Law enforcement officers across the United States are cracking down on drug offenders now more than ever before. Florida is no different. Even minor offenders face serious consequences for their actions. It is critical for individuals charged with drug offenses, like simple possession, to understand their legal rights. Having full knowledge of the laws, as well as adequate legal defense, will help you protect your rights and fight back.
The Negative Consequences Of Drug Possession Charges In Florida
Individuals who are arrested for drug possession face a list of negative consequences if convicted. Depending on the type of substance one is in possession of, they may be charged with either misdemeanor or felony charges.
Individuals who have less than 20-grams of marijuana can be sentenced to 1-year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Over 20-grams of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or Ecstasy can result in a prison sentence of up to 5-years and up to $5,000 in fines. Those in possession of over 10-grams of heroin can be charged with a first-degree felony with a sentence up to 30-years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Individuals facing possession charges for unlawful chemicals can be sentenced to 15-years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Finally, possession of drug paraphernalia can land an offender up to 1-year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
No matter what type of possession charges a person faces, it can have a serious impact on their freedom and finances. Furthermore, having a criminal record for possession can drastically limit an individual’s ability to obtain and maintain employment or go to college to learn a new career. It is crucial for anyone facing drug possession charges in Florida to determine if there is a strong legal defense option they can use to beat their simple possession charge.
Common Defenses People Can Use To Beat Simple Possession Charges In Florida
Although the defense you choose will have a lot to do with the circumstances of your charge, there are several legal arguments you can make in your legal argument.
The Substance Was Not A Drug. Quite often, police officers will arrest individuals who are in possession of a substance that looks like a drug, regardless of whether or not it truly is. This is extremely common for individuals arrested for cocaine possession. Simply because a substance looks like a controlled substance does not mean it necessarily is one.
It is crucial for your lawyer to request a crime lab analysis of the substance you were found in possession of. If the tests demonstrate that the substance you were in possession of was not actually a controlled substance, the prosecutor has no case.
The Arresting Officer Conducted An Illegal Search. Law enforcement officers must follow specific rules for undertaking a search on an offender. Quite often, these rules get bent or broken – especially in drug cases. For instance, if an officer pulls you over for speeding and notices an illegal substance on your dashboard or back seat, they can arrest you and use the evidence against you. However, if the officer requests to search your vehicle without probable cause, you do not have to let them without a warrant. If an officer opens your doors or trunk without your permission and finds any illegal substances, the evidence was illegally obtained and cannot be used against you in the court of law.
The Drugs Were Not Yours. Imagine a situation where you are with a bunch of friends. Say you invited them over for a party. After getting a little wild, the police come and notice drugs sitting out on a table. You are arrested simply because it is your house. In Florida, a person can be arrested for either actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession implies that the drugs were on you personally. For example, you had drugs in your pocket, your waistband, or socks. Alternatively, constructive possession simply means that there were drugs within your property or local vicinity at the time of the arrest. In cases where constructive possession is applicable, the prosecutor not only has to prove that you knew about the drugs, but also that you knew they were illegal. You could disprove these claims with the help of a reputable defense attorney. Furthermore, you could argue that the drugs themselves were planted. For this argument to hold water, you will need a strong case with plenty of evidence to support your claims.
Missing Drugs Or Other Evidence. When police officers arrest offenders and collect evidence, the evidence often passes through many hands and travels to various locations. Sometimes, things get lost or go missing. If the prosecutor is unable to produce a specific piece of evidence that is important in your case, it can have a severe impact on their ability to convict you of the crime. Furthermore, without a substance to test, there is no way to prove that you were actually in possession of an illicit drug. A loss of evidence or drugs can make it extremely hard for the prosecutor to convict you.
Although it may seem at times like there is no way out of a possession charge in Florida, working with a knowledgeable Florida defense attorney can help you fight back. With a strong defense, you may be able to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed entirely in Florida.
A Florida Drug Defense Attorney Can Help You Beat Your Simple Possession Charge
Whether you should use a particular strategy to fight your simple possession charge is something that you should discuss with your legal defense team. What is best for you often depends on the unique ins and outs of your case, as well as your current and past legal circumstances. Working with an attorney from Musca Law will ensure you are able to apply a strong defensive strategy to beat your simple possession charge in Florida. Contact our law firm today at (888) 484-5057 to schedule a free, no-obligation, and confidential case evaluation. We are available 24-hours a day to take your call.