Drug Crimes in Pinellas County

Narcotics detectives with the criminal investigations unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies aggressively investigate drug crimes from simple possession to drug trafficking.

After arrest, the prosecutors with the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office prosecute drug crimes at the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) courthouse in Clearwater, FL.

In many of these cases, the detectives use elaborate sting operations or confidential informants to gather the evidence needed to make an arrest. Other investigations begin with a routine traffic stop before the drugs are found during a search.

Detectives also investigate prescription drug rings involved in racketeering charges, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, scheme to defraud, uttering forged instruments, and the unlawful use of communications devices.

In Florida, drug crimes are typically categorized by the substance possessed and whether the crime involved simple possession, possession with intent to sell, delivery, cultivation or manufacturing, or trafficking.

No matter the circumstances, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight the case at every stage.

Attorney for Drug Crimes in Pinellas County, FL

The five attorneys at Sammis Law aggressively fight drug cases in Pinellas County, FL, to help our clients obtain the best result.

We have represented clients on a wide variety of drug charges from simple possession to large-scale trafficking crimes. We file and litigate every viable motion to suppress, exclude or dismiss. By taking a scholarly approach, we spot issues others might miss.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the charges pending against you, the potential punishments for those types of charges, and the best possible defenses that can be used to aggressively fight the charges.

Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for Pinellas County, FL.

Call 727-210-7004. 

Types of Charges for Possession of Controlled Substances

The most commonly prosecuted felony drug crimes in Pinellas County include trafficking, possession with intent to sell, or simple possession of the following types of controlled substances:

  • Marijuana Less Than 20 Grams with Intent to Sell
  • Marijuana More Than 20 Grams
  • Cannabis Resin Extract
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy/MDMA
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine

Criminal charges for possession of controlled substances also include prescription drugs such as Xanax, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.

Penalties for Drug Crimes in Florida

The penalties for drug crimes in Florida depend on a host of factors including:

  • the classification of the substance possessed;
  • the quantity of the substance possessed;
  • the location where the substance was possessed; and
  • the criminal record of the accused.

Programs are available for individuals with serious addictions who are seeking intensive forms of substance abuse treatment. Those programs include Operation PAR, managed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Pinellas County Adult Drug Court, and Pretrial Intervention.

Many of our clients do not wish to participate in substance abuse treatment or submit to random urine screenings.

Drug Trafficking Crimes in Florida

In Florida, the punishments for drug trafficking crimes are listed in 893.135, F.S. Drug trafficking crimes include knowingly being in actual or constructive possession of certain Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances in a statutorily-specified quantity.

Drug trafficking crimes might also include bringing or importing drugs into Florida. Other drug trafficking offenses involve selling, purchasing, manufacturing, or delivering statutorily-specified quantities of certain types of controlled substances.

Not all controlled substances are covered by Florida’s drug trafficking laws. Instead, the statute applies to a limited number of controlled substances.

Penalties for Drug Trafficking Crimes

Most drug trafficking offenses are classified as first-degree felonies punishable by up to 30 years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment determined by the weight or quantity of the substance.

For example, trafficking 28 to 200 grams of cocaine is classified as a first degree felony punishable by a 3-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and a mandatory fine of $50,000.10

Trafficking in 200 to 400 grams of cocaine is classified as a first degree felony punishable by a 7-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and a mandatory fine of $100,000.

Drug Crimes Within 1,000 Feet of Certain Places in Pinellas County, FL

Florida Statute Section 893.13 prohibits a person from selling, manufacturing, or delivering a controlled substance.

The penalty for selling, manufacturing, or delivering a controlled substance varies depending on several different factors. Those factors include the type and amount of the substance sold and the location where the sale takes place.

For example, the sale or delivery of a controlled substance is punishable as either a second degree felony or third degree felony.

Florida Statute Section 893.13(1)(c), (d), (e), (f), and (h), enhances these felony penalties by one degree if the crime occurred within one thousand (1,000) feet of the real property of specified locations, including:

  • public or private college, university, or other postsecondary institution;
  • public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school;
  • child care facility;
  • physical place of worship at which a church or religious organization regularly conducts religious services;
  • assisted living facility.
  • public housing facility;
  • convenience business;
  • community center or publicly owned recreational facility; or
  • state, county, or municipal park.

Additional Resources

Narcotics Detectives in Pinellas County, FL – Visit the website of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about the way detectives with the Narcotics Division of the Criminal Investigations Unit focus on crimes related to the sale, distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking of street drugs, prescription drugs, or synthetic drugs. The detectives also investigate health care professionals accused of illegally prescribing or selling prescription drugs. The sheriff’s office encourages tips to Crime Stoppers of Pinellas as a way to identify and investigate drug dealers in the community. The website even has a way to “report a drug tip” regarding ongoing vice activity in Pinellas County.

Narcotics Section of the Pinellas Park Police Department – Visit the website of the Vice & Narcotics Section of the Pinellas Park Police Department to learn more about how narcotics officers investigate crimes related to the street-level drug trade, major drug trafficking, and mid-level distribution. The website also gives tips to the public on how to report suspicious activity in the neighborhood including the types of drugs being sold.

Highest Arrest Rate for Drug Crimes in Pinellas County – According to a study by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, Pinellas County is among the top five counties with the highest arrest rates for drug possession in Florida. According to the report, between 2010 and 2015, for every 100,000 residents, 547 faced a misdemeanor or felony possession charge in Pinellas County. The county had more than 31,100 arrests for drug possession charges during that five-year time period.

This article was last updated on Friday, November 18, 2022.