Florida has a comprehensive drug abuse, prevention and control law. This law sets out numerous drug crimes ranging from simple possession of marijuana to trafficking in large amounts of streets drugs.
The basic scheme includes four groups of controlled drugs. These are defined as Schedule I, II, III, and IV drugs. Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the United States, Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and a currently accepted but severely restricted medical use in the United States, Schedule III drugs have a potential for abuse less than Schedules I and II drugs and have a currently accepted medical use in the United States, and Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse relative to Schedule III drugs and have a currently accepted medical use in the United States.
Mr. Dirmann has been representing citizens who were charged with drug crimes for more than 40 years.Florida law makes it a felony offense to possess, deliver, sell, distribute, or transport any of the common street drugs such as cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or ecstasy/MDMA as well as many other controlled substances. Florida also makes the possession, delivery, sale, distribution, or transportation of these drugs an enhanced felony of trafficking if the amount of drugs involves a certain minimum weight. Trafficking in cocaine begins with possession, sale or delivery of 28 grams or more of cocaine. Trafficking in marijuana begins with possession, sale or delivery of 25 pounds or more. As the weight of the illegal drug increases, so do the mandatory minimum prison sentences for trafficking in that drug.
Florida makes it a crime to possess, sell, deliver, or traffic in prescription drugs such as morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or any derivative of these drugs. The trafficking penalties begin with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years if the defendant possesses four grams or more but less than 14 grams of the prohibited prescription drugs and the mandatory minimum penalties increase as the weight of the drug increases.
Under Florida law a person is prosecuted for trafficking drugs based on the total weight of the pill, tablet or mixture containing the controlled substance. That means a person who possesses 10 hydrocodone pills, each pill containing 7.5 milligrams of hydrocodone and 500 milligrams of acetaminophen, without a valid prescription, is considered to be trafficking in controlled substances since the total weight of the pills are greater than four grams. This is true even though the total weight of the controlled substances in the pills is less than 1/10 of one gram.
In addition to mandatory minimum imprisonment for trafficking in illegal drugs, Florida imposes mandatory minimum fines when a person is convicted of a drug trafficking offense. These fines generally start at $50,000.00 per offense and increase to as much as $250,000.00 per offense.
How do drug cases come to court?
The first question is how did the police discover the drugs? Drugs can be found in vehicles from traffic stops and drug-dog searches, drugs can be discovered on individuals after they have been searched or arrested, drugs can be located in homes and buildings resulting from warrant searches, and drugs can be obtained as a result of undercover/informant activity resulting in controlled buys in which the accused unwittingly sells, buys, delivers, or transports drugs in a sting operation.
In addition to all of these various ways a drug case can occur, there is the possibility that the drugs are not genuine and are counterfeit. This requires testing of the drugs by a reliable expert in a qualified lab.
What defenses are available to a person charged with a drug crime in Florida?
The law requires the state of Florida to prove by competent evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime charged. Drug cases have many defenses which rely on motions to suppress which question the stop of the vehicle, the length of detention prior to calling a drug dog to search a vehicle, the validity of a search and seizure of the defendant, and whether the defendant had actual or constructive possession of the drugs. In cases involving an undercover officer or snitch working as an agent of the state, the defense of entrapment may apply. In Florida there are two forms of entrapment. Objective entrapment occurs when the police engage in conduct that violates due process of law. An example of objective entrapment is when a police officer agrees to pay an undercover informant a commission on the drug cases he makes. Florida also recognizes the defense of subjective entrapment. This defense applies when the accused citizen is induced by promises, offering of drugs, or pleas for help from a government snitch who is a friend of the defendant to engage in drug activity when the defendant can show that he was not predisposed to commit the drug crime but for the active inducement of the snitch who was working for law enforcement.
Florida has a rich jurisprudence from many years of appellate court decisions including the Supreme Court of Florida discussing all of the various defense issues that arise in drug cases. Determining the essential issues in your case is the responsibility of the criminal defense lawyer.
Mr. Dirmann has been representing citizens who were charged with drug crimes for more than 40 years. He has defended clients charged with simple possession of drugs, as well as those facing very serious trafficking charges. Mr. Dirmann invites you to look at “Noteworthy Cases” and see what he has done for other clients charged with serious drug crimes.
Call Mr. Dirmann, a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Lawyer, today for a confidential no obligation conference to discuss your case including all defenses available to you.