Arrested for a Drug Crime in Florida? You Need a Tough Drug Crime Lawyer to Fight for You
Finding the right drug defense lawyer for you is essential to beating your case. Sadly, many attorneys tell you why you should hire them. Few show you why.
At OrlandoDefense.com, our Florida drug crime lawyer has over 20 years of experience fighting for people just like you.
As a former public defender with a documented track record of winning drug trafficking, drug possession, and related offenses, you can rely on OrlandoDefense.com as your drug crime lawyer anywhere in Florida.
Experienced Drug Defense Lawyer On Your Team
If you are under arrest for a drug offense or conspiracy to commit a drug offense, you need to act fast.
Contacting an aggressive drug crimes lawyer, like Jeffery Higgins, who has 23 years of experience fighting for people facing long odds is the first step toward winning your freedom.
Jeffery is a drug crimes lawyer who worked as a public defender in some of Florida’s busiest courts and has handled a wide variety of drug cases. Some of those cases include:
- Possession of controlled substances, including prescription medication;
- Possession with the intent to sell or deliver;
- Purchasing illegal narcotics;
- Manufacturing a controlled substance; and
- Distribution of a controlled substance.
You have the best chance of avoiding harsh penalties if you choose our Orlando drug crimes lawyer to represent you.
Potential Penalties for Drug Crimes in Florida
When someone faces criminal charges like drug crimes, the first thing they want to know is, how much time am I going to get?
It is a very important question. Unfortunately, the short answer is: it depends.
How much time you could spend in jail, if any, depends on the composition of the suspected drugs, the weight of the suspected drugs if there are minimum-mandatory sentences involved and your criminal history.
Most drug crimes in Florida are felonies.
However, Florida law treats marijuana and cannabis products differently than other drugs. As a result, possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of a schedule V drug are misdemeanor offenses.
These crimes carry up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
You should be aware that accumulating four drug possession misdemeanor convictions allows the prosecution to charge you with a felony.
Florida Felony Possession Charges
Possession of the following are examples of crimes that may be punished as third-degree felonies:
The penalty for a third-degree felony in Florida is up to five years in the state’s prison along with a fine of no more than $5,000.
The following drugs are either Schedule I or II drugs:
Possession of either a Schedule I or a Schedule II drug is a second-degree felony. The maximum penalty for a second-degree felony in Florida is 15 years in prison.
Police may charge you with a first-degree felony if they suspect you sold or delivered any Schedule I or II drug weighing more than 10 grams.
The judge could sentence you to up to 30 years in prison if you are convicted of a first-degree felony.
Otherwise, selling, possessing with intent to sell, manufacturing, or distributing is either a second-degree felony or misdemeanor, depending on the drug.
Trafficking Controlled Substances in Florida
Trafficking and distribution are terms used interchangeably with respect to controlled substances.
However, trafficking is based on the weight of the drug or bringing a drug into Florida from outside of the state.
Conversely, distribution means transferring the drug from one person to another.
Prison sentences for trafficking offenses are harsh.
Additionally, Florida’s drug laws impose minimum-mandatory prison sentences for trafficking convictions.
The weight of the drug, along with the type of drug, determines the minimum-mandatory prison term.
The purity of the drug has no bearing on the penalty. Florida law considers the total weight of the active drug and any fillers, sometimes called “cut,” to be the total weight for trafficking offenses.
Trafficking in controlled substances in Florida is a first-degree felony.
Therefore, the maximum sentence is 30 years.
The minimum sentence depends on the weight of the drug.
However, anyone facing trafficking charges in Florida faces either three, seven, or 15 years minimum-mandatory prison time.
The minimum-mandatory prison term increases as the weight of the drug increases.
The minimum trafficking weight depends on the controlled substance. For heroin, opium, morphine, and fentanyl, the minimum trafficking weight is only four grams. By comparison, the minimum trafficking weight for cocaine is 28 grams, or one ounce.
Other Sentencing Considerations
Florida’s strict drug laws permit the prosecutors to ask for enhanced prison sentences depending on the facts of the case.
Examples of factors that can enhanced penalties include:
- Committing a drug offense in a school zone or other protected area like a church or daycare program;
- Involving a minor in drug distribution;
- Trafficking in a narcotic that leads to someone’s death; or
- Trafficking in large quantities of illegal narcotics designated by Florida law to be first-degree trafficking in narcotics.
First-degree trafficking in narcotics is a life felony. Anyone convicted of first-degree trafficking in narcotics is not eligible for parole.
Additional Penalties for Drug Offenses
Your drug defense lawyer should go over every possible penalty you face.
In addition to jail time, you face several consequences for drug offenses in Florida, including:
- Drug counseling,
- Inpatient drug treatment,
- Court costs,
- Suspended driver’s license,
- Loss of voting rights,
- Loss of right to possess a firearm, and
- Immigration consequences.
You could also lose your job and your home if you have a felony drug conviction on your record.
You should consider speaking with a highly qualified drug crime lawyer in Florida to discuss all the possible consequences of a drug crime conviction in Florida.
Drug Conspiracy Charges
Long-term police investigations may result in conspiracy charges for some people implicated in a drug-dealing scheme. A conspiracy is an illegal agreement between two or more people to commit an unlawful act.
The crime of conspiracy is the unlawful agreement and not the object of the agreement.
Drug investigators charge people with conspiracy when the officers cannot prove the person possessed or distributed narcotics but have evidence that they were somehow involved in a drug distribution ring.
For example, police might bring conspiracy charges if they hear a person during a wiretap investigation order a large quantity of drugs but have another person handle the drugs.
Conspiracy charges in Florida do not carry the same punishment as the underlying crime.
In essence, a person convicted of conspiracy faces a prison term that is one level lower than that applicable to the underlying crime.
For example, a person in possession of a Schedule I drug commits a second-degree felony. However, the crime of conspiracy to possess a Schedule I drug is punished as a third-degree felony.
Florida Drug Crime Defense
An experienced drug crime lawyer understands that there are several successful strategies for drug crimes.
One strategy is to attack the constitutionality of the police conduct. Your drug crimes lawyer can file a pleading called a motion to suppress.
This motion asks the judge to throw out all evidence police seized because they violated your constitutional rights to be free from unlawful searches and seizures.
Your drug defense lawyer may determine that the best course of action for you is to assert your rights to a trial.
At trial, your drug crimes lawyer could show the jury that you have no connection to the seized drugs.
In other words, the prosecutor must prove that you either had the drugs personally or had “constructive possession” of the drugs.
Constructive possession means that you knew about the drugs and had the intent to exercise “dominion and control” over them. Simply being present where police find drugs is not a crime.
Negotiating a favorable plea might be the best defense for you depending on the facts of the case.
You might qualify for pretrial diversion or drug court if you plead to a reduced sentence.
Having a skilled negotiator as your drug crime lawyer could be the key to you getting the help you need for your addiction rather than fighting it alone in jail.
Dedicated Drug Defense Lawyer Ready to Help You
Contacting OrlandoDefense.com immediately after your arrest for a drug charge will help you fight back.
Waiting or trying to tackle these charges in court without a lawyer could be costly.