Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that you certainly don’t have to be involved in the (actual) high-risk world of drug dealing to be charged with a serious drug crime.
For example, one man recently tried to sell what he told his prospective buyer was some crack cocaine for $20. In this instance, however, the “crack cocaine” was actually a crushed up breakfast pastry and his buyer was an undercover police officer.
After the seller was arrested and the officers determined that what was sold was not actually crack cocaine, the local prosecutors still decided to charge the man with a drug crime: creating and selling a counterfeit controlled substance.
According to Section 831.31 of the Florida State Statutes, it is indeed a crime to sell, manufacture or deliver or to possess with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance. In determining the severity of that crime, the law takes into account the type of controlled substance/drug being counterfeited. As in this case, if you pass off a crushed-up breakfast pastry as a batch of crack cocaine or cocaine for any of the purposes listed above, you can be charged with the crime as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or 5 years in state prison.
But how exactly does the law define “counterfeit”? The law is really broad in its definition of what can be deemed to be a controlled substance. According to the state statute identified above, a counterfeit of a controlled substance can be any substance which is falsely identified as being a controlled substance, as defined in s. 893.03. That means that if you have a bag of something harmless with the label “heroin” on it, you can be charged with this crime; likewise, if you tell somebody that what you have is a controlled substance, even if it isn’t, you could theoretically be charged with this crime.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, this means that you can end up being charged with a felony drug crime without even consciously having committed a crime. Simply “joking around” can get you charged with a felony and, if you’re convicted, stuck with prison time and thousands of dollars in fines and fees.
All of this should inform you of the fact that even a seemingly harmless action can get you in serious trouble with the law here in the State of Florida. Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers are strong advocates of making criminal law knowledge available and accessible to everyone, because we know that what you don’t know can hurt you.
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. You can reach our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.