If you are convicted of a drug offense, you could end up facing heavy penalties and spending a significant amount of time in jail if convicted. After your release, it may still be difficult to secure employment or housing with a criminal record.
If you are currently facing drug charges, you may benefit from reaching out to a Lake Worth drug lawyer about your right to a legal defense. No one should have to represent themselves in court, and a dedicated defense attorney from our team at Leifert & Leifert could work tirelessly to protect your best interests and achieve an optimal result under the circumstances.
What Defines Drug Possession?
The legal system in Florida takes drug charges very seriously. One of the most common criminal offenses Lake Worth residents are charged with is drug possession, and conviction on this charge could lead to jail time, legal fines, post-release supervision, and other forms of restitution.
To prove you are guilty of drug possession, a Prosecutor must establish that:
- The substance in question is prohibited
- The Defendant was in possession of the substance
- The Defendant was aware of the existence of the substance
- The amount of substance is illegal
It is also important to note that you can be charged with drug possession even if you do not have the drug in question on your physical person. For example, if you were accompanying someone who is in possession of a drug, you could still be charged with a crime if the Court believes you intended to use the drug in question. An experienced drug lawyer could further explain the nuances of drugs laws applicable to Lake Worth.
Legal Classifications of Drugs
Not all drugs are viewed equally by the Florida State Government. Therefore, each drug carries a specific set of penalties. For example, marijuana is usually prosecuted differently than most other drugs, although its possession and use remain strictly prohibited in Florida throughout most of the country. Beyond this, it is also illegal to possess certain legal drugs without a valid prescription from a medical professional.
To formalize this difference in drug severity, Florida state law places all prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs into schedules. More dangerous drugs, such as crystal meth and crack-cocaine, are placed into lower schedules. As such, those charged with possessing or distributing lower-schedule drugs typically face harsher penalties than those who possess marijuana or less dangerous drugs.
Distribution and Trafficking Charges in Lake Worth
Generally, Florida Courts punish individuals who intend to distribute a drug to others more harshly than they punish those who intend to use a drug personally. Although this is meant to discourage drug traffickers and dealers from committing illegal acts, Prosecutors may attempt to prove that a defendant intended to sell or distribute a drug even if they only possessed drugs for their own use. Often, members of law enforcement actively look for evidence such as large quantities of the drug, cash, scales and bags for measurement and distribution, and testimony from witnesses.
Penalties for a distribution or trafficking conviction can be severe. For example, pursuant to Florida Statutes §893.135, a first-degree felony charge for drug trafficking could result in a fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years. Beyond this, penalties may increase for those who intend to sell or distribute drugs in certain locations, such as near schools or government property.
Individuals charged with distributing drugs in multiple states may also face Federal drug trafficking charges, which are usually more serious than Florida state charges. A Lake Worth drug lawyer could help you understand the potential charges you face and how you might best defend yourself.
How a Lake Worth Drug Attorney Could Help
Facing drug charges can be a frightening experience, and you may feel overwhelmed and forced to act quickly. A seasoned Lake Worth drug lawyer could help you slow down and consider your legal options.
The legal arena can be tricky, and our Leifert & Leifert team members know how to navigate its complexities. To schedule your free consultation and initial case review, call today.