While the federal War on Drugs is no longer as intense as it was in the late 20th century, law enforcement agencies and state courts throughout Florida still devote considerable resources to investigating, arresting, and prosecuting drug offenders. If convicted of a drug crime in Florida, you can face hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences. Even those do not end up having to serve jail time are still left with a criminal record that can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or get a student loan.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Florida, don’t take chances with your future. Get help from an experienced drug charge defense attorney who will fight aggressively to protect your rights and your future. Attorney Jonathan Rose is a skilled former prosecutor who knows the tactics Florida state lawyers use to prosecute drug offenders. He will put his knowledge, skill, and experience to work protecting you through every stage of the criminal justice process.
Call our office today at 407-894-4555 or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website to get the protection you need when you are facing drug charges in Florida.
What Drug Crimes Can You Be Charged with in Florida?
The state of Florida is serious about drug offenses. While an arrest and the prospect of severe sentences are alarming, police and prosecutors must have sufficient evidence and comply with a defendants’ constitutional rights. Attorney Jonathan Rose will make sure your rights are protected and build a compelling defense based on the specific facts of your case. He has defended clients by challenging the issuance of a search warrant, the validity of the police stop, witness statements, and whether the police made a lawful search.
Common drug crimes in Florida include:
- Manufacturing a controlled substance.
Florida law prohibits any unlawful cultivation or manufacturing of controlled substances. Manufacturing controlled substances includes the creation, or intent to create, an amount of controlled substance greater than an amount that would be appropriate personal use. Manufacturing is a serious felony charge that is often coupled with other charges.
- Possessing a controlled substance.
Under Florida law, it a crime to possess a controlled substance unless it has been obtained by a valid prescription. Any violation of the law is considered a third degree felony. Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it to another is a second degree felony.
- Trafficking a controlled substance.
Drug trafficking is the possession of a threshold amount of a controlled substance. For instance, the possession of 28 grams of oxycodone without a valid prescription is considered trafficking in that substance, rather than simply possession or possession with intent to distribute. The significance of trafficking offenses is that they all carry draconian minimum mandatory sentences. In the above example, if an individual is convicted of trafficking in 28 grams of oxycodone, the judge must impose no less than a 25-year prison sentence, as well as other mandatory penalties.
- Falsely prescribing or obtaining a controlled substance.
Forging a prescription or prescriptions, getting prescriptions from several doctors, altering a prescription’s quantity or misrepresenting a medical issue to obtain a prescription are all crimes under Florida law. Offenders can be charged with a felony offense.
Prosecutors use conspiracy charges because they are relatively easy to prove.
Essentially, the government has to prove just two things. First, they must prove that two people (not including government informants or agents) made an agreement, regardless of how informal, to break the law. Second, they must prove that just one of them took some substantial step to achieve the object of the conspiracy. The crime does not have to be completed, or even be possible, and the government does not have to have actual drugs, money, or other physical evidence. In a conspiracy charge, the agreement is being prosecuted, not the crime itself.
If you have been charged with conspiracy or any drug crime in Florida, you could be facing a harsh sentence, if convicted. There is no time to waste. Get the protection and aggressive defense you need today by calling 407-894-4555 or submitting the “Tell Us What Happened” form on this page.
Attorney Jonathan Rose has years of successful experience defending against drug charges at both the state and federal level and will put his extensive experience, knowledge and skill to work protecting you.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in Florida?
Penalties for drug crimes in Florida vary depending on the type of crime, the type and amount of drugs involved, and the number of previous drug convictions you have had.
Drug trafficking offenses can result in the harshest penalties, depending on the type of drug involved. For example, in Florida state court, a judge must sentence an individual convicted of trafficking in 28 grams, or one ounce of cocaine, to a minimum three-year prison sentence, $50,000 fine, and other sanctions, including a one-year driver’s license suspension. In federal court, a judge must sentence an individual convicted of possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine, i.e., not crack cocaine, to a minimum five years of prison, to be followed by a mandatory term of supervised release. The maximum sentence increases up to 30 years in prison as the amount of drugs increases.
In Florida, if you are convicted of possession with intent to sell, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. For other possession offenses, the penalty could be a fine of up to $5,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years.
To fight the drug charges against you and have the best chance of protecting your freedom and your future, it is important to have a trusted, experienced Florida defense attorney in your corner. Attorney Jonathan Rose has more than twenty years of experience fighting for the rights of clients facing criminal charges in state or federal court. Get the aggressive, experienced help you need today. Call 407-894-4555 or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” form on this page to get started on your defense.
What Are Possible Defense Strategies for Drug Charges in Florida?
The strategy used to defend you against drug charges will depend on the charges, the facts of the case and your specific situation. However, in general, some of the strategies they may be used to defend against drug charges are:
- Dismissal. In Florida state court, a judge can dismiss a case if both the defense and prosecution agree on what the facts of the case are, but the facts are not sufficient to prove the charges. This can be an effective strategy in many drug cases, either during trial or before the trial begins. No such rule exists in federal court, but Jonathan Rose has nonetheless been successful in securing dismissals in multiple drug conspiracy cases at the federal level.
- Suppression. If the police obtained evidence in violation of your 4th Amendment rights (illegal search) or 5th Amendment rights (illegal interrogation), you may be able to suppress the evidence that the government would use against you. This means that your lawyer asks the court to find that the evidence was obtained illegally, and as such, cannot be used against you. Jonathan Rose has been successful in suppressing evidence in numerous drug trafficking and possession cases, resulting in the dismissal of all charges against those clients.
- Entrapment is a practice in which a law enforcement agent (either an actual officer or a government informant) induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit. Entrapment is a defense used during trial, and while difficult to establish, may be an excellent defense in a scenario where the government presents an unlawful opportunity to an otherwise law-abiding individual.
- Insufficient Evidence. The prosecution bears the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes, the best defense is simply to rely on the fact that the evidence presented is insufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Constructive Possession. The government is not required to prove that you own any drugs or contraband you’ve been charged with possessing. They must only prove that you possessed what you were charged with. Possession of an object may be actual or constructive. An example of actual possession is cocaine in a pocket or purse or on a table directly in front of you and in your view. Constructive possession occurs when an item is not physically on a person and not directly in a person’s view. In this scenario, the government must prove that the person charged has both knowledge of the presence of the cocaine and the ability to control it. This can be difficult to prove and lack of knowledge of the drug and ability to control it is frequently an excellent defense, depending on the facts of the individual case.
- Informant Discreditation. In most conspiracy cases, at least one witness who was a part of the conspiracy will testify against the defendant in trial. This witness may be an informant who was believed to be a co-conspirator by other defendants, or it may be a co-conspirator who chooses to testify against his co-defendants in return for a lenient sentence. In these cases, there is frequently a wealth of information to confront the testifying witness with, including his bias against the person going to trial, and his motivation for testifying in such a manner.
Attorney Jonathan Rose will thoroughly examine all the facts and circumstances of your case and determine the best strategy for defending against the charges. The sooner you contact our office, the more time we will have to build the strongest defense possible. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 407-894-4555 or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website.
For the Powerful Defense You Need When Facing Drug Charges, Contact an Experienced Florida Defense Attorney
If you believe you are being investigated for a drug crime, or you have already been charged with one at the state or federal level, you need an experienced Florida drug charge defense attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are protected and to begin working on your defense strategy. There are several potential arguments that may be available to prevent charges from being brought against you if you are being investigated, and there are other potential defenses that can be used to avoid a criminal conviction if charges have already been brought against you. However, the ability to successfully employ these defenses often depends on getting an experienced attorney involved early in an investigation and/or prosecution.
Attorney Jonathan Rose has more than twenty years of successful experience as a lawyer. He is deeply committed to protecting your rights and fighting against all drug charges and is qualified to represent you in state or in federal court. He will put his experience and skill to work protecting your rights, your freedom and your future.
Please contact Attorney Jonathan Rose today by calling 407-894-4555 or filling out the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website.