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Drug Arrests in Clearwater

Clearwater is the current county seat of Pinellas County and lies west to the Gulf of Mexico. The city boasts historic venues such as Spectrum Field and Coachman Park. However, it also has a growing nightlife scene which includes dance clubs, beach bars, concert halls and breweries. Clearwater’s exciting entertainment industry also means law enforcement are always on high alert for people consuming or selling drugs.

The city of Clearwater is one of the top-ranking cities for drug arrests in Pinellas County. It’s second only to St. Petersburg, the largest city in Pinellas County. If you’ve been arrested for a drug-related crime in the Clearwater area, it’s recommended you secure legal counsel. The penalties associated with drug crimes in Florida are harsh. You could be sentenced to pay expensive fines and even spend time in jail or prison. 

Defense Attorney for Drug Arrests in Clearwater, Florida

If you’ve been accused of a drug-related crime, you must seek legal representation immediately. You could be charged with a felony or a high-class misdemeanor depending on your situation. Conviction could mean an end to your career and ruin your relationships. Fight for your future today by securing legal counsel with Morris Law Firm, P.A..

The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. understand the complexities of drug laws in Florida. We can use our extensive resources and experience to assist you. Call us today to schedule your first consultation for free at Morris Law Firm, P.A.. We practice throughout the greater Pinellas County area including St. Petersburg, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Clearwater and Palm Harbor.

Overview of Drug Arrests in Clearwater, FL

Drug Arrest Statistics in Clearwater, Florida

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Clearwater has had an incredible surge in drug arrests from 947 in 2016 to 1,217 in 2017. The data was collected because of a program known as Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR). The program is managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which collects arrest statistics from law enforcement agencies annually.

Listed below are some UCR statistics regarding drug arrests in the Clearwater area


  • Clearwater Police Department arrested a total of 5,975 people in 2017;
  • The arrest rate per 100,000 for Clearwater is 5,254; and
  • Out of those arrests 1,217 of them were related to drug offenses


  • In 2016, the Clearwater Police arrested 5,249 people;
  • The arrest rate per 100,000 for them that year was 4,670; and
  • It was found that 947 of those arrests were for drug crimes


  • For the year 2015, Clearwater Police Department arrested 5,690 people;
  • That year the arrest rate per 100,000 was 4,857; and
  • The drug arrests made in 2015 was 1,021

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Drug Schedules in Florida

Florida determines the penalties for drug crimes by what schedule it’s classified under. Drug schedules are a way to categorize controlled substances by both medicinal usage and potential for addiction. These schedules can be found under Florida Annotated Statutes § 893.03 and are based on the federal drug schedules.

The following are the drug schedules Florida courts use to determine sentencing.

  • Schedule I – Controlled substances with the highest potential for abuse and with little to no accepted medical use are under schedule I. Some common examples of schedule I drugs include heroin, marijuana, ecstasy, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
  • Schedule II – The substances found under schedule II have a high risk for addiction and can sometimes be used in medicinal situations. A few schedule II drugs include methamphetamines, Adderall, cocaine and OxyContin (oxycodone).
  • Schedule III – Drugs with a low potential for abuse but can be slightly addictive are classified under schedule III. Many schedule III drugs are used by medical professionals. Some examples for schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids and testosterone.
  • Schedule IV – Controlled substances with a low risk of chemical dependence, but are given to patients if they have a prescription are schedule IV drugs. A few of these drugs include Xanax, Ambien and Darcocet.
  • Schedule V – Drugs found in this category have a low potential for abuse and some don’t even require a prescription. Some of these drugs include antidiarrheal drugs as well as Robitussin and other cough suppressants.

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Penalties for Drug Possession in Florida

The consequences associated with drug offenses in Florida depend on what schedule the controlled substance is under. The penalties for possession are much lighter than delivery, which is another term for selling or trafficking drugs. These charges can be enhanced if the crime is committed within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, park, community center, or publicly owned recreational facility.

Possessing a controlled schedule I or II substance will result in a second-degree felony. The penalties for a second-degree felony include:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; and
  • A fine of no more than $1,000 

Possession of schedule II drugs used to make methamphetamine, GHB, or ecstasy such as amobarbital and amphetamines as well as schedule II and IV drugs is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

If you’re in possession of a schedule IV drug, then you’ll be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties associated with a misdemeanor of the first degree include:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $1,000

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Additional Resources 

NORML: Florida Chapter – Visit the official website for NORML, otherwise known as the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. Access their site to learn more about their Florida chapter, how to get involved, and recent updates in Florida’s cannabis legislation. 

Florida Drug Laws – Visit the official website for the Florida Statutes to learn more about the penalties associated with drug crimes. Access the laws to find more information about drug schedules, aggravating factors, drug trafficking and drug manufacturing penalties.

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Clearwater Lawyer for Drug Crimes in Florida

It’s highly recommended you don’t face your drug charges alone. Florida’s justice system is complicated, and the penalties associated with drug offenses are incredibly harsh. We advise you get in contact with an experienced attorney such as Morris Law Firm, P.A.. 

The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. have an in-depth understanding of controlled substance laws in Florida. We can utilize our knowledge to create a strong defense for your case. Let us guide you through this process by simply calling the number (727) 388-4736. We will set up your first consultation free to discuss your charges and legal options.

Morris Law Firm, P.A. practices law throughout the Clearwater area and nearby cities such as Belleair, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor and St. Petersburg.

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This article was last updated on August 21, 2019.