What Diversion Programs Are Available To Drug Offenders In Florida?
There are many diversion programs in Florida. One is pre-trial intervention, whereby if it’s a third degree felony or less like a misdemeanor and the individual has not been adjudicated guilty or has pled guilty or found guilty to any other crimes, they may be considered for pretrial intervention.
Pretrial intervention is a contract between the defendant and the state of Florida; the prosecutor’s office whereby if they follow strict requirements, usually stuff like getting a drug evaluation, random testing at their expense, negative drug testing obviously, their urine or their blood is tested and it comes back negative. Paying a small monetary monthly fee to be monitored, providing community service hours and other type of punishments. The case will eventually be Nolle prossed or dismissed by the state of Florida.
There is also something called the Plea and Pass in the state of Florida which serves much like pre-trial intervention (PTI). The plea and pass allows for many first time offenders to enter into an agreement with the state not ratified by the court whereby they do similar type of punishments and at the end of the prescribed time, which is usually 12 months or less, the case is Nolle prossed or dismissed by the state. In Palm Beach County and reciprocal counties, there are certain courts that deal with first time drug offenders and that’s called drug court.
If the offender admits to having a drug problem by using illegal drugs, they will enter into a program at drug court and undergo AA or NA classes, get a drug evaluation, follow any recommended treatment, random testing, or it could be impatient care followed by outpatient care, community service hours and paying a monthly fee that will be used to evaluate the individual. If they follow all of those prescribed conditions, the case will then be Nolle prossed or dismissed by the state of Florida.
There are several options for first time offenders and for individuals who in fact have a drug problem and are willing to admit to it and are willing to get the appropriate treatment to get the case dismissed.
What Role Does Illegal or Warrantless Search and Seizure Play in a Drug Case?
The most important thing with illegal search and seizures regarding warrants is that it’s controlled by the 4th amendment of the United States constitution and by the Florida constitution. The most important thing is the affidavit of search. What information that law enforcement officers have that they provided in the affidavit of the search that a judge or neutral magistrate signed off on allowing law enforcement officers to search a certain location.
In that affidavit, many times it is vague or doesn’t contain enough information to validate the search of the property where drugs were allegedly found. In order for law enforcement to properly gain a search warrant, they need to allege in the search warrant that they have provided information to the neutral magistrate or the judge that describes the person or things to be seized and how they particularly got that information through description.
For instance, they may use a confidential informant who went to a certain location and purchased drugs from an individual at that location specifically claimed in the search warrant, or they may use stuff or investigative tools like garbage pools where they go actually by and they pull garbage from a location and find remnants or signs of drugs being manufactured, distributed, sold at that location.
They may find small clear baggies, used vials or syringes, and then test those baggies, vials or syringes and find out that the test come back to an illegal substance like cocaine or heroin or even a prescribed drug such as steroids or Xanax whereby that location’s not a pharmacy or a medical provider. There are a lot of different ways that they can properly get a search warrant but in many times, it has to be particularly scrutinized the affidavit of search to make sure that it’s protected by the 4th amendment and that the procedures were followed so that the warrant in fact is valid.
If the warrant’s invalid, a motion to suppress is filed alleging that the search warrant and the affidavit is invalid. At that point, what happens is you file a motion to suppress and after filing the motion to suppress, the judge sets it for a hearing and the burden switches or shifts to the state attorney or the United States attorney or to the prosecutor.
What happens then is that the judge will make a determination as to whether or not the search warrant failed to properly described the persons or things to be searched and seized on its face, the four corners of the warrant, and if it is found that the search warrant is invalid, then the fruits of the poisonous tree, the contraband, the illegal drugs will then be suppressed and cannot be used at trial.
For more information on Diversion Programs for Drug Offenders, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 561.880.4300 today.