Tampa Felony Drug Offense Lawyer
Aggressive Drug Trafficking Lawyer Fighting For You
If you have been arrested and charged with a felony drug offense in Florida, the process probably left you confused and anxiously wondering what is going to happen next. Felony drug offenses can lead to a lengthy prison sentence and substantial fines. It is essential to keep in mind that a criminal charge is not a conviction, but you need an aggressive defense to give yourself the best chance of avoiding the penalties and consequences of a conviction. Contacting a drug possession lawyer at Kinney, Fernandez & Boire gives you access to someone committed to fighting to preserve your rights and freedom.
Felony Drug Offenses vs. Misdemeanor Drug Offenses
Drug offenses can be either felony crimes or misdemeanors. A felony is the most serious type of criminal offense and carries the harshest penalties for a conviction. Misdemeanors are also criminal offenses, but the maximum length of time you could be confined to jail is one year.
The type and quantity of drug are factors in determining whether the offense is a felony or a misdemeanor. For example, possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana, other than marijuana legally possessed for medical purposes, is a first-degree misdemeanor. Possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana not prescribed for medical purposes is a third-degree felony.
Florida classifies drugs according to their potential for abuse and the existence of recognized medical uses for them. Schedule I controlled substances have a high potential for abuse by a user and have no recognized medical uses. Heroin is an example of a drug listed in Schedule I with the most severe penalties reserved offenses involving them. Cocaine, on the other hand, have less strict penalties associated with it because it is a Schedule II substance with a high potential for abuse, but there are recognized medical uses when prescribed by a physician.
Florida felony drug offenses
Florida law makes it a crime to engage in the following activities concerning controlled substances; the term used to describe certain prohibited drugs:
- Possess with intent to sell or distribute
Police and prosecutors use many factors to determine if you should be charged with an offense of felony drug possession with intent to sell as opposed to simple possession. Factors might include the following:
- The seizure of packaging materials along with the drugs.
- The number of drugs in your possession with larger quantities indicating something more than personal use.
- The seizure of scales and other devices associated with the manufacture, sale or delivery of drugs.
- The presence of large amounts of cash or weapons on the person arrested or in the general vicinity.
With a team that includes former prosecutors, the attorneys at Kinney, Fernandez & Boire understand the nuances of drug possession cases. We aggressively defend cases in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, and Pasco counties. We protect clients against illegal search and seizure, warrantless search and our illegal questioning tactics.
Drug Trafficking Offenses
Transporting drugs into the state of Florida is drug trafficking in violation of state law. The severity of the offense depends upon the type of drug brought into the state. Trafficking in Schedule I and II controlled dangerous substances is a felony of the second or third degree. Drugs in Schedules III and IV are felonies of the third degree, and Schedule V drugs are punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Florida law and constructive possession in drug cases
If police find drugs in your jacket pocket or in the backpack you were carrying, you may be deemed to be in possession. Even if the drugs in question were not physically on your person under the Florida concept of constructive possession, you could still be charged.
Constructive possession exists if there is evidence proving you exercised dominion and control over the drugs and had knowledge of their presence. For example, if you are a passenger in a vehicle that is stopped by police who find drugs in it and it is unclear if they belonged to someone, in particular, everyone in the vehicle could be charged with possession.
Constructive possession relies upon the facts and circumstances of each situation. The experienced drug possession lawyers at Kinney, Fernandez & Boire will carefully examine the prosecution claim of constructive possession. We have successfully handled numerous drug possession cases in Florida and understand what is needed to mount a vigorous defense on your behalf.
Penalties for drug offense convictions
Florida law is unique in the number of drug offenses that can be filed as felonies. Depending upon the type and quantity of a drug, a simple marijuana possession can become a felony rather than a misdemeanor offense based upon the amount. The difference in punishment can be significant.
Penalties for drug offenses range from one year in jail for a misdemeanor possession offense to five years in prison for conviction of possession of drugs as a felony of the third degree. A first-degree felony conviction could result in confinement to state prison for up to 30 years and fines as high as $250,000.
What a dedicated Tampa drug trafficking lawyer can do for you
Challenging the evidence is one method an experienced and skilled drug possession lawyer uses to weaken and defeat the prosecution case. For example, police cannot arbitrarily search a person or a vehicle. Absent probable cause to search, any evidence seized by the police could be challenged as a violation of your rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A motion to suppress the evidence could lead to a judge refusing to allow its use by the prosecution to prove you committed the felony drug offense.
Motions to suppress evidence can be equally as effective when used to challenge the use of statements you might have made to police. Prosecutors may attempt to use your statements to prove your possession of a drug was with the intent to sell. The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution protect you from interrogation by law enforcement unless specific procedures are followed.
Contact a drug defense lawyer today
Felony drug offenses are severe cases, and facing this type of charge can be incredibly worrisome. Your attorney should carefully investigate the facts of your case, interview witnesses and uncover any potential errors or mistakes that were made during your arrest. The experienced drug possession lawyers at Kinney, Fernandez & Boire have the skills, knowledge, and commitment to develop an aggressive defense strategy designed to obtain the most favorable result for you. Contact our drug trafficking lawyer today and schedule your consultation.
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We would be glad to meet you in person at our Tampa, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Wesley Chapel, Plant City or Riverview offices or at any location that is convenient for you.