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Property owners can face drug charges in Florida

We often hear stories about people getting arrested for using, possessing or selling drugs. In Florida, it's also fairly common to read about people accused of being involved in drug trafficking. However, these aren't the only people who can find themselves in some serious trouble for crimes related to drugs.

Did you know that property owners can be charged with a felony if they own a house where certain illegal drug activity occurs? Even if the owner is never on the premises but allows a building or other property to be used for certain activities, he or she can end up facing criminal charges in Florida.

The owners of a property where drug crimes are being committed can be charged and convicted of maintaining a drug dwelling. There are a number of drug-related activities that are forbidden by Florida law including: growing, storing, selling, using and trafficking.

In some cases, these activities occur in the private residence of someone engaged in the illegal activities. But this is not always the case.

There are some properties where people know they can go to engage in unlawful drug activity. They may not know who owns the building, but they generally know it to be one where illegal activity is permitted. If a property owner knows or should have known about how the property was being used, he or she can be charged with keeping a public nuisance.

However, there are defenses to this type of charge. The approach will depend on the details of the situation, but there may be grounds to prove an owner had no knowledge of a property's use; it could also be possible to argue that, even if drug crimes had been committed at the location, it should not raise the property's status to that of being a nuisance.

Defending against this or any drug-related charge can be crucial, as the state and federal government comes down especially hard on drug offenders. In order to defend yourself if you are in this situation, you can speak with an attorney who understands how much is at stake in these cases.

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