If you are found to have any illegal drugs or prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you and in quantities more than you would be allowed to have, you have a serious problem. Florida has taken a firm stand against drugs in their state.
In recent years, the state of Florida has become the “poster child” for drug abuse. They got a reputation for pill mills, drug trafficking, illegal drug manufacturing, and an out of control addiction problem. Make no mistake about it, they increased penalties, and they have clamped down on drug crimes in a very big way. The penalties are harsh, and they mean business.
However, there are always those officers who in their zeal to battle an issue, overstep their legal powers to do so. No matter how pure their goal, in America, we have laws that protect the citizens for being mistreated. The Fourth Amendment of our Constitution ensures that certain procedures must be followed. Officers cannot just search a person or their property at will. When they do not follow those procedures, they have forfeited their right to prosecute that citizen on the things they found illegally.
This is where the knowledge and experience of a criminal defense attorney come in handy. The drug crimes attorney who is representing this citizen must be committed to upholding the Constitution above all else. All else pales in comparison of an American citizen being stripped of the very rights our nation was built upon.
Drug crimes attorneys will also look at the details of the arrest. Were all your rights considered and honored? Were your rights explained to you? Were you offered the services of an attorney and when you requested one, did they stop questioning you?
All these things matter. A qualified attorney will spot infractions of your rights immediately and will act upon that. This is often a reason to have your charges reduced or even thrown out.
What Do You Have To Lose?
Even minor drug charges carry a high penalty. In first offense cases, you could be given probation, but that is at the discretion of the court. The charges begin with penalties of 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.00. They grow substantially after that.
A first-degree misdemeanor carries a sentence of 1-year in prison and a $1,000 fine. When the charges move into the felony courts, the penalties begin at 5-years in prison and a $5,000 fine, and they could end at 30-year prison terms and fines of up to $15,000. But that is not close to all of the penalties.
Even a first offender will usually be sentenced to drug classes. Often drug rehabilitation programs are required. If the arrest included a DUI (driving under the influence) charge, there is typically licenses suspension, car impounds, fines and fees.
Depending on the circumstances of the case and quantity of drugs found, drug trafficking laws may be added to the case. That could result in the loss of your car or even your home.