The nation is in an interesting position with respect to drugs. Nationally, rules relating to marijuana possession are becoming more relaxed, while legislatures and law enforcement work to crack down harder on the illegal possession of prescription drugs. The current reality is that both remain illegal in Florida, as does the possession, sale, or manufacture of a large number of other drugs. Well over a hundred drugs are considered controlled substances by Florida, contact our Fort Lauderdale drug crimes attorney for more information.Drug Crimes Generally
Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes governs drug crimes. For those unfamiliar with the defense of drug crimes in Florida, it is a difficult chapter to read and understanding what is permitted and not permitted isn’t always easy. Some drug crimes are misdemeanors, while others are felonies, and the conviction may carry with it a mandatory minimum sentence. The seriousness of a drug offense generally depends on the type of drug involved, the amount of the drug involved, the action taken, and the location, if near a church or school. Thus, as one might expect, the potential penalty for simple possession of marijuana is much lower than the potential penalty for trafficking cocaine.Defenses to Drug Crimes
There are a variety of different defenses that can be utilized to fight drug charges. Some of the most effective are based on the U.S. Constitution, particularly the 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. What constitutes an unreasonable search is complicated and ever evolving as courts decide new and novel issues regarding its application.
To search a person’s body, car, home, or other place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, law enforcement must either have a warrant based on probable cause or some exception to the warrant requirement. Exceptions include plain view, exigent circumstances, probable cause regarding an automobile, incident to arrest, emergency, and consent. Each of these exceptions have requirements within them that law enforcement must follow to fall within the exception. If a search was not properly conducted, an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal law attorney like Mark S. Lowry may be able to get the illegally seized evidence thrown out.Paraphernalia
Not only is the possession, manufacture, and sale of drugs prohibited in Florida the possession of “drug paraphernalia” is also outlawed. Florida Statute 893.145 defines drug paraphernalia, and remaining consistent with the rest of the criminal laws governing drug offenses, the definition is long and confusing. In short, paraphernalia consists of “equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use” to create or utilize a controlled substance. This drug-related charge is sometimes brought alone but more often it is brought in conjunction with other drug charges.Fort Lauderdale Drug Crimes Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug crime of any type in the south Florida or greater Fort Lauderdale area, drug crimes attorney Mark S. Lowry can represent you in the defense of your case. Your freedom may be at stake. Reach out to us today for help.