Drug Possession Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Discuss Your Options with Our Drug Crime Attorneys
While many individuals think simple possession of an illegal substance is no big deal- think again. Florida is known for its tough stance on drug possession. Possession means to "have personal charge of or to exercise the right of ownership, management or control" over a substance.
In recent news was Florida's drug possession statute that forces individuals who say they didn't know they were breaking the law to prove it, or to be presumed guilty. This law is extremely harsh, considering that at least 48 other states require prosecutors to convince a jury that the defendant knew he/she was carrying illegal drugs.
While prosecutors must prove that defendants knew they were in possession of something, they don't have to prove that the defendant knew that substance was illegal. All that is needed to prove a possession charge is that the defendant possessed a certain substance, the substance was a controlled substance and the defendant had knowledge of the presence of the substance. You could be charged with possession of drugs if drugs were found on your body, or if they were found in your house, car or locker. The second scenario is known as "constructive possession," in other words, a controlled substance was found in a place over which you have control.
Penalties for Drug Possession
Possession of drugs charges can result in severe penalties, whether you were in possession of marijuana or cocaine. If you were found in possession of marijuana, an amount under 20 grams will result in a first-degree misdemeanor. This, in turn, carries a fine up to $1,000 and a sentence up to one year in jail. Amounts over 20 grams can result in a third-degree felony, which comes with a fine up to $5,000 and a sentence up to five years in jail. Any misdemeanor drug possession conviction for marijuana possession can result in a driver's license suspension for up to two years.
What about more dangerous drugs? If you were found in possession of heroin, cocaine, or ecstasy, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. If you possess more than 10 grams of heroin or another Schedule 1 drug, you could be charged with a first-degree felony which is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and 15 years in jail. If you are caught possessing LSD, you could face anywhere from five years in jail to 30 years, depending on the amount you were in possession of.
Having a drug possession conviction on your criminal record can destroy your career options and your future. But if you secure our legal services, you might have a chance at combating these charges!
If you have been charged with possession of drugs, a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney at our firm can file any relevant motions to suppress. If any evidence being used against you was obtained illegally, this evidence cannot be presented in court and must be thrown out.
Other defenses that could be used include:
- Drugs belonged to another person
- The substance isn't actually a controlled substance (crime lab analysis)
- Lack of evidence (missing drugs)
- Duress or coercion- you were forced to possess the drugs for someone else
- Drugs were planted
- Entrapment- officers induced you to commit the crime (in the sting operation, did the officers provide the drugs in question?)
Also, some counties in Florida have drug courts that are not focused on criminal punishment, but treatment. In the event of a conviction, our firm can help determine whether you might be eligible for alternative sentencing.
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Whether drugs were found on you or in your house, whether you were in possession of cocaine or marijuana, and whether you knew about it or not- the same truth pertains to all drug offenders, you need criminal defense on your side immediately.
Don't allow your life to be affected long-term by a devastating drug crime conviction, fight your charges with the help of a Fort Lauderdale drug crime attorney from Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today! Contact us for the representation you deserve on your side!