On misdemeanor cases, judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to Ft. Lauderdale drug sentencing. The maximum penalty for any misdemeanor case is up to a year in the county jail, and frequently one would not see any jail time imposed on a misdemeanor possession of marijuana case. It is typically, fines and court costs. Some education for an individual with a prior history or drug court to get some counseling.

If an individual was not interested in participating in a diversion program or does not qualify, then possibly probation is in their future. If it gets to the point where their prior history is significant, the court can consider placing a conviction or an adjudication on an individual’s record, which in Florida would trigger a suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. If an individual has been charged with a drug crime, they should consult a skilled drug attorney that can attempt to mitigate the severity of the sentence that a person may face.

Sentencing Guidelines

In a felony case, judges are bound by sentencing guidelines. An individual facing felony prosecution would have a score sheet prepared by the prosecutor. It is a function of a particular offense that they are facing currently and their criminal history or lack thereof. Depending upon where the individual’s scores are on the score sheet, it can dictate what the judge is able or not able to do.

If somebody’s scores in the discretionary range, the judge can basically do whatever they want, from probation to the maximum penalty. In a third-degree felony, for example, somebody who scores in the non-discretionary range the court could do as little as probation, county jail, or state prison. For an individual who scores above that threshold into the mandatory range, either based on the nature or the severity of the sentence they are being prosecuted for or their history, the general rule is the judge is bound by the Ft. Lauderdale drug sentencing guideline score sheet. How many points individual scores will dictate what the range of sentence would be.

Motions for Downward Departure

The most common way to get around the sentencing guidelines is a motion for downward departure. An individual could file a motion asking the judge to depart from the presumptive sentence or the standard sentence that is bound on the sentencing guidelines. Usually, it is a result of an individual not having any prior criminal history and that they show remorse for the offense that they are being prosecuted for.

If somebody goes through a diversion program, then Ft. Lauderdale drug sentencing is not an issue, because the result of successful completion of a diversion program is that the prosecution abandons their case. They drop the case. If the case is dropped, an individual is not in a position to be sentenced. Sentencing may result via a negotiated resolution with the prosecutor (assistant state attorney).

Plea Negotiations

If negotiations are not successful, the defendant can invite the judge assigned to the case into plea negotiations to determine what the court would do if placed in a position to impose a sentence. Some judges are willing to do that. If the person cannot negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor, it is called filing or pleading open to the court. Basically, it is bypassing any negotiations with the prosecutor and putting them in a position whereby the judge would impose the sentence that they see that. Another way that Ft. Lauderdale drug sentencing is after a trial. If there is a verdict of guilty, the judge would be in a position to impose sentence. If there is a not guilty verdict, no sentence would be imposed. If an individual wants to know more, they should consult a qualified drug lawyer that can help.

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