Florida has harsh drug laws. Drugs that are prohibited as controlled substances include marijuana, LSD, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, GBL, GHB, flunitrazepam, and more. When a certain amount of the substance, considered a threshold amount, is possessed in Florida, you can be charged with drug trafficking. If you are charged with any drug crime, it is critical to retain an experienced Sarasota drug crime lawyer. At Hanlon Law, we fight for the rights of the accused.Florida Charges Involving Drug Crimes
Drug crimes can involve a wide range of activities, including actually or constructively possessing, making, distributing, selling, and importing into the state. Controlled substances can include street drugs as well as prescription drugs. One drug crime is fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs. Possession of most controlled substances, other than the medical use of marijuana or very small quantities of marijuana (less than 20 grams), is charged as a felony.
You can also be charged with possession with intent to sell. The prosecutor needs to establish the legal elements of simple possession as well as intent to sell or distribute the drugs. The charge and what the potential sentence may be hinges on which controlled substance was at issue. A drug crime attorney in Sarasota can explain the specific sentence that you may face. Generally, the sentence is harsher than for simple possession. For example, possession of methamphetamine is a third-degree felony that can carry a maximum five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000. In contrast, possession of meth with intent to sell (as well as sale, manufacture, and delivery) is a second-degree felony that comes with penalties of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
When you possess a threshold amount of a drug, you can be charged with drug trafficking. Many people associate the term "drug trafficking" with drug kingpins and the criminal underworld, but ordinary people can be charged with trafficking even if their only activity was to possess a certain amount of a particular substance. A trafficking conviction comes with a mandatory minimum sentence. This is a sentence over which the judge does not have discretion, and it varies depending on the substance and amount at issue. For example, if you are caught with 15 grams of oxycodone, the mandatory minimum sentence is 7 years in prison and $100,000. If you are caught with 10 kg of GBL, you can face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 calendar years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The circumstances of the crime will influence how your Sarasota drug crime attorney defends your case. All drug crimes, like other crimes, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes a Sarasota criminal lawyer can raise a reasonable doubt about an element of the crime. For example, if you are being charged with constructive possession, it may be possible to show that you had no control over the area where the drugs were found. In other cases, there may be procedural or constitutional violations by the police that can allow us to file a motion to suppress the evidence. If the judge agrees that your constitutional rights were violated and the evidence is suppressed, the charges will likely be dismissed. In other cases, it may be appropriate to advocate for a diversion program that will allow you to seek treatment, rather than prison or jail time. In still other cases, it may be appropriate to offer law enforcement officers substantial assistance so that they can apprehend other offenders.Hire an Aggressive Drug Crime Lawyer in the Sarasota Area
Drug crimes are taken seriously by Florida prosecutors. A conviction for a drug crime may result in significant penalties. Depending on the activity and the quantity of drugs involved, you could face imprisonment and hefty fines. Even if probation is imposed, you may face a serious stigma and an inability to find a job, secure housing, or keep a professional license. Our founder, Will Hanlon, is dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused and has represented people accused of drug crimes since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 941.462.1789 or use our online form.