Tampa Drug Crime Lawyer

When you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense, 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. To fight against a drug crime conviction, you need to speak with our drug crime lawyers at Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A. You can reach us through our online form or call (813) 258-4800 to schedule a consultation.

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Why You Should Choose Our Firm to Defend Your Drug Charge

Brett Metcalf is a passionate and successful Tampa criminal defense attorney. He began his career as a prosecutor in the State Attorney’s Office where he learned firsthand how the prosecution prepares for drug crime cases and wins convictions. He took this knowledge and used it to his advantage when opening his criminal defense and personal injury firm in July 2012. For the past seven years, Brett has vigorously defended Tampa residents against allegations of drug crimes and other offenses.

Choosing Brett is choosing a drug offense lawyer who truly cares about his clients’ futures and shows it. His client advocacy and success in court has led to him receiving more than 70 five-star reviews and a perfect 10 rating on Avvo.com.

His work also has led to recognition from several respected legal organizations, including The National Trial Lawyers. He was named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and part of the Top 40 Under 40. In 2018, Super Lawyers named him a Rising Star.

Brett is someone who leaves no stone unturned in investigating the allegations against you. He gathers all of the evidence available, analyzes your case from every angle, and determines the most effective defense strategy to pursue a reduction in the charges, a dismissal, or an acquittal. He is not afraid to take your case to trial, and he will never pressure you to accept a deal that is not right for you.

Steps We Take in the Drug Crime Defense Process:

  • Investigate the facts surrounding the police stop.
  • Review the validity of a search and seizure warrant or arrest warrant.
  • Review whether you were properly Mirandized.
  • Gather witness statements.
  • Research the backgrounds of the officers involved in your arrest.
  • Submit legal documents on your behalf.
  • Help you arrange bail and obtain your release from jail.
  • Represent you in court.
  • Challenge any violation of your constitutional rights in court.
  • Pursue an aggressive pretrial motion practice.
  • Pursue a reduction in the charges or dismissal of the case.
  • Pursue an acquittal at trial.
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of a plea bargain.
  • Strategize to mitigate the consequences of a drug crime conviction.

Drug Cases We Handle

Our attorneys for drug charges handle a wide range of Florida and federal drug offenses.

Drug Possession

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 charges can arise based on actual or constructive possession. The level of the charge you face depends on the type of drug in your possession and amount. 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 may be offered a diversion program or probation. You should always speak with our drug crime lawyers about these options before deciding.

Possession of Marijuana

Marijuana remains a controlled substance in Florida and possessing cannabis without a prescription is a crime. If you possess fewer than 20 grams of marijuana, you face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. If you possess more than 20 grams, you will be charged with a third-degree felony.

Possession With the Intent to Distribute

The drug offense a prosecutor will charge you with depends on the amount of the drug. If the amount you have is more than a certain threshold, the prosecutor will consider the amount more than for personal use. You will be charged with a felony for possession with intent to distribute if you have more than a personal amount. The threshold amounts differ depending on the controlled substance. This often is used to charge suspected drug dealers who are not caught conducting an actual sale.

Drug Trafficking

A prosecutor in Florida can charge you with trafficking if you are allegedly involved in selling, manufacturing, delivering, buying, or possessing one or more controlled substances. However, this charge is often based on the amount in your possession, not your actual conduct. If you have above a certain threshold amount, you will be charged with trafficking. The threshold amounts differ based on the drug. Trafficking is a felony, and the amount if your possession determines the level of the offense and the minimum term of imprisonment you face.

Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing

If the prosecution believes it has evidence that you cultivated marijuana or another drug or manufactured a drug in a laboratory-like setting, you will face a felony offense. 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. Any exchange for something of value, whether an object or service, is enough to establish a sale. Additionally, you can face equally harsh 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 make an agreement to commit a drug offense. The prosecutor will seek to prove an implied or explicit agreement existed and there was 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 in furtherance of the crime.

Federal Drug Charges

Many unlawful drug offenses can be charged under Florida or federal law. Typically, a drug crime is charged under federal law if it occurred on federal land, crossed state or national borders, was investigated by federal law enforcement agents, or was discovered through an informant.

Defending Against Drug Charges

When you are arrested and charged with a Florida or federal drug crime, it is essential you talk with a drug charges lawyer about whether there is a likelihood of getting your case dismissed. There may be strong evidence Brett 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 attorney about the possible defenses against a drug crime.

What Defenses Can Be Used to Fight a Drug Charge?

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

Lack of Possession

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

Insufficient Evidence

We may argue during a motion to dismiss or at trial 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. If the police or federal agents performed an unlawful search or seizure, we will fight to have any evidence obtained from that incident ruled as inadmissible.


To use entrapment as a defense, we must be able to show that the impetus to commit the offense arose from the officer. We will seek to prove you would not have committed the offense if it were not for the officer’s unreasonable influence.

Unreliable Test Results

We have handled cases in which 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.

How to Beat a Drug Charge

Beating a drug charge can be difficult. It requires working with seasoned drug defense lawyers. 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.

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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Lee Yates

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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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Heidi Taylor

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Latisha Walker

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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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Anthony Garcia

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“Great attorney.”

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Jesse P. (Big J)

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“Excellent lawyer.”

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Shell 4evr

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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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Daniel Turner

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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 Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A. I would advise anyone who needs legal action to choose wisely and choose him for multiple reasons.”

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Marty McPhly

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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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Elijah Turner

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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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Charles Goddard

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

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Annie Shipherd

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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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Christa Murray

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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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Nathan Hester

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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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James Woodson

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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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Albert Piccolo

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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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Sharley Lanigan

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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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Evin O

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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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Issac Thomas

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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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Ryan Belden

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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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Sherry Violet

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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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Pink Taylor

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Penalties for Drug Convictions

In Florida, the level of the misdemeanor or felony offense you face typically depends on the amount and type of drug involved in the offense. 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 found in Florida Statute 893.13. Penalties for trafficking are found in Statute 893.135.

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 substances is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
  • Up to 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 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 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

You will face felony drug trafficking charges if you possess:


Between 25 and 2,000 pounds is punishable with between 3 and 30 years in prison.


Between 28 and 200 grams is punished with between 3 and 30 years in prison. Between 200 and 400 grams is punished with between 7 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 3 and 30 years, 7 and 30 years, or 15 and 30 years in prison, respectively.


Between 1 and 5 grams is punished with 3 to 30 years; between 5 and 7 grams is punished with 7 to 30 years; and more than 7 grams is punished by 15 to 30 years in prison.


Between 14 and 28 grams, 28 and 50 grams, and 50 and 200 grams is punished with a minimum of 3, 7, and 15 years, respectively, and a maximum of 30 years each.


Between 7 and 14 grams is punished with between 3 and 30 years, 14 to 25 grams is punished between 7 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

If you are charged with a drug offense, you face more than incarceration and fines. A conviction for a misdemeanor or felony can result in a number of collateral consequences, including:

Employment Challenges

With a drug crime on your record, you may find it difficult to find and maintain a job. The conviction can also make you ineligible for certain professional licenses.

Educational Challenges

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

Housing Issues

You may have trouble being approved for 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 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

If you are convicted of a felony, you lose the right to own or possess firearms.

Florida Drug Laws

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

The Florida Drug Schedule

Florida’s controlled substance schedule divides drugs into six categories:

Schedule I Drugs

These have the highest risk of dependency and abuse as well as no currently accepted medical use in the U.S. This includes 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. This includes 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 low potential for abuse. These drugs have accepted medical uses and include testosterone, anabolic steroids, ketamine, and drugs containing codeine.

Schedule IV Drugs

This category has a low risk of addiction and can be obtained through prescription. These include antidepressants and sleep aids.

Schedule V Drugs

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

A Drug Crime Lawyer Can Help You Get the Best Possible Outcome

When you have to fight drug charges in court, you want someone by your side who has proven effective in obtaining dismissals, acquittals, and minimal penalties for a variety of Florida and federal drug offenses. You can find this success with Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A.

To talk with Brett about your situation, submit your information through the online form or call (813) 258-4800.