Police in Florida aggressively pursue drug charges and prosecutors also take a hard stance against people accused of drug crimes.
If you have been arrested for carrying illegal substances, call a Clermont drug possession lawyer as soon as you can. Defending these charges is not easy, but with the help of a savvy drug attorney, you could present a viable defense.
Every crime has specific elements that a prosecutor must prove to obtain a conviction. An attorney could exploit any weakness in the prosecutor’s evidence to persuade them to reduce or dismiss charges.
The prosecutor must demonstrate that the accused had an illegal drug in their possession. “Possession” means the drug is on their body or in a purse, backpack, or similar container. A person also has possession if the substance was in their car or another place they had access, such as a garage, home, or warehouse.
The prosecutor also must prove the defendant knew they had the substance, knew what it was, and knew it was illegal to possess. The prosecutor could use circumstantial evidence to show knowledge, but a Clermont drug possession attorney could present alternative theories that raise questions about whether the defendant was aware of what they had.
Prosecutors typically bring charges against a person who possesses a quantity of illegal drugs suitable for personal use. Possession is the least serious of the drug crimes, but is still something that must be addressed carefully.
The quantities that could lead to drug possession charges are listed in Florida Statute § 893.13 (6). Because the severity of the charge and penalty depends on the identity of the illegal substance, a Clermont attorney could review the police procedures for handling and testing the substance the accused allegedly possessed. The defense could try to get the charges dismissed if the police did not follow proper procedures or the lab had a history of errors.
It is a first-degree misdemeanor with a possible one-year jail sentence to possess less than 20 grams of Schedule V prescription drugs without a valid prescription.
Possessing less than four grams of heroin, 14 grams of methamphetamine, or 28 grams of cocaine, could lead to third-degree felony drug possession charges. Possessing a Schedule IV controlled substance without a prescription or an anabolic steroid also is a third-degree felony. A person convicted of a third-degree felony faces a sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Prosecutors are often willing to allow a first offender accused of possessing small quantities of illegal drugs to participate in a diversion program. These programs offer drug education, substance abuse treatment, and supportive services to help someone with a drug dependency.
Some drug diversion programs offer deferred prosecution, calling for the prosecutor to dismiss the charges when the offender completes the program. Others allow offenders to reduce their sentences by participating in drug treatment and education.
A Clermont attorney is familiar with the diversion programs in the area and could recommend one that meets the needs of someone facing drug possession charges. Not every alleged offender is eligible for every program. However, acceptance into a diversion program offers a defendant an opportunity to address the underlying issues that led to the charges, and develop helpful skills and strategies to support them in the future.
Possessing even a small quantity of drugs for personal use could lead to a criminal record and jail time. A Clermont drug possession lawyer will exert their best efforts to get drug charges reduced or dismissed. In an appropriate case, they could advocate for you to enroll in a diversion program, which could help you avoid prosecution. Do not leave your future to chance. Reach out to The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense and Injury Attorneys now.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys