Types of drug charges and how your attorney can relieve you of them
Sarasota County in Florida is not immune to drug-related issues that include misusing and abusing prescription and street drugs and other harmful substances.
Given Sarasota’s crime rate, there’s a high possibility that you’re charged with a drug crime. Unfortunately, Florida can make things difficult for you with its harsh drug laws unless you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Professionals like Michael Fayard, a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, are aware of the various rules and laws applicable in drug charges, and can use their experience and expertise to help get you acquitted.
Possessing certain drugs beyond a particular limit is prohibited in Florida, as they are considered controlled substances. Some of those drugs are:
Sarasota, Florida charges relating to drug crimes
A wide range of actions, such as constructively or actually possessing, distributing, making, importing, and selling in the state, constitute a drug crime in Sarasota, Florida. Here, you must know that controlled drugs refer to both street and prescription drugs.
So, if you obtain prescription drugs through fraud, you will become a criminal in the eyes of the law. In addition, possessing most controlled substances apart from marijuana in minimal quantities (below 20 grams) or for medical use is considered a felony.
Besides possession, you can also be charged with intent to sell. The prosecutor has to prove the legal components of possessing and intent to distribute or sell the drugs. The charge on you and what sentence you may receive depends on which controlled substance was the issue.
In normal circumstances, the punishment for possession with the intent to sell is harsher than simple possession. For example, the possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell (and manufacture, sale, and deliver) is a second-degree felony amounting to a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison. However, a police officer may charge you solely for the possession of meth. In this case, it becomes a third-degree felony, and you will have to pay a maximum of $5,000 as a fine along with up to five years in prison.
Possessing a threshold amount of drugs can result in you being charged with drug trafficking. You may believe that only those in the criminal underworld and drug kingpins indulge in trafficking. However, in the real world, even if you possess a certain amount of a specific substance, officials can book you for trafficking.
If convicted of drug trafficking, you will receive a mandatory minimum sentence, and the judge has no discretion over the ruling. It hinges on the substance and amount of drug concerned. For instance, getting caught with 10 kg of GBL can bring you penalties of $250,000 and a compulsory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Similarly, carrying 15 grams of oxycodone comes with a minimum fine of $100,000 and 7 years in prison.
Seek a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer’s help
The circumstances that lead to a crime can influence how your criminal lawyer in Sarasota will defend your case. Like all other crimes, law enforcement officers and prosecutors must prove the drug crimes, leaving no reasonable doubt about their authenticity.
However, your criminal attorney can raise a reasonable doubt regarding an element of the crime. For instance, if you are charged with constructive possession, your attorney may show that you were not in control of the area of the drug discovery.
In other cases, constitutional or procedural violations by the police lets crime attorneys file a motion for suppressing the evidence. Additionally, if the judge concurs that you were not allowed to practice your constitutional rights and the police suppressed evidence, he will likely dismiss all charges against you.
Your attorney may also advocate for a diversion program, which will let you opt for treatment instead of suffering jail time. If need be, the attorney can also suggest that you provide considerable help to law enforcement officials so that they can apprehend other offenders.
It is worth remembering that Florida prosecutors pay special attention to drug-related crimes, and you may receive heavy penalties. If you factor in the amount of drugs found with you and the activity you were involved in, your fines and period of imprisonment could increase.
But, the retribution does not end there. Despite receiving probation, you will encounter extreme social stigma, including the inability to secure housing, a job, or a professional license. However, experienced professionals like Michael Fayard, a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, can represent you and strive to protect your rights if you are ever accused of a drug crime.
Story by Darren Wilson