What Are The Most Common Types Of Drug Cases In Florida?
In Florida, the most common types of drug cases are possession cases: possession of marijuana, possession of Oxycodone, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, and possession of prescription drugs that are found on individuals. I have a lot of knowledge of drug crimes, because I have represented people who have been arrested many times for sale and trafficking of illegal drugs.
What are the Major Differences Between a Possession Charge and an Intent to Sell Charge?
In Florida, all the laws regarding illegals drugs deal with possession of those drugs. The key element to being charged with and convicted of an illegal drug crime in Florida, is that the individual had possession of the drug. There are two possessions in Florida one is actual possession and the other is constructive possession. What makes Florida quite unique is that the legislators have made the crimes of illegal drug possession, more severe, as to the amounts or weights of the illegal drugs that one is allegedly possessing. For marijuana, if one is in possession of under 20 grams, that is a misdemeanor. If one has more than 20 grams of Marijuana, then it’s a felony.
If we’re talking about hydrocodone/oxycodone, then possession of only 4 grams of oxycodone or more is considered trafficking, which has a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison. Anything under 4 grams is considered a felony but it doesn’t require a minimum state prison sentence of three years. Think about this, 4 grams of oxycodone or hydrocodone is actually only 4 pills. It could be 4, 30 milligram pills, referred to as blues, in Florida that gets the criminal drug defendant 3 years behind bars. In Florida, the weight of the drug that one allegedly possesses is the key to how one will be charged and eventually prosecuted for the drug crime.
How Would Someone Know that They Might Be Facing Jail Time?
That depends on many different issues and circumstances. First, obviously the weight of the drug is a major concern when being arrested for a drug crime in Palm Beach County, FL. If the total weight is sufficient to go over and above the threshold set by the legislatures in the statutes, then one could be facing a minimum mandatory prison sentence by the proscribed law.
Another factor that the courts take into consideration is whether or not the criminal drug defendant was in the process of selling the drug. Further, the punishment can also be increased if the illegal drugs were being sold within a certain location, usually within 1,000 feet of a prescribed area. Prescribed areas in Florida are defined as convenient stores, schools, daycare center, churches and many other locations even subsided housing areas. In Palm Beach County, FL those charged with selling illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs are fully prosecuted, especially when the sale is alleged within an area that is protected by law.
The reason why Florida law prescribes those locations and/or areas for increased sentencing punishments is because for schools, children or students can be easily intimidated or brought into the purchasing of illegal drugs because of their tender age. So, the legislatures have made the sentencing of those convicted of selling drugs within a 1000 feet of a school very punitive as a greater deterrence then of the same drug was sold in a none school zone.
Housing units are also on the list, the reason being is because legislators want to provide individuals who live in those areas, which for the majority are low income areas, with the opportunity to have upward mobility out of those areas. At least that is what the legislatures rational has been. Research has shown this to be effective, and the legislators have provided the stricter sentences within a 1,000 feet of a housing authority location to help with those wanting to live a better life to not be as influenced by illegal drug activity as possible. Legislatures have argued, statistics shows that drugs are detrimental to upward mobility of the economically disadvantaged or poor people.
As to the convenience store locations, that was brought about for similar reasons, because the owners of the local convenience stores do not want individuals loitering in their parking areas and selling the drugs in those locations. This is because illegal drugs in West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Lake-Worth, Lantana, Jupiter, Boca-Raton, Wellington and throughout Florida has shown that such behavior brings a high element of violent crime also, like robberies, burglaries, sexual assault, prostitution, sex trafficking and the list goes on, of the person or the property within those areas in order to purchase the illegal drugs. The same thing could be said for churches, synagogues, and other places of worship.
When you have a sales charge within a 1,000 feet of one of the prescribed special areas, like sale within a 100 feet of a school in Palm Beach County, Florida, due to the sentencing guidelines, you will be facing minimum state prison sentence with the current State Attorney in and for Palm Beach County, FL.
For trafficking, it obviously depends on the weight as explained above. 4 grams or more could get you 3 years mandatory and then it’s prescribed upward from there to include sentences of 7 years, 15 years, 25 years and life depending on the weight. For a complete breakdown of each illegal drug and weight schedule you should contact me for a free consultation to discuss the possible sentences.
If you’re in possession of illegal drugs, and you also have a criminal history, both are added up on the sentencing score sheet and a number is complied. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of any crime, including an illegal drug crime, and the number complied on the sentencing score sheet is equal to or greater than 42 points, you will likely be headed to Florida State Prison unless a valid mitigator exists.
There are many different factors taken into consideration when sentencing an individual. Some factors act like multipliers, which increase the prison sentence of those convicted of any crime in Florida including drugs crimes. One example is if a weapon, meaning a firearm, is used during the drug transaction; that’s a multiplier of 1.5. So your total sentencing points will be multiplied by 1.5. Same thing can be said if another crime is committed while in the process of a drug trafficking case, then there is a drug trafficking multiplier that can be exercised that multiples the sentence by 1.5. There is also a law enforcement multiplier of 1.5. If during the commission of the criminal act, a Law Enforcement Officer, like a Palm Beach County Sheriff Deputy is injured, through examples like a battery, assault or other similar attack during the arrest or investigation, the accused can also face the law enforcement enhancement which will multiple their sentencing score by 1.5.
Because Florida’s drug laws are very comprehensive, because the punishment or prison sentences can be very severe, and because your liberty, driver’s license and good name hand in the balance, it is best to immediately seek an experienced criminal defense lawyer, like Palm Beach Drug Lawyer, Andrew D. Stine, who deals with drug crimes and has done so for over 13 years. For over a decade, it’s been 13 years now, I’ve dealt with everything from simple possession of marijuana, all the way to drug crimes that involve the death of individuals through drug trafficking in the State of Florida, including Palm Beach Country, Broward County, Dade County, Martin County, St, Lucie County and even had the trail experience of a Federal Drug Trafficking Case in Boston, Massachusetts that originated in South Florida. West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer, Andrew D. Stine, has trial experience in all illegal drug cases throughout Florida and has won all drug trafficking jury trials, with the exception of one, in his 13 year career.
For more information on Common Types of Drug Cases in Florida, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 561.880.4300 today. Hire Stine or Do The Time!