamphetamine, or to possess or distribute a chemical if you know or should know that the chemical is going to be used to manufacture the controlled substance.
If you possess 14 grams or more of methamphetamine, you can be charged with trafficking. The weight of the total mixture is what determines the charges. In other words, there might be less than 14 grams of pure methamphetamine, but if the total mixture weighs more than 14 grams, you can be charged with trafficking. This means that you would face a mandatory minimum sentence in Florida, similar to people charged with trafficking in cannabis or other controlled substances. As a result, you should promptly consult a meth crime attorney in the St. Petersburg area if you are facing this type of charge.
If you traffic in 14-28 grams, it is a first-degree felony, for which you face a mandatory minimum of three years and a $50,000 fine. With 28-200 grams, you face the possibility of a mandatory minimum of seven years and a $100,000 fine. With 200 grams or more, you face a possible mandatory minimum of 15 years’ imprisonment and $250,000 in fines.
If you are caught manufacturing meth or possessing a listed precursor or essential chemical, while intending to manufacture meth, you can be charged under section 893.13(1)(g). If you were manufacturing in a structure or conveyance where a child under the age of 16 was present, you can be charged with a first-degree felony. It carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. However, a 10-year mandatory minimum may be imposed if committing the crime causes a child under age 16 to suffer great bodily harm.
If you manufacture or import into the state meth or certain other chemicals used to make meth, knowing that the probable result of making or importing it would be the death of a person, you can be charged with a capital felony. These come with the potential of a $250,000 fine, in addition to life imprisonment or death.
There may be strong defenses available for a St. Petersburg meth crime attorney to fight these charges. These defenses may be procedural. Whenever a meth crime is charged, a prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard to meet. In some cases, it is possible to call into question police procedures. For example, to pull someone over, the police must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. If you are pulled over on nothing more than a cop's hunch, it may be possible to get evidence obtained from that search suppressed so that the prosecutor cannot meet the burden of proof. In other cases, it may be possible to attack the credibility of witnesses, show lack of knowledge or lack of control, or focus on other constitutional rights that were violated.Consult a Meth Crime Lawyer in St. Petersburg
Often, meth charges are coupled with other charges, and it is important to consult an experienced St. Petersburg criminal attorney who can devise a defense strategy that will address them all. If you are seeking a tough and skillful trial lawyer to fight meth charges, Hanlon Law may be able to provide representation. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has offered vigorous criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form. We also represent people who are facing charges related to marijuana or other controlled substances.