Drug Charges Criminal Defense Attorney
Facing drug charges in Florida?
The manufacture, sale, and possession of certain controlled substances are strictly prohibited by Florida law. If you are charged with any drug crime, there can be numerous drug defenses you can deal with. It is essential to consult a lawyer soon after being accused of a criminal offense.
What is a Drug Crime?
A drug crime is a violation of federal or state drug laws. Prosecutors and police officers strictly enforce state drug laws in order to break the growing cycle of crime and addiction that frequently accompanies the use of the drug.
There are various consequences to serious drug charges on your criminal record. These may affect your:
- Education (especially in college)
- Ability to get housing or loan
- Immigration status
- Federal or state aid
- Keep a license (driver’s, state licensing, contractor licensing, etc.)
Types of Drug Crimes
State and federal laws cover many different types of drug crimes, mentioned below.
Possession: It considered a crime to possess any prohibited controlled substances such as marijuana, heroin, or cocaine. People who are in possession of an illegal drug can be charged with simple possession (a person who is in possession of small quantity of drugs) or possession with intent to distribute (a person who has a possession of a large amount of drugs).
Delivery/Manufacturing: Individuals can be charged with drug delivery or manufacturing if they are engaged in any step of the production process of an illegal drug. In order to convict an alleged drug dealer, prosecutors need to prove possession with the intent to distribute and manufacture.
Paraphernalia: It refers to any equipment that is used to inject, conceal, prepare, or inhale illegal drugs. Also, it describes any equipment used to produce or conceal drugs. Such examples of drug paraphernalia include syringes, rolling papers, and an extensive variety of pipes.
Trafficking: A more serious crime because it typically involves transpiration of large quantities of drugs. If a person is convicted to drug trafficking, the sentence may be anywhere from three years to life imprisonment.
Dealing: Usually refers to small scale selling of illegal drugs. The punishment may be less severe since it typically includes one person selling a small number of drugs.
Drug Crime Punishments and Convictions
Generally, federal drug charges are more serious in punishment than state charges. Punishment greatly differs and is based on the type and quantity of the drug, intent of possession (self-use or sale), probation or parole status, and prior convictions.
If a person is arrested and convicted for a crime, the consequences can be imprisonment, significant fines, loss of child custody, loss of residency, violation of parole or probation, court order counseling, community service, and deportation.
Defenses That Can Be Used In Drug Charge Cases
Following are some legal defenses to drug possession or drug related criminal charges.
- Lack of possession
A common defense to a crime charge is simply that the drugs belong to someone else. For instance, you had no idea that the drugs were in your shared house or apartment.
- Unlawful search and seizure
Under the 4th Amendment, police officers may not search or seize the property of a person without initially having probable cause that the defendant committed a crime.
Entrapment takes place when an informant or officer lures the defendant to commit a crime that they otherwise may not have committed. For instance, you can consider your situation entrapment if an undercover officer pressured you to pass drugs to a third party and then arrested you for doing so.
- Drugs were planted
You may find difficulty proving evidence falsification to the court because the sworn testimony of a police officer carries numerous weight in the justice system. In addition, other officers that could have been witnesses to the falsification are unlikely to come forward due to the comradery among law enforcement officers.
- Missing drugs or lack of evidence
If your case lacks evidence of the presence of the alleged drug, your intent to distribute or manufacture the drug, or proof of the claimed quantity, then it could be potentially dismissed.
- Crime lab analysis
The prosecution is required to prove that the seized drug is an illicit drug by sending a sample to a crime lab for analysis. Then, the crime lab analyst will have to testify at trial that the product was indeed an illicit drug to make a case for the prosecution. Tainted evidence, improper handling, or incorrect chain of command can potentially disrupt the prosecution’s case.
- Medical marijuana exception
Florida recently approved medicinal marijuana exception. The possession of marijuana is legal if the possessor/user has a signed medical prescription of a doctor. If you legally take part in the medicinal use of marijuana and your charge is related to the possession of marijuana, this can be a viable defense for your drug charge.
Hire a Reputable Drug Defense Attorney
Drug cases provide many evidentiary issues, thereby, requiring the physical presence of a local defense lawyer. Ensure the defense attorney you intend to hire is an aggressive, experienced, and a skilled drug defense attorney who is knowledgeable concerning legal issues specifically involving drug charges and who can directly focus their attention on your certain case.