Florida Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws

Learn about the penalties for selling drugs in Florida.

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Every state regulates the sale of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its definition of CDS and the penalties for their sale. Florida classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine as controlled substances, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.

Certain drugs, like codeine, may be legally possessed with a valid prescription.

How Florida Classifies CDS

Florida divides its CDS into five “schedules,” according to their likelihood for abuse.

  • Schedule I drugs (such as heroin) are those that have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use.
  • Schedule II drugs (such as opium and morphine) have a high potential for abuse, have an accepted medical use with severe restrictions, and their abuse has the potential for severe psychic and physical dependence.
  • Schedule III drugs (such as anabolic steroids) have a potential for abuse less than Schedule I or II drugs, have an accepted medical use, and their abuse may lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence.
  • Schedule IV drugs (such as diazepam) have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, have an acceptable medical use, and their abuse may lead to limited psychological and physical dependence in relation to Schedule III drugs.
  • Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse relative to Schedule IV CDS, have a currently accepted medical use, and have a limited risk of physical or psychological dependence relative to Schedule IV CDS. Schedule V drugs include medicines that contain very small amounts of specified narcotic drugs. 

(Florida Statutes Section 893.03.)                      

This article concerns the sale of CDS only. Separate punishments apply to possession of CDS for personal use. For information about possession of controlled substances for personal use, see Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida.

Penalties for the Sale of CDS

The punishment for selling CDS, possessing it with the intent to sell, or delivering CDS depends on the type and amount of substance involved in the offense. CDS crimes are punished as either felonies or misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are punished less severely than felonies and receive limited periods of incarceration and smaller fines.

To understand the charges and penalties you might face, review the charging document in your case (the complaint, information, or indictment) to see which drugs, and how much, you are charged with attempting to sell or selling. Then consult the Schedules and place the drugs in the appropriate schedule. Read the sections below to understand the possible consequences.

(Florida Criminal Code 893.13.)

Felony Sale of CDS

Florida divides felonies into three degrees. Felony sale of the first degree is the most serious and receives the harshest penalties.

Felony sale of the first degree

The sale or delivery of more than ten grams of any Schedule I CDS, other than the following substances, is a felony of the first degree, punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 30 years, a fine of $10,000, or both:

  • hallucinogens
  • 1,4-Butanediol
  • gamma-butyrolactone (GBL)
  • gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)
  • methaqualone, and
  • mecloqualone.

Felony sale of the second degree

The sale, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell or deliver, the following substances is a felony of the second degree, punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both:

  • Schedule I CDS other than hallucinogens, and
  • Schedule II CDS other than amobarbital,  amphetamine, glutethimide, methylphenidate, pentobarbital, phenmetrazine, phenylacetone, secobarbital.

Felony sale of the third degree

The sale, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell or deliver the following substances is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of $5,000, or both:

  • Schedule I hallucinogens
  • Schedule II amobarbital,  amphetamine, glutethimide, methylphenidate, pentobarbital, phenmetrazine, phenylacetone, secobarbital
  • all Schedule III CDS, and
  • all Schedule IV CDS.

(Florida Criminal Code Sections 893.13, 775.082, and 775.083.)

Misdemeanor Sale of CDS

The sale of all Schedule V CDS is a misdemeanor in the first degree and is punishable by a period of incarceration of up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

(Florida Criminal Code Sections 893.13, 775.082, and 775.083.)

Enhanced Penalties for the Sale of CDS Near Certain Properties

Florida imposes harsher penalties for the sale of CDS that occurs within 1,000 feet of the following properties:

  • secondary schools between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and midnight
  • state, county, or municipal parks or facilities
  • post-secondary facilities
  • places of worship
  • religious organization
  • assisted living facilities, and
  • public housing facilities.

Felony sale of CDS of the first degree

The sale, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell or deliver, the following substances within 1,000 feet of the above named properties, is a felony of the first degree and punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 30 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

  • Schedule I CDS other than hallucinogens, and
  • Schedule II CDS other than amobarbital,  amphetamine, glutethimide, methylphenidate, pentobarbital, phenmetrazine, phenylacetone, secobarbital.

If a sale occurs in a location other than near a daycare facility, a defendant convicted under this section must serve a minimum of three calendar years.

Felony sale of CDS of the second degree

The sale, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell or deliver, the following substances within 1,000 feet of the above named properties, is a felony of the second degree, and punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 15 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both:

  • Schedule I hallucinogens
  • Schedule II amobarbital,  amphetamine, glutethimide, methylphenidate, pentobarbital, phenmetrazine, phenylacetone, secobarbital
  • all Schedule III CDS, and
  • all Schedule IV CDS

Misdemeanor sale of CDS

The sale of CDS within 1,000 feet of the above named properties, other than the CDS listed above, is punishable by a fine of $500 and 100 hours of public service. This penalty is in addition to the sentence for the underlying crime.

This penalty does not apply when the owner of the daycare facility fails to post a sign at least two square feet in size that identifies the property as a licensed daycare center.

(Florida Criminal Code Sections 893.13, 775.083.)

Enhanced Penalties for Involving a Minor in a CDS Crime

The use of a minor in the sale of CDS, or the sale of CDS to a minor, by a defendant over the age of 18 is a felony.

Felony of the first degree.

The sale of CDS to a minor, or the use of a minor to commit a CDS crime, that involves the following substances is a felony of the first degree and punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 30 years, a fine of $10,000, or both. This sentence cannot be suspended or deferred, nor can the convicted person be placed on probation.

  • Schedule I CDS other than hallucinogens, and
  • Schedule II CDS other than amobarbital,  amphetamine, glutethimide, methylphenidate, pentobarbital, phenmetrazine, phenylacetone, secobarbital.

Felony of the second degree.

The sale of CDS to a minor, or the use of a minor to commit a CDS crime, that involves the following substances is a felony of the second degree and punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 15 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. This sentence cannot be suspended or deferred and the convicted person may not be placed on probation.

  • Schedule I hallucinogens
  • Schedule II amobarbital,  amphetamine, glutethimide, methylphenidate, pentobarbital, phenmetrazine, phenylacetone, secobarbital
  • all Schedule III CDS, and
  • all Schedule IV CDS.

(Florida Criminal Code 893.13.)

Habitual Offenders

Like most states, Florida imposes harsher penalties on defendants with multiple prior convictions.

Habitual felony offenders

A defendant with two or more prior felony convictions in Florida, or under any other law in the United States, faces an increased penalty for subsequent convictions.

  • A conviction for a felony of the first-degree may be sentenced to a period of incarceration of up to life.
  • A conviction for a felony of the second degree may be sentenced to a period of incarceration of up to 30 years.
  • A conviction of a felony of a third degree may be sentenced to a period of incarceration of up to ten years.

Review the statute to determine whether your past convictions could result in an enhanced penalty.

(Florida Criminal Code Section 775.084.)

Misdemeanor felony offenders

A defendant with four of more prior misdemeanor convictions may be penalized in one of the following manners at the court’s discretion:

  • a period of six months to one year of incarceration
  • enrollment in a residential treatment program, or
  • home detention for a period of six months to 364 days.

(Florida Criminal Code Section 775.0837.)

Talk To An Attorney

If you are convicted of selling CDS, you face serious penalties that have life-long consequences. You should seek the help of an attorney who has experience in defending CDS related crimes so that you understand the offense you have been charged with, its penalties, and the possible outcomes of your case.

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