Florida drug laws carry stiff penalties for any violation.
Except for possession of a small amount of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, all other offenses involving controlled substances are felonies. If you are charged with a drug offense, the risk of conviction is great and depending on the nature of the drug and the amount alleged to have been involved in the offense, you could be looking at a long sentence with a hefty financial penalty.
It is imperative that you immediately contact an experienced drug defense attorney so you can explore all your possible options.
If you are charged with simple drug possession, that means the prosecution determined there was only enough of the drug involved for your own personal use. Depending on the drug involved, and whether or not it is your first drug-related offense, there may be an option for probation or a diversion program, which may mean you must attend a rehabilitation program.
POSSESSION WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE
If you are arrested with possession of a controlled substance, and the prosecutor determines the amount was more than enough for your own personal use, you will be charged with possession with the intent to distribute the drug.
Possession with the intent to distribute is typically charged when the prosecution has evidence that the person is a drug dealer, but they didn’t catch the person in an actual deal. For example, if the drug is broken down into smaller individual packages or it is found in an area with cash and a ledger, the prosecution will not believe the drug was meant for personal use.
According to Florida law, drug trafficking involves “selling, manufacturing, delivering, buying, or possessing” a controlled substance, including a prescription drug. The quantities of drugs involved in a drug trafficking charge are typically greater than the amounts in possession with intent to distribute cases.
To prove drug trafficking, the prosecution only has to show that the person possessed the drug, and that it weighed a certain amount. For example, possession of 28 grams of cocaine will result in a drug trafficking charge. All drug trafficking charges carry minimum mandatory prison sentences and heavy fines.
CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE OR TRAFFIC IN DRUGS
In Florida, you can be convicted of conspiracy to sell drugs if you agreed with another person to sell drugs and fully intended to commit the offense. You can be convicted even if neither you nor the person with whom you formed the agreement never sold drugs.
EVENTS THAT WILL INCREASE THE PENALTY
For all drug offenses, if a gun was used in the commission of the offense, the penalty will be increased. The amount of the increase will depend on whether the gun was just present, brandished or discharged.
If drugs are possessed within 1,000 feet of a school, penalties are enhanced. If you had a previous drug-related conviction, the penalty for the current offense will be increased if you are convicted.
POSSIBLE DEFENSES TO DRUG CHARGES
When the penalties of conviction are so harsh, every possible avenue of defense needs to be explored. Some possible defenses your attorney will discuss with you include:
- Your Fourth Amendment Right To Be Free Of Warrantless Searches And Seizures Was Violated. This Depends On Many Factors Related To Where The Drugs Were Located And How They Were Discovered By Law Enforcement.
- There Is No Proof That You Knew Or Should Have Known That The Substance Involved Was A Controlled Substance.
- There Is No Proof That You Knew Or Should Have Known The Controlled Substance Was Present.
- There Is No Proof That You Had Control Over The Drug.