Call to Request a Free Consultation
Florida’s Drug Laws Could Be Unconstitutional One of Florida's Most Reputable Defense Law Firms

Florida’s Drug Laws Could Be Unconstitutional

In 2002, Florida passed a drug possession law that allowed prosecutors to convict people of possessing drugs without proving the person knew the drugs were in their possession. Florida's Drug Abuse Prevention and Control law became the only drug law in the nation without a required mental state. With that change, anyone could be convicted of possessing drugs, even if the drugs did not belong to them and they had no idea they even existed.

Enter U.S. District Court Judge Mary Scriven. In July 2011, federal Judge Scriven struck down the entire Florida drug law, saying the lack of a required mental state (knowledge) is "draconian" and violates the U.S. Constitution's Due Process requirements. While it is unknown if the State of Florida will appeal the ruling or the legislature will quickly amend the law, Judge Scriven's ruling could have widespread consequences.

Impact on Pending and Future Trials

Most Florida state judges have rejected Judge Scriven's ruling as non-binding on state courts. However, two state judges have decided they are bound by the federal judge's ruling and have dismissed dozens of criminal drug possession cases. One Manatee, Florida judge dismissed felony drug charges against 42 defendants while another judge dismissed 39 felony drug charges in Miami. With such differing judicial opinions, the Florida Supreme Court is likely to eventually resolve the matter.

Until the issue is settled, it is unclear whether Florida law enforcement agencies will criminally charge people found in possession of illegal drugs. If they do, defense attorneys may have increasingly solid grounds upon which to request that the charges be dismissed.

Impact on Prior Convictions

The biggest question is what will happen to those already convicted of drug possession under the Florida law if it is ultimately found unconstitutional. The Florida Department of Corrections reports that nearly 94,000 people have been sentenced to state prison based on convictions under the Florida Drug Abuse Prevention and Control law. Striking down the law could open floodgates like no one has seen before.

If you or a loved one has been charged with possessing drugs in Florida, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation and your rights.

Dedicated to Excellence

Read Our Client Reviews
  • Jan, Former Client

    The best criminal defense attorney in Orlando!

  • Former Client

    In the fight of my life, I wouldn't have wanted to use anyone else.

  • Former Client

    I believe this positive outcome is a reflection of your life’s work.

  • Ted, Former Client

    Throughout the entire nightmare, Mr. Horwitz was by my side all the way. I could not have been better represented. Once indicted, I could not have had a better outcome.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Citro knows the ins-and-outs of how the Government operates and works their cases.

  • Roshelle P., Former Client

    I know he fought for me and that's the best feeling you could ever have when you find yourself in the middle of a nightmare. I would highly recommend this law firm for anyone needing someone to fight for them!

  • Rob, Former Client

    The attention to detail and professional approach to my situation was extraordinary. Attorney Mark Horwitz made me feel like my case was important to him and that he and his staff cared about the outcome.

  • Daniel, Former Client

    Competent and thorough legal counsel!

  • John, Former Client

    Couldn’t have asked for a better outcome!

  • Nalita, Former Client

    I greatly appreciate the time and diligence that they spent on my case.

  • Cary

    This is the Attorney I highly recommend!

  • Randy P., Former Client

    I felt strong and confident that no other attorney team could have represented me better.

  • Anonymous, Former Client

    I received good quality legal services from an experienced and well respected lawyer.

The Edge You Need

6 Reasons to Hire Us
  • Former Federal Prosecutors
  • Board Certified with The Florida Bar & the National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Personalized Client Service & Aggressive Legal Advocacy
  • Published Speakers/Authors & an Authority on Federal Matters
  • Regularly Featured in the News & Media
  • Highly Regarded by Peers, Prosecutors & Judges

Let's Discuss Your Case

Request a Free Consultation
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.