Sarasota has a reputation for meting out strict penalties for drug crimes, especially when it comes to the sale, purchase, delivery, or possession of illegal drugs weighing more than ten grams. Navigating this tough legal landscape can be overwhelming.
In these challenging times, you need a team by your side that understands the intricacies of the law and is adept at steering through its complexities. At The Law Place, we prioritize your future, offering sound legal guidance every step of the way. Unsure about the next move? Reach out to us for a free consultation and discover the difference having a dedicated ally like The Law Place can make. Arrange a free consultation with a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer today.
Florida Statute, Section 893.13(1)(b)
If you have been charged with Sale, Purchase, Delivery or Possession of Illegal Drugs in Excess of Ten Grams, under Florida Statute, Section 893.13, you are facing a first-degree felony. If you are convicted of this first-degree felony, you could spend as much as 30 years in prison, up to 30 years of probation, and be sentenced to a maximum fine of $10,000. Under this statute, a person may not sell or deliver in excess of 10 grams any substance which is named or described in Florida Statutes, Section 893.03(1)(a) or (1)(b),
The above offense is just one of many which fall under Section 893 of the Florida Statutes. If you are charged with a drug offense, it will fall into one of the following categories:
- Possession of a controlled substance, whether actual possession or constructive possession;
- Selling a controlled substance (Evidence used to prove this crime concerns how the drugs were packaged or concealed and/or possession of paraphernalia suggesting sales);
- Manufacture of a controlled substances, such as a meth lab or a grow house for marijuana plants;
- Trafficking in a controlled substance, which usually concerns larger operations and very large quantities of narcotics. Mandatory minimum sentencing may come into play with trafficking offenses; and
- Possession of drug paraphernalia, which is considered to be any device or material which is designed for the “cultivation, ingestion, inhalation, storage, sale, production, compounding, planting, propagation, concealment or transportation” of a controlled substance.
The Consequences of a Drug Conviction in Sarasota
Beyond the immediate legal penalties, a drug conviction carries with it long-term ramifications that can impact various areas of your life:
- Employment: Many employers conduct background checks and might be hesitant to hire someone with a drug-related conviction on their record.
- Housing: Landlords also run background checks, and a felony drug conviction could reduce your chances of securing housing.
- Education: Drug convictions can affect eligibility for student loans and might also affect college admissions.
- Personal Relationships: Convictions can strain personal relationships with family, friends, and partners, due to the stigma associated with drug offenses.
- Civic Rights: In some cases, felony convictions can result in the loss of certain civic rights, such as the right to vote or possess firearms.
Understanding these consequences underscores the importance of an aggressive and knowledgeable defense strategy.
Drug Court and Alternative Sentencing in Sarasota
In some cases, particularly for first-time offenders or those battling addiction, the legal system might offer alternative sentencing options:
- Drug Court: This is a rehabilitation-focused program. Rather than serving jail time, participants undergo substance abuse treatment and counseling.
- Probation: Instead of incarceration, an individual may be put on probation, requiring regular check-ins with a probation officer and adherence to specific conditions.
- Community Service: Courts might substitute or supplement jail time with mandated community service hours.
- Restitution: Particularly if the drug crime involved theft or property damage, the court might order an individual to make financial restitution to the victim.
While these alternatives can be more lenient than traditional sentencing, they come with their own set of challenges and requirements. It’s crucial to understand them fully to make an informed decision about your defense.
The Importance of Evidence in Drug Cases
For a conviction to occur, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is largely done through evidence. Understanding the role of evidence in drug cases can be crucial:
- Chain of Custody: For evidence to be admissible, it must have a clear chain of custody. Any break in this chain can lead to evidence being dismissed.
- Validity of Searches: Evidence obtained without a warrant or outside the boundaries of a warrant can be challenged in court.
- Witness Testimony: The reliability and credibility of witnesses can be a key factor in drug cases.
- Expert Testimony: In some cases, the prosecution might bring in experts to testify about the nature and quantity of the drugs. Defense can counter with their own experts to challenge these assertions.
Engaging an attorney early can help in challenging the validity, relevance, and admissibility of evidence presented by the prosecution.
Defenses to the Crime of Sale, Purchase, Delivery or Possession of Illegal Drugs in Excess of Ten Grams
Your Florida criminal defense attorney will determine the best defense on your behalf for your charges of Sale, Purchase, Delivery, or Possession of Illegal Drugs in Excess of Ten Grams. That being said, one or more of the following defenses could be applicable in your situation:
- The evidence against you was obtained illegally;
- The search and seizure was done without a valid warrant;
- The method used to identify the contraband was flawed;
- The amount of the controlled substance was not ten grams or more;
- You were entrapped by law enforcement;
- You were not actually in possession of the drug;
- The drugs were not yours;
- You had no control over the drugs; or
- You were mistakenly identified—i.e., you are innocent of the charges.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney
Navigating the complexities of the legal system can be daunting for anyone accused of a crime. This is where a criminal defense attorney steps in. Their role goes far beyond mere representation in court; they are your guiding light through a maze of legal procedures, statutes, and rights.
- Understanding the Law: A criminal defense attorney is well-versed with the ins and outs of criminal laws. They can elucidate the charges against you, possible defenses, what plea bargains might be offered, and what is expected after trial or conviction.
- Protecting Your Rights: From the moment you are arrested, your rights need safeguarding. Defense attorneys ensure that law enforcement respects your rights during investigations and interrogations.
- Strategizing Defense: No two cases are identical. Based on evidence, witness testimonies, and the specifics of the alleged crime, an attorney crafts a tailored defense strategy, aiming for the best possible outcome.
- Negotiating Plea Deals: Not every case goes to trial. In some instances, plea deals can be a favorable option. Defense attorneys negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or lesser sentences.
- Emotional Support: Beyond legal aid, defense attorneys provide emotional support, helping clients cope with the stress and anxieties of criminal proceedings.
Why Choose The Law Place?
- Experienced Representation: At The Law Place, you’re not just getting a lawyer; you’re securing a team with a wealth of experience. Our collective knowledge ensures that every facet of your case is examined, leaving no stone unturned.
- Transparent Communication: We value open and transparent communication. From your first interaction with us to the conclusion of your case, we ensure you’re kept informed, your queries are addressed, and you understand every step of the legal journey.
- Client-First Approach: We listen. Every client has a unique story, and we ensure that your narrative is heard, both by us and by the legal system.
- Proven Track Record: Our success speaks for itself. We’ve guided numerous clients through their legal challenges, with many cases resulting in favorable outcomes. Our dedication to justice is unwavering.
- Holistic Legal Support: With The Law Place, you’re not just hiring an attorney for a single case. We view our client relationships as long-term partnerships, providing advice and support for any future legal challenges you might encounter.
In the midst of legal turmoil, The Law Place stands as a beacon of hope, ensuring that your side of the story is heard, your rights are protected, and your future is given the best chance for a positive outcome.
Sarasota sale purchase delivery or possession of illegal drugs in excess of ten grams lawyer, FAQ
What does Florida law state about possession of illegal drugs in excess of ten grams?
Under Florida law, the possession, sale, or delivery of certain illegal drugs in quantities greater than ten grams can result in severe penalties, often classified as a drug trafficking offense, depending on the controlled substance involved.
Can I be charged even if the illegal substance wasn’t found on me?
Yes. Florida recognizes both actual and constructive possession. If a law enforcement officer believes you had the knowledge and control over the location of the drug, even if not on your person, you could face drug possession charges.
What if the substance was a prescription drug?
Possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription or selling such drugs can lead to drug charges. Always ensure that you carry documentation for any accepted medical prescriptions you have.
Are drug possession and drug trafficking considered the same under Florida law?
No, they are distinct. While drug possession pertains to having an illegal substance for personal use, drug trafficking typically involves the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver the drug. Penalties for drug trafficking are usually more severe.
What does “counterfeit controlled substance” mean?
A counterfeit controlled substance is a substance that looks like a drug but isn’t. Selling or possessing such drugs can also lead to drug crime charges, even if they don’t have the properties of the real drug.
What is the difference between a third-degree felony and other felony levels in drug cases?
A third-degree felony is less severe than first or second-degree felonies. The classification often depends on the drug involved, the quantity, and the defendant’s criminal history. Third-degree felonies typically carry lighter sentences compared to more severe felony charges.
I was asked by a law enforcement officer to undergo random drug testing. Is that standard procedure?
In some drug offenses, especially if drug court intervention is pursued, random drug testing might be a requirement. It’s essential to comply as a failure to pass can have ramifications on your case.
What does “intent to sell” mean in the context of drug crime charges?
“Intent to sell” implies that an individual had plans to distribute the illegal substance rather than possessing it solely for personal use. Evidence, such as large quantities of the drug, packaging materials, or large sums of money, can suggest intent.
Can drug possession charges be dropped or reduced?
Every case is unique. Depending on the evidence, the circumstances, and your criminal history, Florida criminal defense attorneys might be able to negotiate reduced charges or alternative resolutions like drug court, which focuses on rehabilitation.
Why is it crucial to have a lawyer for drug crime charges in Sarasota?
Facing drug charges can have profound impacts on your future. With experienced Florida criminal defense attorneys like those at The Law Place, you gain the advantage of knowledgeable guidance, ensuring every legal avenue is explored to protect your rights.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney from The Law Place Can Help
If you have been charged with Sale, Purchase, Delivery or Possession of Illegal Drugs in Excess of Ten Grams, it is extremely important that you contact a criminal lawyer from The Law Place as soon as you are charged. The sooner our criminal defense attorneys can start building a defense on your behalf, the better your chances of a positive outcome. The penalties and consequences for drug crimes in Florida are extremely serious—don’t leave your future to chance. Call 941-444-4444 today to ensure your rights and your future are properly protected.