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Drug Crimes

Drug charges cover a broad range of offenses from misdemeanor possession to felony drug trafficking. These offenses can result in a wide range of potential criminal and administrative consequences, including jail/prison, probation, property forfeiture and driver’s license suspension to name a few.

Drug Possession

Drug possession is charged when a person has a small quantity of an illegal or prescription drug on their person, in their vehicle, personal items, or home. Possession of cannabis less than 20 grams is the only drug possession crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor. All other drug possession charge are felonies.

It is very important to have an experienced Fort Lauderdale drug possession attorney handling your drug possession case. Any conviction for a drug possession will result in having your driver’s license suspended for 2 years.

Fighting A Drug Possession Charge

Defenses to drug charge can range from taking the case to trial to arguing a motion to suppress. Most drug cases involve some form of a search and seizure by the police. Many times, the officers pull over a vehicle for a traffic infraction and find drugs either in the vehicle or on the defendant’s person.

The 4th Amendment

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. In drug cases, the legality of how the drugs were found is one of the best defenses to a drug possession. If the officers violated the Constitution, meaning they found the drugs improperly, then the evidence cannot be used in court. Without this evidence, the state generally cannot prove the charges, and eventually have to dismiss the case.

An officer may only search your vehicle when they have either consent to search or based upon probable cause. If the officer does not have either consent or probable cause, then the search should be deemed invalid and all evidence gathered from the search should be suppressed.

David Sobel is experienced in examining these situations and determining if the police were authorized to search for drugs. There are many nuisances in 4th amendment law, and an experienced Ft Lauderdale drug possession lawyer who will take the time to look at every fact sometime is the difference between a dismissal and a conviction.

Constructive Possession

Often times, drugs are found near a defendant instead of actually in the physical possession of the defendant. This is known as “constructive possession.” In many cases, drugs are found in a car or in a home but not actually on any person. Often, in these cases, the police will arrest and charge the occupants of the car/home with constructive possession of the drugs that were found.

To establish constructive possession, the state must show that the defendant exercised both dominion and control over the drugs. It is not enough for the state to show that the defendant was near the drugs to establish constructive possession. Many of these types of cases can be fought before charges are even formally filed against the defendant. It is imperative to contact Mr. Sobel as soon as you are arrested. Time is of the essence in these cases.

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is a major crime in Florida. The police aggressively investigate and pursue defendants in these types of cases. In many drug trafficking cases, there is no sale/deliver or smuggling of drugs, because in Florida, drug trafficking charges are based upon the weight of the drugs that the person possesses.

The sentencing guidelines for drug trafficking charges are harsh and severe. Drug trafficking is a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in Florida State Prison. All drug trafficking charges carry some form of a minimum mandatory prison sentence ranging from 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, depending on the type of drug and the weight of the drugs..

Drug Trafficking Details

893.135: Trafficking, mandatory sentences; suspension or reduction of sentences; conspiracy to engage in trafficking:

Cannabis (the following represent “Trafficking in cannabis”, all of which are First Degree Felony Charges):

Charge and Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • In excess of 25 but less than 2,000 pounds or 300 or ore cannabis plants
    » 3 Years + $25,000 fine
  • 2,000 pounds but less than 10,000 pounds or is 2,000 or more cannabis plants
    » 7 Years + $50,000 fine
  • 10,000 pounds or more or is 10,000 or more cannabis plants
    » 15 Years + $200,000 fine

Cocaine (the following represent “Trafficking in cocaine”, all of which are First Degree Felony Charges):

Charge and Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams
    » 3 Years + $25,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams
    » 7 Years + $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms
    » 15 Years + $250,000 fine

Heroin (the following represent “Trafficking in heroin”, all of which are First Degree Felony Charges):

Charge and Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams
    » 3 Years + $50,000 fine
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams
    » 15 Years + $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms
    » 25 Years + $500,000 fine