In the state of Florida, Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab) is a Schedule IV controlled substance. Possession of any amount of Hydrocodone without a prescription is considered a Third Degree felony and carries with it the potential for substantial fines and jail time.
By nature of its Schedule IV controlled substance designation, Hydrocodone is legally considered to have a low abuse potential, and is accepted currently for medical use both nationally and in Florida.
The crime of Possession of Hydrocodone, in Florida, is a Third Degree Felony and punishments include up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
The possession of Hydrocodone has been designated a Level 3 offense severity ranking based on Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. It is possible that a judge might sentence someone found guity of Hydrocodone Possession to only probation, but it's also possible that they will impose a sentence of up to five years in prison, the statutory maximum.
In accordance with Florida Statute 322.055, anyone convicted of Hydrocodone Possession will have their driver’s license suspended for six months by the Florida DHSMV.
If the police discovered the Hydrocodone in a spot where mltiple people had access, the prosecutor would have to follow the law of "constructive possession," which mandates that the prosecutor prove the following two components before someone can be convicted of Possession of Hydrocodone:
Illegal Search and Seizure
In many instances, police go beyond the scope of their authority and make people submit to vehicular, home, or body searches; or coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If it can be proven that either instance occurred, the judge will suppress the resulting evidence, since it was obtained illegally.
If the police obtain a search warrant in bad faith, or arrest you without probable cause, these may also constitute reasons for a judge to supress evidence.
Lack of Knowledge
Even if you had Hydrocodone in your possession, if you can prove that you did not know it was Hydrocodone, this can be used as an affirmative defense in a Hydrocodone Possession case. You will be required to testify to your lack of knowledge of the substance’s illegality.
Anyone who is experiencing a drug overdose and needs medical intervention, or any person helping the person that needs medical assistance, cannot be prosecuted for Possession of Hydrocodone, if it can be proven that the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical care.
The defense of temporary possession can be utilized when a person takes momentary, temporary, or transitory possession of Hydrocodone from the actual owner. In this event, the person is not considered to be in legal possession because the person never exercised complete dominion and control over the pills.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for Hydrocodone possession and needs legal assistance, please call us at 386-222-6677 so we can promptly begin defending your case.