Possession of Xanax Attorney in Tampa, FL
Florida has some of the nation’s harsher drug laws, and even tiny amounts of prescription drugs can land you in serious trouble if you do not have a prescription. A conviction for illegal possession of Xanax can land you jail time, mandatory drug treatment, fines, driver’s license suspension and, in some cases, long prison sentences.
If you or a loved one are facing possession of Xanax charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa possession of Xanax criminal defense lawyer, today.
Simple Possession of Xanax in Tampa, FL
Xanax, or Alprazolam, is labeled a Schedule IV controlled substance in Florida. This means that while it has some moderate potential for abuse, it also has widespread medical applications. As a rule, Xanax is less tightly regulated than more dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin. That said, simple possession of even a single Xanax pill without a valid prescription is a third-degree felony, the same criminal offense as possession of cocaine or heroin. This offense is punishable by as many as three years in prison, although probation is often more likely, especially for first-time offenders. Mandatory minimum jail or prison time may be possible for repeat offenders, offenders convicted of additional crimes, and offenders convicted of illegally possessing Xanax while on probation or parole.
Possession of Xanax with Intent to Sell in Tampa, FL
It is also a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years to sell heroin, deliver it or possess it with intent to sell or deliver it. Jail time is more likely than with simple possession. It is important to note that prosecutors do not have to prove what you were thinking to establish intent to sell or deliver. The presence of paraphernalia such as baggies or scales, large amounts of drugs, or large amounts of cash, can be used to prove intent. Possession of any amount of Xanax with intent to deliver or sell within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, school, college, park, community center, recreational facility, place of worship, public housing facility or assisted living facility, or certain businesses, is a second-degree felony with a 15-year maximum.
Possession of Xanax: Defenses in Tampa, FL
In order to make a criminal case, prosecutors must establish one of two things: actual illegal possession of Xanax or constructive illegal possession of Xanax. If they cannot prove one of these, they have no case. Actual possession is what it sounds like: physical possession and control over the Xanax. In other words, the police found it on your person when they stopped you. Constructive possession is much trickier for prosecutors. This is when you have control over something that isn’t in your physical possession. For example, the Xanax might be kept in a place accessible to multiple people. To prove that you had constructive possession, prosecutors must establish three things: knowledge that the Xanax was in that location, knowledge it was Xanax, and dominion and control over the Xanax. There are many cases in which prosecutors cannot meet this burden. It is also often possible to beat Xanax possession charges by producing a valid prescription or a statement from a doctor that she dispensed the pills.