When Does A Drug Case Become A Federal Issue?
Usually, Florida state drug cases that originate here become federal crimes when the quantity is very substantial. We’re talking more than 2 kilos of cocaine or other drugs being moved in and out of the state of Florida across jurisdictional lines.
When the amount of Oxycodone or illegal drugs like steroids without prescription, any prescribed drug without a prescription when the quantity is large, it’s being moved in and out of the jurisdiction or whenever there’s a large amount of money associated with it and whenever there’s money laundering associated with it. As an example, say an individual takes drugs from Florida up to Boston, $100,000 is placed in a Bank of America account in Boston, and somebody in Florida withdraws that money.
When those types of issues including large quantities, large amounts of money, possible deaths outside of the jurisdiction of Florida where somebody uses the illegal drugs causing their untimely death, those cases will many times become federal.
Another common situation is when there’s any Medicaid or Medicare insurance fraud involving a doctor or a medical care professional is in fact providing a prescription drug illegally because the individuals don’t necessarily need it, or there is reason to believe that the individuals were receiving the drugs or receiving high quantities and are then distributing the drugs.
Whenever there is an insurance or Medicaid, Medicare payment made from the federal government or from insurance companies to those doctors, that’s when we see the drug crimes go federal. That’s an overview of when we see them go from the state to the federal level.
How Much Marijuana Must One Possess To Be Charged With A Felony Vs. A Misdemeanor?
If you are in actual possession, like you are wearing a pair of pants and the marijuana is found in the pocket or you have a jacket on and it’s found in the jacket, if you have 20 grams or less, it’s a misdemeanor. If it’s your first time offense, in 100 percent of the cases that I’ve handled for over a decade, I’ve gotten every one of those cases dismissed and the case Nolle prossed, which is dismissed or the state abandons the case or the charges. I do that through my roadmap to success. I have the individual do a few things:
- I have them immediately do a drug course.
- I have them do community service hours.
- I have them get a quick evaluation to see if there’s any drug or alcohol problems and follow any recommended treatment.
After they complete all those things, I present that to the state’s attorney’s office and then the individual usually pays a fee of $50 and the case is dismissed. That usually takes about 90 days.
If the individual is in actual possession of more than 20 grams, then it’s considered a felony. Depending on how it’s packaged, if it’s just a big bulge of marijuana, then they’ll just charge the crime and proceed on a felony possession of marijuana.
Those individuals do face jail time, however with an experienced criminal defense attorney like myself, there are many different other ways to provide that person with a legal sentence other than jail time. It can include drug treatment and/or probation. It could also include looking at the case and the facts to see if they were properly stopped, read their Miranda rights, and if they were properly searched and the facts that led up to the stopping of the individual and the retrieval of the more than 20 grams of marijuana constitutionally permitted so that the evidence is valid.
If it can’t, then it’s considered fruit of the poisonous tree, if they can’t put forth the drugs into evidence, then obviously you didn’t possess, for the purposes of the court hearing, the marijuana more than 20 grams which is a felony and therefore the case will eventually go away.
There are many ways to look at whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor. Another area of concern is if you have more than 20 grams of marijuana in actual possession and the marijuana is packaged in smaller bags which the State of Florida considers for a resale.
If you’re in possession of more than 20, it’s in 4 or 5 different baggies and you may have some denomination of money on you in tens and twenties, the state of Florida will consider that the individual is circumstantially selling the drugs.
Even if they don’t see a hand-to-hand transaction, they don’t have a recorded phone call between the person accused and an informant or a purchaser or a buyer of the drugs, they will consider the facts that the drugs are individually packaged in smaller quantities, the denomination and sometimes the location, a high drug area, to believe that the person is in possession with the intent to sell, and that can get you in a possession when you’re accused of a marijuana crime over 20 grams, whereby you could be looking at state jail time.
For more information on When Drug Cases Becoming Federal Issues, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 561.880.4300 today.