Drugs are treated extremely seriously in Fort Lauderdale and as a result drug penalties tend to be harsher than some other places in the country, especially regarding the more serious drug related cases such as drug trafficking, importation, and smuggling. With this in mind, anyone accused of a drug related offense should take their charge seriously and seek the assistance of a Ft. Lauderdale drug lawyer to learn more about what charges and penalties might look like, and what can be done to defend against them.
Severity of Penalties
There are a wide range of drug penalties that someone may face depending on what the specific crime is. Simple possession could be a misdemeanor. Marijuana under 20 grams, for example, is a simple possession case which would be a misdemeanor, a lower level drug-related crime in Fort Lauderdale. At the lower level, if the individual does not have any prior criminal history, they can expect resolutions that vary from Diversion Programs, Pretrial Intervention, and Drug Courts – which would all end in dismissal.
Crimes that fall under the drug trafficking umbrella can carry minimum mandatory Florida State Prison sentences. It depends on the facts and circumstances of each case, whether it falls under the category of a simple possession case versus a drug trafficking case. In between those categories are possession with intent to distribute, intent to deliver, and the sale.
Under those particular offenses, the type of drug and the quantity, the person’s criminal history or lack thereof, and the particular facts and circumstances of each case would dictate the potential outcome. Factors like whether or not the drug crime involved the exposure to minor school children or was conducted in or around a church or religious facility also go into how harsh the Ft. Lauderdale drug penalty is.
Impact of Repeat Offenses
How the severity of the potential penalties changes between first time and repeat offenses would depend upon the person’s criminal record itself. For example, a person could qualify for the Pretrial Intervention Program, which could result in the case being dismissed or dropped, if they were never arrested before and charged with possession of cocaine under half a gram.
A person who has come back to court four or five times for the same charge would not be considered for the program. With first and even second time offenders with simple possession, the courts tend to be more sensitive and look for treatment options. If they do not work and the person comes back with another charge, the court and prosecutors are more punitive depending on the defendant’s history.
Punitive sanctions come into play when there is somebody who is involved in the economics of these types of cases. For example, a case that involves the business of the sale, delivery, manufacturing, or the larger operations with drug trafficking, would be treated harsher than one involving possession or recreational use.
The following factors influence a drug penalty in Ft. Lauderdale:
- Quantity of the drug
- Schedule of the drug
- Crime committed
- Criminal history
- Location of crime (whether it is near a school, a daycare, a religious building)
Quantity could mean the difference between a possession case and a trafficking case. What schedule a drug is dictates the severity or the degree of the offense, whether it is Schedule I versus Schedule V, for example. The factors can weigh harsher or lesser penalties depending on what the case entails.
Hiring a Lawyer
A drug lawyer can help you understand how a court will perceive a drug offense and what Ft. Lauderdale drug penalties will occur. Contact an experienced attorney today.