Florida has been an epicenter of the drug trade for decades. For that reason, law enforcement prioritizes drug crimes, and the penalties are often harsh.
Call an Orange County drug lawyer immediately if you were arrested for a crime involving illicit substances. Do not speak to a law enforcement officer or prosecutor without an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.
This state has a complex way of classifying drug crimes that considers the type and quantity of substance law enforcement recovered. Penalties depend on these factors plus an accused’s criminal history.
Florida Statute § 893.03 contains a long list of substances the state considers potentially dangerous. These are controlled substances, and possessing, distributing, or trafficking them could subject a person to prosecution.
The larger the quantity of the substance, the more severe the charge. For example, possessing less than 28 grams of cocaine is a third-degree felony, and a conviction could lead to five years in prison or five years probation and a $5,000 fine. However, possessing less than 28 grams with intent to distribute—which law enforcement could imply if the accused also had baggies, scales, or large amounts of cash—is a second-degree felony that could lead to 15 years in prison. Possessing more than 28 grams is trafficking.
Other drug arrests that The Umansky Law Firm handles include:
If a drug offense, even simple possession, happened within 1,000 yards of a community center, school, or park, a person faces a mandatory three-year prison sentence upon conviction.
Drug investigations and arrests are unique, and a skilled Orange County drug attorney will tailor the defense to the specific details of the case. That said, there are some defenses that a legal professional could explore in every drug crime case.
Reviewing police procedures is an essential part of constructing a legal defense. Many drug possession charges result from traffic stops. The police must have reasonable suspicion a crime is being committed to stop a vehicle and have probable cause to conduct a search. Otherwise, they need a warrant. Police often violate these rules, and when they do, an attorney could ask the court to throw out the evidence the police obtained improperly.
Similarly, arrests for trafficking or possession with intent to distribute sometimes result from undercover work or electronic surveillance activities. If there are defects in the police warrants authorizing these activities, a legal professional could ask the court to suppress the evidence.
When the police seize drugs or other evidence, there are strict rules they must follow to maintain the chain of custody. These procedures protect against contamination or tampering with the evidence. If there are issues with the chain of custody, a judge could rule that the prosecutor cannot use the evidence.
The severity of a crime and its punishment depends on what substance the accused allegedly possessed and how much they had. A defender could challenge the procedures law enforcement used to identify and weigh the substance.
Drug arrests often result from anonymous tipsters or testimony from someone involved in a criminal enterprise. They usually receive a benefit for their testimony which might motivate them to lie. Questioning the truthfulness or credibility of these witnesses could be an effective defense.
Prosecutors will go hard against those who use, manufacture, or sell hard drugs. You can rely on an Orange County drug lawyer to strive for the best result possible under the circumstances.
If you believe you are being investigated for drug-related activity or have already been arrested, you need an aggressive advocate on your side. Call us today.
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