In Florida, Possession of a Controlled Substance that was not lawfully obtained is felony.

Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a) states:

“A person may not be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice or to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance except as otherwise authorized by this chapter. A person who violates this provision commits a felony of the third degree…”

There are 2 forms of possession, “actual” and “constructive.”

  • “Actual” possession means the substance is actually on the defendant’s person or within “ready reach”.

  • “Constructive” possession means the controlled substance is not on the physical person of the accused but rather in a place over which the defendant can exercise dominion or control over.

Simply put, “constructive” possession means the contraband is in a place where more than one person has access to it.

Controlled substances include drugs such as cocaine and prescription medications such as xanax, oxycodone, and Vicodin.


As a third-degree felony, Possession of a Controlled Substance is punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; or

  • Up to 5 years of probation; and

  • $5,000.00 fine

Additional consequences include:

  • A driver’s license suspension; and

  • Random drug and alcohol screens


Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:

  • Illegal search;

  • Lack of Probable Cause;

  • Failure to prove “possession”;

  • No knowledge of the illicit nature of the substance;

  • Miranda violations;

  • Improper testing;

  • Lawful prescription

Possession of a Controlled Substance is a common crime. However, no matter how common it may be, prosecutors still treat it very seriously and look for heavy sanctions that may include incarceration.


Charged with the POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE? Contact us today.

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