Whether you were caught partying with drugs during the holidays or buying drugs for personal use, you probably know that drug possession charges can quickly become a very serious matter, and that Florida police are not inclined to look the other way due to the forgiving nature of the season in general.
In fact, this year not even Santa was safe from our state’s drug laws. In mid-December, a Santa from Jacksonville was arrested recently for delivering a… different kind of gift.
You Better Watch Out
A few weeks ago, Jacksonville Police were conducting a drug-related investigation as they watched a man in a Santa costume (beard and all) walk back and forth from a U-Haul truck. At one point, the Santa (whose real name is Issac Geiger) saw police and began to book it.
The U-Haul that he had been walking to and from had a large amount of marijuana in the front seat, so police began to investigate further. On the U-Haul’s front seat, police found more marijuana, a scale with marijuana residue, and ecstasy. In a five-gallon bucket, police found even more marijuana, molly, ecstasy, and money.
Geiger was caught when he tripped on the pants of his Santa suit and fell to the ground. He allegedly had a wad of cash in his hands when he was arrested. He faces multiple charges, including drug possession and possession with intent to sell.
Drug Possession Charges in Florida
Drug possession penalties in Florida are dependent on the amount and type of drugs that you are caught with. Naturally, these penalties are not as serious as those for distribution or trafficking, but our state has some of the strictest laws around concerning possession, particularly for marijuana.
While other states have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, you can still face criminal charges for having a small amount of weed on your person. Anything more serious can mean felony charges and multiple years in prison.
Moreover, keep in mind that prosecutors can still add charges after an arraignment and throughout an investigation.
Possession of “harder” drugs, including meth, cocaine, or heroin, is a third degree felony. You may face up to five years in prison for this type of crime, as well as thousands of dollars in fines.
Possession of an “unlawful chemical,” which includes the ecstasy or molly that was found in Geiger’s U-Haul, is a second degree felony. This comes with even stricter penalties: you could face up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Possession in specified areas (around a school or a park), past convictions, and the presence of any other aggravating factors will increase your sentence. For example, Geiger’s possession with intent to sell charges may have come directly from the presence of a scale, or large amounts of cash, in the U-Haul involved in the arrest. If these, or other related items, are found during an investigation, you can face additional and more serious charges.
To give yourself the best chance at getting your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed, you need the help of an experienced Florida drug crimes lawyer who can point to a successful track record handling possession cases. Get started on your defense as soon as possible by reaching out to our offices.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.