In Fort Lauderdale, there are two classifications of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. The overwhelming majority of drug-related offenses in Fort Lauderdale are felonies. The only ones that are misdemeanors are misdemeanor possessions of cannabis or marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
To best understand the classification of drug charges in Fort Lauderdale and what you are being charged with, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced drug lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can build a robust defense and guide you through the entirety of the legal process.
Determining the Level of Offense
Determining the level of felony drug-related offenses in Fort Lauderdale depends on the type of drug, the amount of drug, and whether it is possession. Possession with intent to deliver or distribute, distribution, sale, deliberate, trafficking, or conspiracy will dictate what level of felony it is.
There are three levels of felonies: third degree, second degree, or first degree. It is not necessarily an expectation, in general, it is dictated based on the facts and circumstances of each particular case. The type of drug, the amount of drug involved, and what was happening with respect to that drug is mostly used to determine the drug charges an individual is facing in Ft Lauderdale.
With the exception of certain misdemeanors, unfortunately, when somebody is accused by law enforcement of any drug related offense, then it is most often a felony. They should expect an arrest in most cases and should expect the ability to bond out or post bail and get out of jail. The majority of cases are filed by the state attorney’s office and prosecuted in court in Fort Lauderdale.
Further, an individual should expect a vigorous and strong prosecution by the state attorney’s office in Fort Lauderdale, which is the reason that the individual should also have a strong and vigorous defense against those charges.
Typically, after charges are filed, the individual would face an arraignment in front of the judge where the charges are read or explained to them. An attorney can waive that, which is called a waiving of formal reading. This occurs on a regular basis.
In this scenario, the attorney can tell the court that they have educated or informed the client as to what the charges are. The client does not need to be seen standing up in front of a judge to have the charges read to them. It is sometimes a stressful and embarrassing situation. The local rules in Fort Lauderdale give an attorney the ability to waive that and file a document saying that they have explained the charges to our clients.
At the arraignment for a Ft Lauderdale drug charge, an individual should enter a plea of not guilty. The first thing that an attorney would do is to see what they could do to avoid charges in the first place by reaching out to the prosecutor in the state attorney’s office to try to convince them not to file charges. If that does not work, they will file the least possible charge available to them.
First and foremost, there are many diversion programs for certain drug-related offenses in Ft Lauderdale that might be available to a first time offender. Even if there are prior offenses on an individual’s record, they still might be eligible for certain diversion programs for a drug charge on a misdemeanor level in Fort Lauderdale. It is called the misdemeanor diversion program.