- April 21, 2023
- Drug Crimes Blog | Taracks & Associates
How do you beat a felony drug charge in Florida? You start by hiring an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about Florida’s drug crimes. Learn more about felony drug crimes in Florida and what to do if you are charged.
What Is a Felony Drug Crime in Florida?
A felony drug crime in Florida is defined by the amount of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs found in your possession. The lowest grade is a third-degree drug possession felony. It can carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
If the police catch you with drugs in an excessive number, they could charge you with a drug trafficking felony. These felonies carry mandatory minimum sentences that you cannot get reduced by good behavior or other means.
When the U.S. declared its war on drugs in the 1980s, Florida focused its attention on drug trafficking. Today, the state has some of the strictest drug laws in the nation. If the police have charged you or a loved one with any type of drug felony, it is imperative that you get help. An experienced felony drug charge attorney in Florida can make all the difference.
What You Should Do If Arrested for a Drug Felony in Florida
You must act quickly if the police arrest you on Florida drug felony charges. You can take specific actions to lessen the overall severity of your charges. One of the most significant steps you can take is to hire an experienced felony drug charge attorney. Your lawyer will guide you through the rest.
Contact a Felony Drug Charge Attorney Immediately
The first thing you should do is to contact a skilled lawyer who is well-versed in Florida’s felony drug charges. You should make this call as quickly as possible, so they can begin working on your case immediately. A felony drug lawyer can potentially find ways to get your charges dismissed or reduced or give you a better chance of a more favorable sentencing.
Florida’s felony drug penalties are stiff, and many involve prison time. A savvy felony drug charge attorney is worth their weight in gold if they can keep you out of prison and a felony charge off your record.
Understand Your Legal Rights
After you have contacted your lawyer, it is critical to understand your legal rights. Your attorney will walk you through your potential outcomes and your upcoming legal processes. While your lawyer will handle most of the analysis and guide you through the process, there will be times when your attorney will ask you to make vital decisions. Your lawyer will advise you, but the final decision will rest upon your shoulders.
Ensuring you grasp your legal rights will help you make the best decisions during potentially stressful scenarios. It is crucial for you to choose a lawyer you feel comfortable asking questions of when you do not entirely understand the situation.
Once you have a solid understanding of your legal rights and upcoming legal case, gathering evidence is next. Your lawyer will assist you with this step by informing you what information could be critical to your case. They will also obtain certain evidence on their own. However, some evidence may need to be obtained by you.
Depending on your case, the evidence can vary. Your attorney will let you know what you need to find.
How to Get Your Felony Drug Charge Dismissed?
The best result in a felony drug charge is to have your charge dismissed entirely. The second-best result is usually a reduction in charges. There are several strategies your felony drug charge attorney may use to these ends.
Get Your Drug Charge Dismissed
If you aim to have your drug charge dismissed, these are some of the defenses your lawyer may employ. Not every defense is realistic for each case. Your attorney will base their strategy on the specific details of your unique case.
Your lawyer might use the entrapment defense if law enforcement had confidentially pressured you into committing a crime. This is a specific defense that you can use in very limited situations.
However, this defense can be effective. You admit to committing the crime through this defense, but you claim legal justification.
Insufficient Evidence Defense
Unlike entrapment, the insufficient evidence defense is one of the most common defenses in these types of charges. With this defense, your attorney challenges the evidence the state provides to the court.
The court requires the state to prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. However, under this defense, your lawyer will attempt to expose holes in the state’s case, factors that they cannot sufficiently prove. This may result in the court’s agreeing that the state has insufficient evidence to pursue your charge.
Lack of Knowledge Defense
In some situations, you may be able to claim that you were unaware of the illegal substances in your possession. For example, if the drugs were in a bag left by a friend in your home, you would have no reason to suspect anything illegal. If you find yourself facing legal issues related to drug crimes in Tampa, consult with a Tampa drug crime lawyer to understand your rights and options.
You can only use this defense in specific situations. It generally also requires implicating the person to whom the drugs belonged.
Informant Reliability Defense
The informant reliability defense is also a reasonably common defense for drug charges. Under this defense, your lawyer will question the reliability of any witnesses or informants the state calls. If they offered their witness a reduction in their penalty for testifying against you, you could call the witness’s statement into question.
Fourth Amendment Unreasonable Search and Seizure Defense
Another fairly common defense is to challenge the state’s evidence by casting doubt on its evidence. The state must gather evidence to prove its case against you, but some rules dictate how they are allowed to do so. If they break these rules, their evidence against you may be inadmissible.
The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police found their evidence via an illegal search, your lawyer can have that evidence excluded from your case.
There are multiple scenarios of how the police may obtain evidence illegally, and this happens with surprising regularity. Your felony drug charge attorney in Florida will consider whether this defense applies to your case.
Get Your Felony Drug Charge Reduced
Getting your felony drug charge reduced is not as appealing as a dismissal. However, walking away with a lower-degree felony or a misdemeanor is infinitely preferable over a higher charge. Ensuring that a knowledgeable Florida felony drug charge attorney represents you is the first step in the right direction.
One method to avoid more severe penalties is to offer the state ‘substantial assistance.’ When you make this deal, you agree to become an informant to law enforcement in exchange for a lower charge or reduced penalties.
Although this may sound appealing, this should be a last resort for you. Before accepting this offer, you should consult your felony drug charge attorney in Florida.
Drug Trafficking in Florida
Drug trafficking in Florida is the state’s most serious drug crime. If the police catch you with an excessive amount of drugs, they could charge you with the intent to sell or distribute the drugs. The state takes these matters very seriously.
If you are found to have delivered, manufactured, or sold drugs, the charges become even more severe. But even simple possession of a large quantity of drugs is sufficient to qualify.
In these situations, it is vital that you contact a Florida felony drug charge attorney ASAP.
Florida Drug Felonies and Misdemeanors
Florida details its various drug charge felonies in its statutes, outlined below.
First Degree Drug Charge Felony in Florida
Offense: You are caught with more than 10 grams of a Schedule I drug.
Penalty: Up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Second Degree Drug Charge Felony in Florida
Offense: You are caught with specific Schedule I and II drugs.
Penalty: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Third Degree Drug Charge Felony in Florida
Offense: You are caught with specific Schedule I or II drugs or any Schedule III or IV drugs.
Penalty: Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
First Degree Drug Charge Misdemeanor in Florida
Offense: You are caught with up to 20 grams of marijuana or possess any quantity of a Schedule V drug.
Penalty: Up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Drug Trafficking in Florida
Offense: You are caught with the following amounts of any of these drugs:
- Marijuana: 25 pounds or 300 plants
- Cocaine: 28 grams
- LSD: 1 gram
- Hydrocodone: 7 grams
- MDMA: 10 grams
Penalty: Depends on the drugs in your possession. The penalty range is life without parole to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.
Florida has mandatory minimums for specific charges. This means the court will sentence you to a minimum period in prison or a minimum fine. Florida outlines the mandatory minimums for drug crimes in the Florida statute regarding mandatory sentencing.
Contact Taracks & Associates for Help with Your Felony Drug Charge in Florida
A felony drug charge attorney in Florida could help you receive your best result if the police charged you or a loved one with felony drug possession. You must act quickly, as there is only a limited time to prepare a solid defense for these charges.
Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Taracks & Associates today at (813) 281-2897.