In a Drug Possession case does the weight matter?What if the drug is “cut” with something else?
Drug Possession cases are complicated. First, there’s the way the cops found the drugs and charged you with possession. Then there’s the actual chemical testing of the drugs. And the weight of the drug. Without getting too scientific – and at the risk of showing my ignorance in converting ounces to grams, this blog is an attempt to show you how the weights and amounts of drugs can affect the charges for drug possession.
Different controlled substances have different levels of charges. For example: Less than 20 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by less than one year in the county jail. 11/29 – is the slang term, meaning 11 months, 29 days. Or 364. Possession of more than 20 grams of pot is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
How much is 20 grams? For those of you that are old and measure your weed purchases in ounces – 20 grams is a little less than a 3/4 of an ounce. An ounce equals 28 grams. a 1/4 ounce equals 7 grams.
But with other drugs, like cocaine, pills, or meth – it’s not so simple. Possessing any amount of these drugs is a felony – and could potentially be a life felony depending upon the weight of the drugs. The weight of the drugs effects the level of the charge.
What happens if the drug is mixed with something?
That’s a very good question. Hydrocodone, for example, is not straight hydrocodone and is mixed with acetaminophen (Tylenol) and probably some other fillers. So if you’re charged with possession of controlled substance, hydrocodone – are you just charged with the weight of the actual drug or the whole pill? THE WHOLE PILL.
In the case of Possession of Hydrocodone just 8 pills can upgrade the charge from a 3rd degree felony (which would probably result in probation) to drug trafficking which would carry a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 3 years. It doesn’t matter that 8 pills only contain about 4 grams of actual hydrocodone. (don’t quote me on these chemical weights – I’m not a chemist!!! and we always use an expert chemist when defending these cases)
Both Florida and Federal drug laws say that any substances mixed with the drug is part of the weight. So in the case of cocaine – which is always cut with something by the time it gets to the street level – the weight is measured by not only the pure cocaine – but also any “agent” used to cut it.
In a recent 1st DCA case, which tracks both the US Supreme Court cases and the Florida Statutes on Drug Trafficking, a man was charged with trafficking methamphetamine for possessing just the by product of the meth manufacturing. It was a liquid with just which just contained 1% meth. (Once again – I’m not Walter White, don’t quote me on the specifics of meth making). But the liquid that the meth was in weighed 26.2 grams. You only need 14 grams to qualify for trafficking.
Experienced drug trafficking attorneys in Trinity, Florida, we use experts to determine weights. We don’t just go by what the police say when they confiscate it. We also are expert negotiators. If you’re arrested for drug trafficking – don’t talk to the police without an attorney, don’t agree to be a confidential informant, and definitely don’t admit ANYTHING, until you talk to a lawyer.