Types of Possession in Florida
If you have been arrested or charged in the state of Florida with possession of an illegal drug or unlawful possession of a weapon, you may feel confused and frightened. The state of Florida recognizes different types of possession under Florida statutes. Understanding the differences between types of possession, and how you were charged, can help you understand your case, and understand your rights.
Possession never describes ownership. Whether or not a person actually owns an illegal item does not matter with respect to possession. Actual possession is the simplest to understand, as a person must have actual possession of the illegal drug or object on their physical person. If law enforcement finds drugs, guns, or other illegal substances on your person, you can be charged with actual possession.
Construction possession is a bit more difficult to prove, however, it is typically charged when there are multiple individuals in a car where an illegal item or drug is discovered. While you do not need to be in actual possession of the item on your person, you will need to have knowledge that the items were in that location, know that the items were illegal, and the items would have to be close enough to be within your control. Therefore, you can be charged with possession of drugs or an illegal item in your vehicle, even if it is not directly on your person at the time a police officer discovered it.
The state of Florida will also charge joint possession in certain cases where the item discovered is held by two (or multiple) persons. Again, the state will have to prove knowledge and control over the property, not just physical presence next to the item. Therefore, if you are in a car with four other people, and illegal drugs are discovered by law enforcement, all four persons can be charged with joint constructive possession if the state of Florida can prove that all four persons had knowledge and control over the item.
Possession versus Trafficking in Florida
Trafficking is essentially considered by the state of Florida to be “super possession.” Typically, these charges are felonies due to the fact that they involve controlled substances in larger amounts. While not all illegal substances are considered trafficking, it is important to note that if you do possess larger quantities of items such as cocaine, amphetamines, and other dangerous substances, you could be charged with trafficking.
Let Us Help You Today
The penalties for possession depend not only on the type of possession but what the items actually were. Anything from child pornography to illegal firearms, to illegal drugs, can make the penalties drastically different. If you were arrested and charged with possession of any illegal item, visiting with an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney can help you understand the defenses that may be available to you in your case, help you understand your rights, help build your defense, and represent you in court. Call the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. today at 954-467-6656 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation.