Possession of Drugs that can be legally obtained with a valid prescription become illegal when possessed by a person who does not have a prescription. This means that if you take home “a few” of your friend’s prescription pain pills thinking you will use them for your own occasional headache or to take the edge off a tense situation, your friend’s legal drug possession has now become your illegal possession.

If law enforcement discovers you are carrying any quantity of pills, and they are not in the original bottle in which they were packaged, with your name on the label, you can be arrested on the spot for possession of illegal prescription drugs. If you are arrested or charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs, the next thing you need to do is call a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending prescription drug charges. Do not talk to anyone, not to law enforcement, not to the prosecuting attorney or your friends until you have spoken to your attorney.

Florida Prescription Drug Possession Penalties Are Severe

Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a) makes it unlawful for a person to 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.” The prescription is only valid if it was obtained by way of an order “of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice.”

If you possess less than 4 grams by weight of the pills, the offense is classified as a third degree felony. This means that even if it is your first offense, you may be fined up to $5,000 and sent to prison for as many as five years. If you have prior felony offenses, the penalties are increased.

The more of the illegal substance you have in your possession, which is calculated by the weight of the pills, not the number, the greater the penalties. For example, if you have more than 4 grams of pills in your possession, you will likely be charged with drug trafficking. Depending on the actual amount, you could be facing a minimum mandatory 25 years to life in prison.

If you have been arrested or charged with this offense, contact a Jacksonville drugs lawyer at the Law Office of James Davis, P.A. There are defenses to the charge, but you need competent legal help who can begin working with you as soon as possible.