It is a Felony to Bring Drugs or Contraband into a Florida Jail but State Must Prove Knowledge

In Florida, it is a felony for a person to bring contraband into the jail. Many of these cases involve a person who is arrested with drugs on them and do not want to tell the police officer the drugs are there. The police officer does not find the drugs during a search incident to an arrest, but the personnel at the jail finds the drugs during a more thorough search. In that case, in addition to whatever charge the suspect was facing that prompted the initial arrest, the suspect will also face the felony charge of introducing contraband into a county facility.

However, in order to succeed on such a charge, the state must prove that the defendant knowingly introduced the contraband into the jail. Basically, the state has to prove the defendant knew he/she had the contraband on him when he/she entered the jail. Practically, the assumption will be that the defendant knew he/she had the contraband on him/her and it is up to the defense to establish that it was a mistake or he/she did not know. There are cases where the state may not be able to prove knowledge. If the defendant can show he/she was wearing old clothes or someone else’s clothes or had a bag that had been in someone else’s possession prior to getting booked in the jail or anything else to indicate he/she may not be aware of a small amount of drugs or other contraband in his/her clothes or personal items, the state may not be able to prove its case.

Keep in mind that this felony charge applies to more than drugs. Contraband under this criminal statute can also include unauthorized communications, money, tobacco products, alcohol and of course, weapons. It is also a felony to possess such contraband in the jail. If someone is able to bring contraband into the jail and does not get caught, a person who ultimately possesses the contraband can be charged with the felony crime.

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