Introduction of Contraband into a Correctional Facility in Florida: A Comprehensive Guide by an Attorney
Under Sections 951.22 and 944.47, Florida Statutes, the elements of Introduction of Contraband into Florida Correctional Facility are:
- A person introduced, possessed, received, took, sent, or attempted to take or send contraband on the grounds of a county detention facility or state correctional institution
- The person did not do so through authorized channels.
The law defines contraband to include:
- Coins and currency;
- Articles of food or clothing;
- Intoxicating beverages;
- Controlled substances;
- Firearms, other weapons, and explosives;
- Cell phones and other portable communication devices; and
- Vapor-generating electronic devices (i.e. vape pens).
Penalties for Introduction of Contraband into a Correctional Facility in Florida
The penalties for Introduction of Contraband Into a Correctional Facility depend on the kind of contraband at issue.
The penalties also depend on whether the correctional facility was a county or a state facility. County facilities are used to detain people who are either pending trial or serving a sentence for a misdemeanor (i.e. a maximum of 1 year in jail). State facilities are used to incarcerate those serving felony sentences—that is, sentences of more than 1 year.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Introduction of Contraband into a County Detention Facility
The charge is a misdemeanor if the contraband was any of the following items:
- Coins and currency
- Articles of food or clothing
- Cigars, cigarettes, or tobacco products
- Intoxicating beverages
- Vapor-generating electronic devices (i.e. vape pens)
Misdemeanor Introduction of Contraband into a County Detention Facility is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, punishable by up to 1 year of jail or probation, and a $1,000 fine.
Penalties for Felony Introduction of Contraband into a County Detention Facility
The charge is a felony if the contraband was any of the following items:
- Controlled substances or other drugs of any kind
- Firearms or other instrumentalities to be used as dangerous weapons
- Objects which may be or are intended to be used to help escape the facility
- Cell phones and other portable communication devices
Felony Introduction of Contraband into a County Detention Facility is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 5 years of prison or probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Under the Criminal Punishment Code, the charge carries a severity level of 6 (36 points) if the contraband was a firearm or other weapon, or a severity level of 4 (22 points) if the contraband fell under any of the other categories. In either case, assuming there are no aggravating circumstances (such as prior criminal convictions), there is no minimum mandatory sentence. This means that even though the judge can sentence you up to the maximum prison time, the judge is not required to order any amount of prison time.
|Type of Contraband
|Vapor-Generating Electronic Device
||First-degree misdemeanor, up to 1 year of jail or probation, and a $1,000 fine
|Written or Recorded Communications, Coins or Currency, Articles of Food or Clothing, or Cell Phones or Other Portable Communications Devices
||Third-degree felony, up to 5 years of prison or probation, and a $5,000 fine
||The charge carries a severity level of 4 (22 points) if the contraband was a cell phone or other portable communications device, or a severity level of 3 (16 points) if the contraband fell under any of the other categories. In either case, assuming there are no aggravating circumstances, there is no minimum mandatory sentence.
|Intoxicating Beverages, Controlled Substances, or Firearms, Other Weapons, or Explosives
||Second-degree felony, up to 15 years of prison or probation, and a $10,000 fine
||The charge carries a severity level of 6 (36 points) if the contraband was a firearm, other weapon or explosives, or a severity level of 4 (22 points) if the contraband fell under any of the other categories. In either case, assuming there are no aggravating circumstances, there is no minimum mandatory sentence.
How Can I Fight a Charge of Introduction of Contraband into a Correctional Facility in Florida?
There are several strategies that can be employed to challenge the State’s case or prove your innocence:
- Motion to Suppress: This is a legal maneuver where your attorney can argue that the evidence against you was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. If successful, the evidence is thrown out and cannot be used against you.
- Lack of Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly introduced contraband into the facility. If they cannot provide sufficient evidence to support this, the charges may be dismissed.
- Alibi Defense: If you can prove that you were somewhere else at the time the contraband was introduced, you can use this as a defense.
- Unaware of Contraband: If you can prove that you were unaware of the contraband, this can be used as a defense. For example, if someone else placed the contraband in your belongings without your knowledge.
At Leppard Law, we have the expertise and experience to employ these defenses and more to fight for a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
FAQs about Introduction of Contraband into a Correctional Facility
1. What happens if contraband is found in my possession in a correctional facility?
When contraband is discovered, it can lead to additional charges and penalties. These can include loss of privileges, additional fines, and extended sentences. Each case is unique and the exact consequences can vary.
2. How is contraband typically discovered in correctional facilities?
Contraband is often discovered through routine searches of inmates and their living areas. Additionally, correctional facilities may use technology such as metal detectors, x-ray scanners, and drug detection tools to identify contraband.
3. What happens if I’m caught smuggling contraband into a correctional facility?
If you’re caught smuggling contraband into a correctional facility, you could face serious legal consequences. This can include criminal charges, fines, and potential jail time. The exact penalties can vary depending on the type and quantity of contraband, as well as your intent.
4. Can I face charges for handling contraband even if I’m not in a correctional facility?
Yes, anyone who produces, conceals, buys, sells, rents, distributes, transfers or unlawfully handles a contraband item can face prosecution. This includes individuals who are not currently in a correctional facility.
5. Are there any technologies or strategies used to prevent the introduction of contraband into correctional facilities?
Yes, correctional facilities employ a variety of strategies and technologies to prevent the introduction of contraband. This can include thorough screening processes, regular searches, surveillance systems, and contraband detection technologies.
Locate the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Case
The introduction of contraband into a prison or jail, whether as a guest or a person who is already in jail is a serious matter that has severe consequences. If you’re accused of the offense of introducing contraband into a facility for detention and you’re charged with a third-degree criminal offense in Florida that can be punished with up to 5 years of prison and the possibility of a $5,000 fine.
We can assist you in avoiding the harsh penalties of the introduction of contraband into a prison or jail. We have developed defense techniques to offer our clients the appropriate support they require from their lawyers. Call our office in the event that you’re being charged with the introduction of illegal substances into a detention facility. We’re ready to defend your rights and seek the most favorable results possible in your case. Call 407-476-4111 today for a free case strategy session.