Drug Possession Defenses
The amount and packaging of drugs should be investigated by defending a drug possession attorney.West Fort Lauderdale Drug Possession Attorney Explains Sale or Delivery
Florida has strict laws for all crimes related with drugs or controlled substances. Delivery of drugs charge has much more severe consequences than possession of drugs. However, a person can be charged with a delivery of drugs charge, even when he or she is not actually caught delivering. By the mere possession of a certain amount of drugs, Florida law deems the person having intent to sell and may charge them with trafficking.
“When it comes to prescription drugs, the state weighs the entire pill in calculating amount possessed.” –The Broward Criminal Lawyer Magazine
Severity of Charges Based on Drug Quantity
Florida law has fixed certain quantities for different street drugs and prescription medicines that determine whether the charges are for mere possession or for possession with intent to sell. When the quantity of drugs found in possession or in control of the person, is in excess of this legally fixed limit, then the law automatically assumes the person having an intention to sell and deliver the drugs.
Florida law also has fixed another higher level of quantity for drugs and prescription medicines, which implies drug trafficking charge. The penalties for drug trafficking is much more severe than “possession with intent to sell” charges.
“These offenses can reach mandatory sentences of 25 years in prison.” -South Florida Drug Possession Attorney William Moore
Secondly, Florida law also considers (in conjunction with other facts) the way drugs in the possession or control of the person was packaged or bagged. Hence, even if the quantity was within the limits of a mere possession charge, but the drug was packaged into several packets, it would mean the drugs were meant for sale, and the charges can escalate from mere possession to delivery charge. This would mean that even if the person possesses drugs for personal consumption, he or she could be charged as having the intent to sell, and face severe sentences on conviction.
Tried for Higher Charges
This is quite commonly seen in cases involving possession of marijuana. Since marijuana is available cheaper in small packages, people tend to buy several packets at one time. It they are caught with several of these packets, it is quite easy for law enforcement officers to assume it was meant for sale. This may lead to a more scrutinized investigation or interrogation. According to Florida law, if a person is found to possess or control less than 20 grams of marijuana, then it is considered mere possession, which is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable with up to one year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine. –Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Practices & Procedure.
However, if the person possesses say 16 grams of marijuana that is divided into eight packets of 2 grams each, then it could be taken to be a higher charge of possession of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver. This is considered third degree felony charge punishable with up to $5,000 fine, up to five years jail time, or a combination of these two penalties. Apart from these penalties, the law also revokes the driving license of the accused for two years.
Even though the third degree felony charge is reserved for possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, it can be applied to a person possessing less than 20 grams, if the quantity is divided into several packets. The defense will then have to provide mitigating evidence to prove that there was no intention for selling or delivering the drugs and were meant only for personal use.Defenses according to The Broward Criminal Lawyer Online Magazine
Law enforcement officers often conduct searches or pose as buyers to catch people on drug charges. However, evidence gathered by law enforcement agencies can be suppressed by the defense, by proving that the search was illegal. When the law enforcement officer undertakes a search without having reasonable grounds for conducting such a search, the evidence gathered from such a search can be considered illegal and therefore cannot be presented at trial. Additionally, if the defendant had not given consent for a search and the evidence was unlawfully obtained, the evidence cannot be presented at trial.
“Never say that it can’t be used against you in trial. The defense attorney must first file and argue an appropriate motion to suppress.”