Miami Drug Crime Defense Attorney
Arrested? Get a former prosecutor on your side.
Florida is subject to some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. Because of the state’s location, local and state law enforcement implement particularly stringent penalties for activity that could be connected to importing drugs into the U.S., such as drug trafficking, distribution, and sales. If you were arrested or a drug-related crime or are under investigation, speak with a Miami drug crime defense lawyer from Parks & Braxton, PA today. We have more than 40 years of legal experience; let us use it to help you avoid the consequences of a serious conviction.
Reasons to choose Parks & Braxton, PA
- We are ready to help our clients at any time, 24 / 7
- With experience in prosecution, we know how the other side thinks
- Our attorneys have been featured on NBC, Fox News, and ABC
- We are AV®-rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Our lawyers were selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers®
An Overview of Florida’s Drug Crime Laws
The term “drug crime” refers to a variety of criminal offenses listed in Fla. Stat. Chapter 893, including drug trafficking, possession, distribution, and paraphernalia. The penalties for these crimes include fines, probation, incarceration, and more. Specific drug offenses and their penalties in Chapter 893 include:
Drug Possession Laws & Penalties (Fla. Stat. §893.13)
In most cases, law enforcement arrests an individual for drug possession when they suspect that the individual had an illegal drug on his / her person for personal use. Drug possession applies to an individual who did not sell, distribute, or manufacture a controlled substance (illegal drug).
Under Florida law, possession of certain illegal drugs and controlled substances may be charged as third degree felonies. Other crimes, such as simple possession of marijuana, can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor, but only if the defendant was allegedly found with less than 20 grams of the drug.
Defense Tactics for Drug Possession
- The defendant was not aware of the drug. To obtain a conviction, prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant knew the drug was in his / her possession. If, for example, the defendant was driving a friend’s car, he / she might not know that the vehicle contained drugs. If the defendant was unaware of the illegal drugs, he / she did not commit a crime.
- The defendant did not have actual control of the substance. Not only must the defendant have knowledge of the illegal drug, but he / she must be in control of the drug. This is easiest to establish if the illegal substance was on the defendant’s actual person, but prosecutors can also show that the defendant had control of drugs found on his / her premises (house, vehicle, etc.).
Drug Trafficking (Fla. Stat. § 893.135)
Under Florida law, drug trafficking is a serious criminal offense. According to Fla State. § 893.135, an individual traffics an illegal drug when he / she:
“…knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of 4 grams or more of any morphine, opium, hydromorphone, or any salt, derivative, isomer, or salt of an isomer thereof, including heroin, as described in s. 893.03(1)(b), (2)(a), (3)(c)3., or (3)(c)4., or 4 grams or more of any mixture containing any such substance, but less than 30 kilograms of such substance or mixture, commits a felony of the first degree.”
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Florida
This crime is punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the defendant has prior felony convictions, he / can face up to ten years in prison. If the defendant is labeled a “habitual violent felony offender,” he / she must serve at least five years in prison be for he / she will be eligible for release.
Additional Drug Trafficking Crimes
In addition to Florida’s “trafficking in illegal drugs” law, Florida statutes delineate sentencing and charges for specific controlled substances, such as cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, and other illegal drugs. Sentencing for specific drug crimes depends on two factors: the type and the amount of the controlled substance.
Drug Paraphernalia (Fla. Stat. § 893.147)
Under Florida’s drug statutes, it is unlawful for any person to possess or use drug paraphernalia. This means that you can face criminal charges for possessing items that are associated with certain drugs, even if you are not in possession of a controlled substance.
Under Fla. Stat § 893.145, “drug paraphernalia” can refer to the following items:
- Kits used to plant, cultivate, or harvest a plant that is a controlled substance
- Kits used or designed to convert, process, or prepare a controlled substance
- Equipment used for testing or increasing potency of a plant / controlled substance
- Scales used to measure or weigh a controlled substance
- Diluents associated with controlled substances, such as mannitol, mannite, dextrose, or quinine hydrochloride
- Balloons, envelopes, capsules, or containers intended for packaging and holding illegal drugs
- Needles, syringes, or other objects used to inject a controlled substance
The Criminal Defense Process for Drug Crimes
The criminal process starts the moment law enforcement suspects that you committed a crime. This usually occurs when law enforcement stops or arrests you. Regardless of where you are in the criminal process, you have rights. If you were arrested for a drug-related crime, speak with the Miami defense lawyers at Parks & Braxton, PA today.
- Pre-File Investigations
Pre-file investigations occur when law enforcement suspects that you committed a crime but does not have enough evidence to charge you with an offense. During this time, it is imperative that you contact a defense attorney – even if you have not been arrested or charged with a crime yet. Prosecution will use the pre-file investigation to find as much evidence as possible to use against you in court, which is why it is imperative to begin working with a defense attorney as soon as possible.
- Post-Filing Process
The post-filing process begins when the prosecution files legal charges against you. This is the time when you lawyer creates and implements a legal defense strategy in your favor. When you work with Parks & Braxton, we can create a strong case to help you avoid a conviction. Post-filling can involve court appearances, negotiations between the defense and prosecution, and trial.
What are the penalties for drug crimes in Florida?
“Drug crime” is broad term that encompasses a wide range of criminal offenses, which can lead to a variety of penalties. Generally speaking, the penalties for a specific crime are related to the type of controlled substances and the amount of it.
Drug Possession Penalties
- Drug possession involving less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor, punishable by one year of incarceration and a $1,000 fine.
- Drug possession involving more than 20 grams (or less than 25 plants) is a felony crime, punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Drug possession involving 25 plants is a felony offense and punishable by 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor criminal offense, punishable by one year of incarceration and up to $1,000 in fines.
Penalties for Drug Sales
- Drug sales involving less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor, punishable by one year of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.
- Drug sales involving 25 pounds of less is a felony, punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Drug sales that involve between 25 and 2,000 pounds of an illegal drug – or between 300 and 2,000 plants – are considered felonies and punishable by 15 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The mandatory minimum prison sentence for this offense is three years.
- Drug sales involving between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds is a felony, punishable by no less than seven years in prison and up to 30 years in prison, along with a $50,000 fine.
- Drug sales that involves more than 10,000 is a felony, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison the possibility of a $200,000 fine. This crime is punishable by up to 30 years of incarceration.
- Drug sales that occurs near a school or park (within 1,000 feet) are felonies, punishable by a $10,000 fine and 15 years of incarceration.
Start Your Defense Now By Calling Parks & Braxton, PA
A criminal conviction can change your life. If you are facing a drug-related criminal charge, call our office today to learn more about your legal options and rights. Our team of Miami drug crime defense attorneys is ready to help you at any time, including nights weekends and holidays.