Illegal drug activity is an entrenched problem in Florida, forcing law enforcement officers to devote a lot of resources to stamping out the trade in illegal drugs. Prosecutors may take a hard line on plea deals for drug offenses, and convictions carry long prison sentences. As a result, you could face serious trouble if you have been arrested on drug charges.
However, it might be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed, and if not, there are strategies that could reduce the severity of the sentence you face. In some cases, it could be possible to enroll in a supervised treatment or rehabilitation program as an alternative to resolving the case through the criminal justice system. One of our experienced Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert familiar with drug cases could determine how to proceed in your case to secure an outcome that is favorable under the circumstances. To get started on your case, reach out to a Loxahatchee drug defense Lawyer today.
Factors that Could Impact a Drug Case
The laws concerning drug-related activities are complex. Drug-related offenses can be Misdemeanors, but many are Felonies. Many factors determine the seriousness of a drug offense and these various factors impact each other.
A Prosecutor will look at each arrest and usually will bring the most serious charges possible, even if they do not have a strong case for them. Prosecutors do this to intimidate the defendant and to give themselves leverage in plea bargain negotiations. An Attorney could cut through the posturing and force a Prosecutor to bring a charge that is aligned with the provable facts of the case.
Some of the factors that contribute to the severity of the offense include:
- The type of illegal drug
- The quantity drugs law enforcement found
- Where the arrest occurred—harsher charges result if drug crimes occur near schools or child-care centers
- Whether the defendant has a criminal history
- Whether the defendant is a drug user
Possible Penalties Following a Drug Conviction
As explained above, the potential penalties for drug crimes vary depending on the identity of the drug and the amount the police recovered. However, possessing over 20 grams of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, or methamphetamine in small amounts that indicate it is for personal use could lead to a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.
When someone has larger quantities, the law assumes that the person is selling, trafficking, or manufacturing illegal drugs. These crimes generally carry three-year terms of imprisonment as a minimum sentence, as well as hefty fines. Depending on other factors, including the defendant’s criminal history, the quantities involved, and many other potentially aggravating factors, prison terms that last decades are possible. An Attorney familiar with local drug cases could present viable arguments against imposing the harshest sentence on a particular defendant.
Options to Avoid Prison
Florida Statutes §397.334 allows a defendant who uses illegal drugs and has pending charges for certain drug-related Misdemeanors or Felonies to enroll in Drug Court. Even people with long criminal histories could potentially qualify for Drug Court, as long as they have no history of violent crimes or evidence of selling or trafficking in drugs.
Charges are dropped when a person graduates from the Drug Court program. While enrolled in the program the person is not incarcerated, their driver’s license remains valid, and they can continue their regular employment.
Pre-Trial Intervention Program
Some first-time Felony offenders could participate in a Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI). These programs provide defendants with counseling, education, supervision, and other necessary services for one year prior to their trial. If the defendant completes the program successfully, charges are dismissed. Individuals charged in the local area who wish to avoid a prison sentence should speak with a drug Attorney for more insight regarding intervention programs.
Speak with a Loxahatchee Drug Attorney Today
Arresting drug offenders and prosecuting drug crimes is a priority in the local area. If you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime, you could be facing devastating consequences.
The smartest thing you can do now is team up with an experienced criminal defense Lawyer. A legal professional at Leifert & Leifert experienced in defending drug crimes could advise about the options most likely to achieve a positive result in your specific circumstances. Call right away to discuss your case with a Loxahatchee drug Lawyer.