Florida drug threat assessments show that the percentage of drug-related federal sentences vis-à-vis other crimes in Florida is higher than the national average. And in Florida’s prisons, drug offenses account for the largest segment of incarcerated persons. There’s no escaping it, Florida has an ongoing drug problem.
Penalties for drug offenses vary with the type of controlled substance that’s recovered, the quantity of the material found, whether the nature of the crime is possession or distribution, whether there are children or weapons involved, and whether the defendant has prior convictions.
A case in point
Recently, a jury in Pensacola found a man guilty of drug trafficking and other charges.
Because the man had prior convictions for violent and drug-related felonies, this individual faces mandatory enhanced sentences, such as 10 years to life imprisonment, and various fines from $250,000 up to $10,000,000.
Every case is different, and there are a variety of defenses available to beat or otherwise mitigate a negative outcome. These include:
- Search and seizure challenges: If authorities didn’t have a warrant or an equivalent good reason to search your person or property, evidence can be thrown out at trial.
- The drugs were not yours: There may be reasonable doubt that the drugs found were yours or that you had knowledge of them.
- Crime lab analysis: Your attorney can challenge the integrity of the report that’s done to verify the nature of the controlled substance.
- Chain of custody issues: This is a challenge to police procedural activity. Significant errors may weaken their case.
- Entrapment: Overzealous undercover agents may induce an individual to commit a crime they otherwise would not have.
- Medical marijuana: If you have a valid prescription from a medical professional, then possession will not be deemed an offense.
There are a wide range of drug charges, all with substantial ramifications. If you’re facing drug-related charges of any sort, it’s essential to consult as soon as possible with skilled counsel experienced in this area of the law.