How Can I Defend Drug Charges in Florida?

Florida has stiff drug laws and penalties if convicted. If you have been arrested on drug charges it is important to get help from an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Drug crimes may be prosecuted by either state or federal law, depending on the circumstances. A conviction can bring severe penalties including fines and incarceration, as well as rehabilitation. Additionally, you could lose your car or home depending on where the crime was committed. Those who are found guilty will have a tarnished criminal record. An experienced criminal attorney may be able to defend against these charges.

Types of Drug Charges

There are many various types of drug charges. The severity of the charges depends on the type and amount of drugs. Often, several charges will be made together. For example, you may be charged with drug possession as well as possession of drug paraphernalia. Some of the most common drug charges include:

  • Drug possession (illegal drugs or prescription drugs)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession with intent to sell or distribute
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug manufacturing

Drug Possession

If you are found to be in possession of a small amount of drugs, the charges will typically be possession.  However, if the large quantity of drugs are found, the charges and penalties become more severe because it is considered to be possession with intent to sell. Those who are found to be in possession of equipment that is used to make or distribute drugs will be charged with more severe crimes. Personal possession of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor and pertains to less than 20 grams. Possession of more than 20 grams is a felony charge. Additionally, someone is found with a small amount of drugs but is within close proximity to a school, the offense may be a felony rather than a misdemeanor. If found guilty, the judge will determine the penalties based on many factors as well as sentencing guidelines.

Some common drug penalties include:

Misdemeanor, second degree – Jail sentence of up to 60 days and fines up to $500

Misdemeanor, first degree – Jain sentence of up to 1 year and fines up to $1,000

Felony, third degree – Prison term of up to 5 years and fines up to $5,000

Felony, second degree – Prison term of up to 15 years and fines up to $10,000

Felony, first degree – Prison term of up to 30 years and fines up to $10,000

Life felony – Prison term of up to 30 years and fines up to $15,000

Defending Drug Charges

It takes an experienced attorney to assist in the defense of criminal drug charges. Your attorney will immediately review the circumstances surrounding your arrest. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to have some of the charges reduced or eliminated. If there were problems with the circumstances of the arrest, some of the evidence may not be able to be used in the case. If so, the charges may be reduced or even dropped. Sometimes a defendant may be offered a plea deal. A plea deal is an agreement to plead guilty to a lesser charge, which will carry reduced penalties. If this is the first time you’ve been arrested on drug charges or if the amount of drugs found is small, it may be more likely that you’ll be offered a plea deal. It’s best to discuss the situation with your attorney, who will present the best possible defense in your case.