Florida is one of many states in America with tough drug laws. The aim of the strict penalties is to deter others from committing similar crimes and protect people from the physical, psychological, and financial impact of drug abuse.
According to Florida Statute 893.13, it is illegal to sell or deliver a controlled substance or to purchase illegal drugs with the intent to sell or deliver them. Those who are accused of this crime will face serious criminal charges if convicted.
If you have been arrested for purchasing an illegal substance, you might be facing possession charges. This could be anything from possession with intent to sell (drug trafficking) to simple possession. No matter the specifics of your case, you are going to need adequate legal representation. Our team of criminal defense lawyers at The Law Place can help. With over seventy-five years of combined experience, we are ready to help you.
For a free consultation, call us at (941) 444-4444. Someone is always available to take your call because our phone lines are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Controlled Substances According to Florida Law
Florida Statute 893 sets out the full list of “controlled substances” that are regulated by the federal and state government. Some of the drugs listed are deemed to be “illegal” in any circumstance, whilst others are only illegal if you don’t have a valid prescription. The penalties listed for these drug crimes include mandatory minimum prison sentences and large fines, as well as probation and community service.
The most common drugs that are associated with drug crimes in Bradenton include:
- Pills such as Xanax.
- Designer drugs, like K2 and Spice.
The Purchase of a Controlled Substance in Bradenton, FL.
If you have been arrested for purchasing a controlled substance, your charges will be based on your intention and reason for buying them. For example, did you purchase them for personal use only, or did you intend to sell them?
Simple possession cases involve small amounts of a controlled substance for personal use. This is a more desirable charge when compared with some of the other possible outcomes, but possession of just a small amount of a drug can still be a third-degree felony offense. Penalties include up to five years in a Florida prison.
Possession With Intent to Distribute, Deliver, Sell
If you purchase a controlled substance and proceed to sell it, deliver it, or give it to anyone else to sell, you can be charged with “possession with intent.” Evidence of a large amount of drugs, even if they are for personal use, can mean that you will face charges of possession with intent to sell.
If you are found with large quantities of a controlled substance in your possession, you may face drug trafficking charges. Trafficking is much like possession with intent to sell, distribute, or deliver, but the penalties are even more serious. You will face a minimum mandatory prison sentence for a conviction of drug trafficking.
For example, in Florida, if you are found to be in possession of more than 25 marijuana plants, this is prima facie evidence of drug trafficking intent. This is a second-degree felony, and penalties include up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. For trafficking a more serious drug, such as cocaine at 200 to 400 grams, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in prison and an even larger fine.
Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession
If you are facing criminal charges for purchasing an illegal drug, you may come across the terms “actual possession” and “constructive possession.” In other words, are you being charged with this crime because drugs were found physically in your possession (actual) or, were the drugs found in a vehicle or property that you had control of (constructive possession)?
Just because illegal substances were not in your physical possession at the time of the arrest, this does not mean that you cannot be charged with drug possession. Any person who knowingly has knowledge of a controlled substance, and the intention to exercise control over them, either directly or through someone else, is then in constructive possession of it according to federal law.
The Long-Term Implications of Criminal Drug Charges
If you are facing criminal drug charges, not only can you expect to serve many years in prison, your charges will stay with you for life. There are many laws and regulations in the State of Florida that will restrict you from applying for certain jobs, gaining permits, and getting scholarships. You will also lose your right to vote and your right to own weapons. This is why you should never enter a guilty plea. You should fight your drug charges with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Defenses in a Bradenton Drug Crime Case
The right criminal defense attorney will build a defense that is based on the facts of your charges and the circumstances of your arrest. For example:
- Was the search and seizure legal? – A question of the legality of a traffic stop or the reason for a search of a house, vehicle, or person is the most common defense for a drug crime. You have legal rights when it comes to search and seizures, and if the police violated these rights in some way, your case could be thrown out.
- Did you have knowledge of the drug and its presence? – There may be evidence to suggest that you had no knowledge of the nature of the drug or you were not aware of its presence. It is the state’s responsibility to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the substance was present and what it was.
- Was entrapment involved? – If you were in some way coerced into doing something by the police that you would not have otherwise have done, this would be considered “entrapment.” An experienced lawyer can fight to have your charges dismissed under these circumstances.
- Were the crime lab procedures valid? – If we find in our investigation that the procedure for testing the substance was invalid, there may be a cause for dismissal. Labs must follow strict procedures, including the proper storage and processing of any substances that are being used as evidence in a criminal case. This could be an important factor in your defense because lab results regarding the exact quantity of a substance may determine whether the state will file drug trafficking charges or not.
- Can your constructive possession be challenged? – Even if you are not in actual possession of a drug, you may be charged with constructive possession. But if there is no physical proof of your knowledge of the drugs, the evidence against you can be scrutinized.
An experienced lawyer can put forward the best possible defense for you. Call The Law Place today to discuss your legal options.
How Soon Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
After being arrested for a drug crime, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately. People often wait far too long to seek adequate legal representation, and this is the biggest mistake they can make.
If you are being questioned by the police about drugs or any other crime, you are considered a suspect. From the point of being taken in for questioning or being arrested, anything that you say can be used as evidence against you. Law enforcement agents are trained to twist your words and turn them into something that you never intended. They can convince you that an easy guilty plea is your best option or push you into admitting to a crime that you did not commit. The sooner you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner, the better. So don’t hesitate, call today for a free consultation.
What an Attorney From The Law Place Can Do for You
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Bradenton, FL., The Law Place can help.
If you choose us, we will immediately review the facts and circumstances of your arrest. We will scrutinize the evidence and find any legal missteps. For example, how did the police make contact with you? Where exactly were the drugs found? Did you act alone, or were there other people involved? Did the drugs belong to you, or is someone else guilty of the possession charges? Was the search conducted legally? Are there any credible witnesses? Were the statements legally obtained?
Our experienced lawyers will leave no stone left unturned; our goal in every case we work is to have charges significantly reduced or dismisses completely.
Call The Law Place Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been arrested in the State of Florida for drug crimes, such as possession or trafficking, it is important that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
At The Law Place, we have some of the best criminal lawyers in the state who will tirelessly work towards the best possible result for your case. This might be a dismissal, if possible, or if negotiation is the best way to resolve your case, we can work to minimize the potential penalties. With over 75 years of combined experience, we have the knowledge needed to help you make the right decisions for your case.
For a free consultation, call us at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so there is always someone ready to take your call.