Drug charges can cover a wide range of different types of offenses, some of which are simple misdemeanors with minimal consequences, and could even potentially be Sealed or Expunged off of your record. On the other hand, there is also a wide range of offenses that are classified as Felonies.
Simple possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia are the most common type of Drug related Charge. Possession of Marijuana or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia are the most commonly seen cases and depending on your criminal record, can be dealt with rather quickly.
However, depending on the type of substance you allegedly possessed; Drugs like Cocaine, Heroin, MDMA, Alprazolam, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone carry Felony Penalties and are treated very seriously by the Courts and the State Attorney’s Office. You have to take your case equally if not more seriously as well and arm yourself with the best defense possible. Grant Schwarz is a former prosecutor and knows the system and how to defend against any and all Drug Related Felonies.
Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney
The most serious offenses involving Drugs do not just depend on the type of drug possessed, but the manner in which you possessed:
- Possession of Drugs with the intent to sell or deliver
- Manufacturing Drugs or;
- Trafficking in Narcotics
These offenses carry the most serious penalties as it relates to Drug Offenses. Some of these charges carry heavy fines of up to $500,000.00 and minimum mandatory prison sentences of 25 years in Florida State Prison. Make no mistake, Flony Drug Offenses are prosecuted by experienced and aggressive State Attorney’s. To protect your rights and potentially save your life, contact Grant Schwarz, former prosecutor who knows the system and knows the defenses that work!
Whatever drug charges you may be facing, getting a lawyer on your side very early in the criminal justice process could mean the difference between a misdemeanor or felony charge, and ultimately a not guilty verdict or a conviction. There are several defense strategies for a defendant charged with a drug crime. You want to speak to and hire an attorney with years of courtroom experience dealing with these types of cases to help you build your best defense possible to fight your case.
Possible Defenses to Drug Charges:
Police commonly arrest those in possession of medications such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Xanax and/or Valium to name a few. It is a defense to the charge of Possession if at the time you were arrested you had a valid prescription for the controlled substance. However, the manner in which you were in possession of the prescription medication will be closely examined.
Examples: Your prescription but not in the Rx bottle, your prescription but the pills don’t match the description on the bottle they were in, you are a caretaker and carrying medication belonging to another. There are many circumstances which could result in a dismissal, each case is different so it is important that you review the facts of your particular case with an experienced attorney like Grant Schwarz.
If the cannabis was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Possession of Marijuana:
- Knowledge of the cannabis’ presence;
- Dominion and control over the cannabis.
Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Possession of Marijuana.
Scenario 1: You borrowed your friend’s car and got stopped by a police officer. The police officer pulls you out of the car and finds cannabis locked in the glove compartment. Unless you admit to knowing the cannabis was in the glove compartment, the police and the State will not be able to convict you of Possession of Cannabis. Always remain silent whenever confronted with a situation like this.
Scenario 2: You and some friend are in a car together. You are driving, and the people in the back seat start smoking cannabis. Your car is pulled over and the officer tells everyone to get out of the car. The police and the State Attorney will not be able to convict you of Possession of Cannabis unless the officer saw you holding the Cannabis. It is very hard for the State to argue that you could exercise dominion and control over something that is being used by someone in the back seat.
Illegal Search and Seizure
There are many common legal defenses in Florida, which can be used to fight against a Possession of Marijuana charge. Some of these include lack of probable cause, lack of reasonable suspicion, improperly executed search warrants, lack of consent to search, invalid third party consent for a search, absence of a warrant, mistake of law, failure to read Miranda rights, and any other form of unlawful police conduct.
Law enforcement officers tend to get a little out of control when it comes to searching a person, vehicle or home. Police often go beyond their legal authority to search, or worse, force or coerce people to submit to these otherwise impermissible searches. This type of over-zealous police behavior usually leads to the discovery of drugs, guns or other contraband, which the police and State Attorney tries to use against you in court.
If we can prove that any of these things happened in your case, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence because the police violated the law in order to obtain it.
This is accomplished through the filing of a properly written Motion to Suppress Evidence. If a Motion to Suppress is granted, the result is the removal of evidence the State Attorney otherwise planned to use against you at trial. Many times, evidence that has been suppressed was so important to the State’s case that any attempt at prosecution becomes impossible. When this happens, the State has no choice but to drop the charges.
Lack of Knowledge
It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Possession of Marijuana if it can be proven that you did not know the substance in your possession was cannabis. This defense requires that you testify at a motion to dismiss hearing, or even at trial. Deciding whether to testify during a hearing or at trial is something that must be fully discussed with an experienced possession of cannabis attorney. Testifying at trial will expose you to cross-examination and can seriously effect the outcome of your case.
893.101 Legislative findings and intent.
The Legislature finds that the cases of Scott v. State, Slip Opinion No. SC94701 (Fla. 2002) and Chicone v. State, 684 So.2d 736 (Fla. 1996), holding that the state must prove that the defendant knew of the illicit nature of a controlled substance found in his or her actual or constructive possession, were contrary to legislative intent.
The Legislature finds that knowledge of the illicit nature of a controlled substance is not an element of any offense under this chapter. Lack of knowledge of the illicit nature of a controlled substance is an affirmative defense to the offenses of this chapter.
In those instances in which a defendant asserts the affirmative defense described in this section, the possession of a controlled substance, whether actual or constructive, shall give rise to a permissive presumption that the possessor knew of the illicit nature of the substance. It is the intent of the Legislature that, in those cases where such an affirmative defense is raised, the jury shall be instructed on the permissive presumption provided in this subsection.
A person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose that needs medical assistance, or a person assisting the person that needs medical assistance, is immune from prosecution for Possession of Marijuana if it can be shown the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical assistance.
893.21 Drug-related overdoses; medical assistance; immunity from prosecution.
A person acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose may not be charged, prosecuted, or penalized pursuant to this chapter for possession of a controlled substance if the evidence for possession of a controlled substance was obtained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance.
A person who experiences a drug-related overdose and is in need of medical assistance may not be charged, prosecuted, or penalized pursuant to this chapter for possession of a controlled substance if the evidence for possession of a controlled substance was obtained as a result of the overdose and the need for medical assistance.
Protection in this section from prosecution for possession offenses under this chapter may not be grounds for suppression of evidence in other criminal prosecutions.
Contact a Broward County, Miami, and Palm Beach Drug Trafficking Attorney
The Office of Dell & Schaefer has been representing criminal defense clients since 1979. Lead Attorney Grant Schwarz is rated 10.0 out of 10.0 Superb on Avvo.com and ready to take your case on and start fighting to defend your rights today. Call our office for a free consultation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including weekends and holidays. The earlier you contact a Broward, Palm Beach and Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer the better. Call Grant Schwarz to start telling your side of the story. Call 800-403-3887 or email at Grant@dnslaw.com