What Are The Common Drug Offense Cases That You Handle?
The most common charge is simple possession of a controlled substance. The type of controlled substance can vary widely, but is usually cannabis, cannabis extracts, opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines or MDMA.
What Is Considered Possession, Sale, Distribution And Intent To Distribute Unlawful Drugs?
To be found guilty of simple possession of a controlled substance, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person knew a controlled substance was present and had the ability to control it. Possession can be shown where the controlled substance is in the hand, or pocket of the person charged, or the controlled substance is in open view, and the accused could reach out and touch it.
Florida law presumes that the person has knowledge of the controlled substance’s presence, as well as the ability to control it when an area is under the exclusive possession of that person. For example, a person who is driving a car all by himself is presumed to know, and have the ability to control, a controlled substance found anywhere within that vehicle. This presumption is, however, rebuttable. The burden is on the accused to establish circumstances which might undermine the strength of the presumption.
There is no presumption of knowledge or control when an area is occupied by two or more people. For example, there would be no presumption of knowledge and control when a car is occupied by two people. The State would have to prove if it could, that one or both occupants knew that a controlled substance was in the glove compartment and had the ability to control it. In many instances, the State is unable to prove through independent evidence that either occupant is guilty of drug possession – unless one or both occupants made a statement. The State could still try to prove that one or both occupants might be guilty based upon other admissible evidence, such as fingerprints or touch DNA.
“Sale”, or “distribution”, of a controlled substance is the same charge in Florida. A sale is defined as the delivery of a controlled substance for something of value. Distribution of a controlled substance would simply be the delivery of a controlled substance with or without something of value. A person can be charged in Florida with delivery of a controlled substance by simply giving a drug to someone. There is no requirement that something of value is exchanged.
Possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance is not always easy to describe. The State may claim that simply possessing multiple small packets of cocaine, or marijuana, is sufficient proof of intent to distribute. By itself, a person might buy a number of “nickel bags” for his own personal use. The mere possession of a number of small bags is not necessarily inconsistent with personal use. In most cases where possession with intent to distribute is charged, the State has proof that the place where the drugs are found, and the circumstances, indicate an intent to sell, as well as the amount and packaging. This is always a difficult matter of proof when the amount of the drug is consistent with personal use.
What Is Considered Drug Trafficking In Florida?
Drug trafficking can be established by simple possession of a controlled substance in a certain amount. For example, cocaine trafficking, 28 grams or greater, can be established by simple possession of 28 grams or more of cocaine. Of course, trafficking can also be shown by sale, possession with intent to sell or to distribute manufacture or importation. The amount of the controlled substance is an essential element of the drug trafficking crime.
What Does Florida Consider A Felony Drug Charge?
A felony drug charge in Florida is an offense punishable by more than one year in custody.
Are There Any Additional Programs Available For First Time Drug Offenders In Florida?
Yes, but the type of alternative programs will depend on where the offense occurred and what type of offense is charged. There is a first time DUI deferral program in the Fifteenth Circuit (Palm Beach County), but not in the Nineteenth Circuit (Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties). Pre-adjudicatory drug court is available in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Nineteenth Judicial Circuits, but not the Twentieth. The Twentieth Judicial Circuit has a post-adjudicatory drug court. The best way to answer this question is that the range of alternative dispositions varies from County to County and charge to charge.
For more information on Common Drug Offense Cases In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (772) 242-6380 today.
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