Tampa Drug Crime Lawyer

Get Help From a Drug Lawyer Near You

When you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense in Tampa, FL, you need to think about your future. A drug conviction on your record means more than a few years in prison and fines. It takes away your opportunities and puts hurdles in your path.

A drug conviction comes with a great deal of stigma and limits your educational and professional opportunities.

Fight a drug crime conviction with the help of Tampa drug charge lawyers at Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A. Call (813) 258-4800 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.

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Why Choose Our Tampa Drug Charge Lawyers to Defend You

Attorney Brett Metcalf is a passionate and successful Tampa drug defense attorney. He began his career as a prosecutor in the State Attorney’s Office. Attorney Metcalf learned firsthand how the prosecution prepares for drug crime cases and wins convictions. Since establishing his criminal defense and personal injury firm in 2012, attorney Metcalf has used this knowledge to his client’s advantage.

Award-Winning Drug Defense Attorneys in Tampa, FL

Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A., has received more than 70 five-star reviews and a perfect 10 rating on Avvo.com.

In addition:

  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers & Top 40 Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Rising Star, 2018, Super Lawyers

Choosing a drug charge lawyer who truly cares about the future of his clients could make all the difference in your case.

Personalized Drug Crime Defense in Tampa

Our Tampa drug crime lawyers leave no stone unturned in investigating the allegations against you. We will gather all the evidence available, analyze your case from every angle, and determine the most effective defense strategy to pursue a reduction in your drug charges, a dismissal, or an acquittal.

If you want an aggressive drug charge lawyer and a skilled negotiator, call attorney Brett Metcalf.

How Our Tampa Drug Charge Lawyers Help

No two drug cases are the same. Our drug defense attorneys conduct a thorough process to determine the best defense for you.

  • Investigates the facts surrounding the police stop
  • Reviews the validity of a search and seizure warrant or arrest warrant
  • Reviews whether you were adequately Mirandized
  • Gathers witness statements
  • Researches the backgrounds of the officers involved in your arrest
  • Submits legal documents on your behalf
  • Helps you arrange bail and obtain your release from jail
  • Represents you in court
  • Challenges any violation of your constitutional rights in court
  • Pursues an aggressive pretrial motion practice
  • Pursues a reduction in the charges or dismissal of the case
  • Pursues an acquittal at trial
  • Explains the advantages and disadvantages of a plea bargain
  • Strategizes to mitigate the consequences of a drug crime conviction

Drug Cases We Handle in Tampa, FL

Our drug charge attorneys handle a wide range of Florida and federal drug offenses. Here are a few of the more common drug charges we see in Tampa criminal court.

Drug Possession Charges

In Florida, prosecutors file drug possession charges when they determine you have a small amount of a controlled substance in your possession for personal use. These drug charges can arise based on actual or constructive possession. The level of charge you face depends on the type and amount possessed.

Marijuana and Schedule V drugs can lead to first-degree misdemeanor charges, while other controlled substances lead to felony charges. If it is a first-time non-violent drug offense, you could receive a diversion program or probation. It would be best to consult a drug charge lawyer near you before accepting any sentence.

Possession of Marijuana Charges

Marijuana remains a controlled substance in Florida, and possessing cannabis without a prescription is a crime. Possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor. Possession of more than 20 grams is a third-degree felony.

Possession With the Intent to Distribute Charges

The drug offense a prosecutor will charge you with depends on the threshold amount of the drug. You will be charged with a felony for possession with intent to distribute if you have more than a personal amount. Prosecutors use this threshold to charge suspected drug dealers for possession, if not for actual trafficking. The threshold amounts differ depending on the controlled substance.

Drug Trafficking Charges

A prosecutor in Florida can charge you with drug trafficking if you are allegedly involved in selling, manufacturing, delivering, buying, or possessing one or more controlled substances.

Drug trafficking charges are based on the amount in your possession, not your actual conduct. You will be charged with trafficking if you possess above a certain threshold amount. Trafficking is a felony, and the quantity in your possession determines the level of the offense and the minimum term of imprisonment you face.

Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing

It is a felony for cultivating marijuana (or another drug) or manufacturing it, such as methamphetamine. The level of the offense and minimum term of imprisonment you face depends on the type and amount of the drug involved.

Drug Sale

Like other Florida drug crimes, the charge you face for selling or delivering a controlled substance to another party depends on the type and amount of the drug involved. For this offense, prosecutors do not have to prove you provided drugs in exchange for money.

You can be convicted for exchanging the drugs for any object or service of value enough to establish a sale. You can also face equally harsh drug charges for the mere intent to sell.

Conspiracy to Commit a Drug Crime

You can be charged with conspiracy if you and one or more persons agree to commit a drug offense. The prosecutor will seek to prove an implied or explicit agreement and intent to commit the drug crime.

Conspiracy is unlawful under Florida and federal law. In Florida, the prosecutor does not need to prove you or either conspirator performed an act to further the crime.

Federal Drug Charges

Many criminal drug offenses fall under Florida or federal jurisdiction. Drug crimes are federal cases if they occurred on federal land, crossed state or national borders, was investigated by federal law enforcement agents, or were discovered through an informant.

How to Defend Against Drug Charges in Tampa, FL

Defending against a drug charge can be difficult. It requires working with seasoned drug defense attorneys. You need to partner with someone who knows how to investigate the allegations, look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a strong defense strategy to obtain a dismissal or acquittal.

Defending Against Drug Charges

When you are arrested and charged with a Florida or federal drug crime, speak with a drug charge lawyer. There may be strong evidence we can use to convince the prosecutor to drop your case or win a motion to dismiss. If a dismissal is unlikely, you need to speak with an experienced drug crime attorney about the possible defenses against a drug charge.

What Defenses Can Be Used to Fight a Drug Charge?

There are many possible defenses to drug crimes. Our experienced Tampa drug crime lawyers will scrutinize the facts of your case to determine the most effective strategy.

Lack of Possession

We may argue that you did not have actual or constructive possession of the drug. We may show that you were unaware the substance was there or that another person owned it.

Insufficient Evidence

During a motion to dismiss or at trial, we may argue that there is insufficient evidence to establish each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mistake of Identity

You may be entirely innocent of the offense. When another person is guilty of the drug crime, we may seek to establish your alibi for the time of the offense.

Unconstitutional Search or Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from warrantless and unreasonable searches and seizures. When the police or federal agents perform an unlawful search or seizure, we fight to have any evidence obtained from that incident ruled inadmissible.


To use entrapment as a defense against drug charges in Tampa, we must show that the impetus to commit the offense arose from the officer. Our drug lawyers would seek to prove you would not have committed the crime if it were not for the officer’s unreasonable influence.

Unreliable Test Results

We have handled cases where the alleged drugs did not exist, and another substance falsely tested positive for a controlled substance. Under these circumstances, we will challenge the reliability and accuracy of the test.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Brett is the best attorney I’ve ever had. I would recommend his services to anyone in need.
Pink Taylor

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“James Falls did an amazing job helping my son get some charges dismissed. He communicated with us and explained situations where we would’ve otherwise been clueless to maneuver the justice system. Highly recommend their service!”

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Sherri Albert

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“This firm is the real deal … James does not mess around when it comes to his clients. Very professional.”

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Adrian Reyes

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“Brett Metcalf is the best lawyer in the Tampa Bay area. He puts 100% into his work and goes far and beyond what you would expect out of a lawyer. If it wasn’t for Brett and Sam, my husband and…

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Janice Luke

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“This guy treated me like I was a paying customer. He didn’t give me his opinion, he got on the phone to two separate places and got answers. Very impressed. Great free consultation. Telicia Rose went above and beyond in…

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“Brett is an awesome professional attorney! I highly recommend him. Great responsive time and needed information.I will be calling Brett anytime legal advice is needed!!!! GREAT JOB BRETT”

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“Mr.Metcalf was very quick to call me back for a consultation, even though it was just a consultation. I give him 5 stars for being quick to call me back, was very professional and informative he talked to me as…

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“Great attorney.”

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“Excellent lawyer.”

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“Extremely professional and clearly the sharpest tool in any toolbox. Set the tone in the courtroom. This has to be one of the best law offices in Tampa. Thanks, Brett.”

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“Brett made the process as easy as possible for me on my end, letting me know all options and possible outcomes based on my choices. He was also very attentive and quick to respond to my questions.”

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“I could not be any happier with my experience with Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A. I would advise anyone who needs legal action to choose wisely and choose him for multiple reasons.”

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“In late 2015, I was in need of a lawyer who could help me. Looking on the internet and asking friends if they knew any great ones was looking pretty bad. Then my younger brother told me about a lawyer…

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“He did an amazing job for me in Polk County! When I got involved in a situation that needed a criminal lawyer, I was terrified. Having only lived in Florida a few years, I was not prepared for the complexity…

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Lisa Welsh

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“Brett Metcalf is a top-notch attorney. He also understands that preparation and hard work are keys to success. He possesses the knowledge, the insights, and the advocacy skills to put your legal woes in the past. Equally important, he follows…

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“Brett Metcalf provides forward-thinking and effective legal counsel. I highly recommend Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A.”

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“Very knowledgeable and compassionate. I always felt like I could contact him with questions at any time. He was extremely thorough with information – I can’t stress that enough! I would definitely hire him again and recommend him to anyone,…

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“Brett Metcalf was the best experience that I’ve ever had with any legal professional! He was understanding, honest, and worked diligently throughout my entire DUI case I had several years back. Even with the odds stacked against me, he was…

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“Brett helped me win full custody of my kids. Any and every question I had, he was right there to answer and explain the process. He was open and honest about the whole process. Extremely good price… and even better…

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“I have consulted with Brett on various issues and have found him to be excellent. He is very practical in potential outcomes on legal issues and very reasonable.”

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“Wonderful experience with Brett Metcalf. If I had to do it again, I would not change a thing. It’s a good feeling when you know you’re in good hands and your attorney is genuinely concerned about the outcome of your…

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“Brett Metcalf is the best lawyer in the Tampa Bay area. He puts 100% into his work and goes far and beyond what you would expect out of a lawyer. If it wasn’t for Brett, my husband and I would…

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Janice Luke

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“Mr. Metcalf was there for me at the most difficult and life-changing time in my life. I was treated respectfully the whole entire process, despite my embarrassing and shameful mistake. He extended honesty and professional courtesy throughout my case, guiding…

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“If you’ve decided to scroll past all the other positive reviews and find yourself reading mine, I’ll start out by saying Brett’s the man. He handles business efficiently and professionally, with the clients’ best interests in mind at all times….

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“Brett went far out of his way for my multiple cases and managed to keep me a free man even with all the charges that were put on me. 100% behind him from Plant City.”

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“Brett is an extremely knowledgeable attorney who is a straight shooter, hard worker, and always willing to go the extra mile to fight for his clients. I’ve had to use him two separate times and was more than pleased with…

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“Mr. Metcalf is very knowledgeable, friendly, and on top of things. In the midst of my confusion and thoughts of the worst possible outcome, Mr. Metcalf took charge and handled the situation with professionalism and tact. I am very pleased…

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“Brett is the best attorney I’ve ever had. I would recommend his services to anyone in need. Most lawyers just want the money, ignore your calls, and settle for deals. Not Brett! He answered and returned every call! Every penny…

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Florida Drug Crime FAQs

Drug charges in Tampa, Florida can be complex. You likely have many unanswered questions surrounding the charges against you and what your defense strategy might be.

We’ve provided the answers to some of the top drug crime related questions our clients have had regarding their cases. If you have additional questions, contact our drug crime law firm to discuss the specific details of your case.

Will I Be Arrested for a Small Amount of Drugs in Florida?

Under Florida law, you can be arrested for having small amounts of any controlled substances in your possession. It doesn’t matter whether you have no prior criminal record or are a habitual offender. Possession of any amount of a controlled substance is against the law.

However, that doesn’t mean you will face the maximum penalties. With the proper legal defense, you could get your charges reduced or even dismissed depending on the details of your case.

Will I Go to Jail for a Drug Conviction in Florida?

Incarceration is a possibility when you are facing criminal drug charges. If you are a first-time offender, you may be able to avoid jail time. Habitual offenders may not be so lucky.

Your drug crime lawyer in Tampa, FL may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to work out a plea agreement that provides you with the opportunity to escape jail time. In exchange, you may need to agree to complete community service, a drug or alcohol treatment program, or even spend time on probation.

What if I Have a Drug Addiction and Am Arrested?

Drug addiction affects thousands of Floridians. Thankfully, the state now recognizes that people suffering from drug addiction may not always benefit or be rehabilitated by being sent to jail or prison for drug crimes. Instead, your drug lawyer may be able to convince the prosecutor of a drug treatment or rehabilitation program.

Factors That Decide Eligibility

Treatment may not always be a viable option for every person dealing with drug addiction. Your criminal record, the type of drug, how much of a drug is involved, and other factors will have an impact on your eligibility and the state’s desire to work with you. Ensure you have an attorney who can show them a drug conviction doesn’t serve justice in your case.

What Happens if the Drugs Weren’t Mine?

For the state to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they will need to show that you had the intent to possess the drug in question. There are many situations in which you could face possession charges of drugs that are not yours.

Maybe you borrowed your roommate’s car, and police subsequently found cocaine in the glovebox. Or perhaps you were arrested when police found narcotics in your shared bathroom.

Whatever situation you found yourself in, if the drugs aren’t yours, you don’t deserve to be found guilty. Your Tampa drug lawyer will seek an acquittal by showing you did not have actual or constructive possession of the drugs in question.

What if the Drugs Were Found During an Illegal Search and Seizure?

Illegal search and seizure could be a blessing in disguise for your case. Although you’ve been arrested and charged with a drug crime, your rights are violated if the police did an illegal search.

Any evidence they seize and attempt to use against you at trial should be deemed inadmissible. Illegal searches could lead to a dismissal of charges.

Penalties and Jail Time for Drug Charges in Tampa, FL

In Florida, the level of the misdemeanor or felony offense you face typically depends on the amount and type of drug involved in the crime. Also, many Florida drug statutes prescribe a specific minimum or maximum penalty based on the type and amount of drug involved in the offense.

Florida Drug Laws and Sentencing

Prohibited acts involving controlled substances and the penalties are in Florida Statute 893.13. Statute 893.135 covers penalties for drug trafficking.

Drug possession is charged and penalized as:

  • More than 10 grams of a Schedule I drug is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • More than 10 grams of a Schedule II through V controlled substance is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
  • Up to 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
  • More than 20 grams of marijuana is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

You will face felony drug trafficking charges if you possess any of the following types and amounts of drugs.


Possession of marijuana between 25 and 2,000 pounds is punishable with a minimum of three years up to 30 years in prison.


  • Between 28 and 200 grams is punished with between three and 30 years in prison.
  • Between 200 and 400 grams is punished with between seven and 30 years in prison.
  • Between 400 grams and 150 kilograms is punished by 15 to 30 years in prison.


For 14 to 28 grams, 28 to 200 grams, or more than 200 grams, you face between three and 30 years, seven and 30 years, or 15 and 30 years in prison, respectively.


  • Between one and five grams is punished between three to 30 years in prison
  • Between five and seven grams is punished between seven to 30 years
  • Over seven grams is punished between 15 to 30 years in prison


Possession of hydrocodone between 14 and 28 grams, 28 and 50 grams, and 50 and 200 grams is punished with a minimum of three, seven, and 15 years, respectively, for a maximum of 30 years each.


Between seven and 14 grams is punished with between three and 30 years, 14 to 25 grams is punished between seven and 30 years, and 25 to 100 grams is punished with between 15 and 30 years in prison.

Florida law contains other amounts for controlled substances as well. Talk with our drug crime lawyers about felony drug trafficking charges and the penalties you face depending on the amount involved.

Collateral Consequences of a Drug Conviction in Florida

If you are charged with a drug offense in Florida, you face more than incarceration and fines. A conviction for a misdemeanor or felony can result in several collateral consequences, described as follows.

Employment Challenges

With a drug crime on your record, you may find finding and maintaining a job difficult. The conviction can also make you ineligible for specific professional licenses.

Educational Challenges

A drug conviction can make you ineligible for federal loans. You may find it difficult to gain admittance to a school, apprenticeship, or training program.

Housing Issues

You may have trouble securing rental housing, and you may become ineligible for federal assistance.

Immigration Issues

If you are in the U.S. on a visa, you may become ineligible for naturalization or permanent residency. If you are undocumented or living on a visa, a drug conviction could lead to deportation proceedings.

Reduction in Child Custody or Visitation

Your children’s other parent could use the drug conviction to ask the court to reduce your custody or visitation.

Difficulty Traveling Abroad

You may not be eligible to enter foreign countries because of having a criminal record.

Loss of Firearm Rights

You lose the right to own or possess firearms if convicted of a felony offense.

Florida Drug Laws

Florida drug laws are covered in Title XLVI, Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes. These laws include Florida’s schedule of controlled substances, definitions, prohibited activities, and penalties.

The Florida Drug Schedule

Florida’s controlled substance schedule divides drugs into six categories, described further below.

Schedule I Drugs

These have the highest risk of dependency and abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the U.S. Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, Ecstasy, and marijuana.

Schedule II Drugs

These have a high potential for dependency and abuse and some recognized medical uses. Some drugs can be obtained through a prescription, though prescriptions are closely monitored.

Schedule II drugs include cocaine, crack, methamphetamine (crystal meth), ADHD drugs, fentanyl, morphine, OxyContin/oxycodone, and various opiates.

Schedule III Drugs

This category has a lower risk of psychological dependence and a low potential for abuse. Schedule III drugs have accepted medical uses and include testosterone, anabolic steroids, ketamine, and medicines containing codeine.

Schedule IV Drugs

This category has a low risk of addiction. Schedule IV drugs include antidepressants and sleep aids.

Schedule V Drugs

Schedule V drugs have the lowest risk for abuse, and some do not require a prescription. These include painkillers, antidiarrheal medications, and cough suppressants.

Call a Drug Crime Lawyer in Tampa

An experienced drug crime lawyer in Tampa may help you obtain a dismissal, acquittal, or minimum penalties. The law office of Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A., handles all types of drug crimes.

Get help with your Tampa drug charges. Use our online form or call (813) 258-4800 to schedule your free consultation.