While some states have rolled back their drug possession charges by legalizing certain drugs, Florida still has some of the most stringent drug laws in the United States. If you have been charged with drug possession and are wondering how to get your possession charges dropped, speaking with a Miami drug crime attorney is vital for your case and future. Here is what you should know about possession charges and if you can have them dropped.
What Is Drug Possession?
Drug possession refers to the criminal act of willingly and knowingly possessing illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin, or marijuana. As stated by the Department of Justice, possession charges make up for about 80% of arrests in the country, which all relate to drug crimes and drug charges.
It has been estimated that drug possession crimes have doubled in the past years due to law enforcement campaigns that target possession charges. Possession can occur in multiple ways, and various factors might impact whether your charges are dropped or pursued. Under Florida law, it is illegal to possess any controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell. Controlled substances include cocaine, cannabis, narcotics, chemical compounds, an anabolic steroid, and other illegally prescribed medication.
In Florida, unlawful possession can lead to varying degrees of criminal charges based on the possession’s circumstance. Generally, drug possession laws will look at four main factors, including:
- How much drug you had in your possession
- Where were you at the time of the arrest
- What drug(s) were in your possession
- What were your intentions regarding the use or distribution of that drug
Moreover, there are four categories of drug crimes, as follows:
- Paraphernalia, such as pipes, rolling papers, needles, and bongs
- Simple possession, when you get caught with a small amount of drug for personal use
- Possession, with intent to sell, distribute, or deliver (if you get caught with a significant amount, you can be charged with this)
- Trafficking, where you can be charged if you possess an excessive amount of drugs
A crime drug attorney might be able to help you argue your arrest’s circumstances and other factors of your drug possession. Suppose you have a valid healthcare provider’s prescription for your substance. That means you might have your charges dropped in most cases, but only if you have not been found guilty of intent to distribute or sell. You might also be able to argue your proximity to some location or intent to reduce your possession charges.
How to Get Your Possession Charges Dropped
If you have been charged with drug possession, there are various defenses possible, but they depend upon the circumstances surrounding your possession arrest. For starters, your drug crime attorney might attempt to determine whether your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. Even if incriminating evidence is found, the evidence was obtained through an unlawful seizure, then the evidence might be inadmissible and therefore suppressed.
Claiming that the drugs have been planted by law enforcement will unlikely carry much weight in your case because a police officer’s testimony tends to be believed inside a courtroom. Separately, your drug crime attorney can argue the drugs in question or that you had no idea these were in your home or motor vehicle. A prosecutor is responsible for determining whether the drugs found belonged to you and not to other persons.
One of the best ways to get your possession charges dropped is by having you enroll in a pretrial intervention program. If you had less than 20 grams of marijuana, you might qualify for this program. The charges can be dropped if you do not have other charges on your record or have minimal charges and you complete the program. If that is the case, it may result in a dismissal of your possession case.
You can also go on probation or might need to go to a treatment center for drug addiction. Even though probation is not easy, it is a preferred option over being behind bars. The terms and length of your probation depend on the facts related to your case and your probation officers. You should do community service, comply with regular drug testing, have regular meetings with your probation officers, or follow a treatment for drug addiction.
However, one of the most vital steps you should take after being charged with drug possession in Florida is to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney with a proven record of positive outcomes for drug charges.
If these programs are not available to you, or you have been charged with something more severe, having a lawyer to defend you is essential.
Why Should You Hire a Drug Crime Attorney?
It is crucial to understand that the consequences of a drug crime can last a lifetime. Some of the most severe consequences you might face when charged with possession of drugs include restricted civil rights and lengthy prison terms.
With the help of a drug defense attorney on your side, your drug possession charges can be, in fact, dropped. But your charges are not always likely to be dropped or dismissed. While having your drug possession charges dropped is sometimes challenging, it can be possible if you have the right legal team representing you. In fact, at the very least, your defense attorney will work the system in such a way as to identify a positive outcome to your charges.
Some of the easy ways to get your possession charges dropped include:
- Proving that your rights were violated
- Proving that there was a mistake
- Making a deal to reduce your charges
- Proving there was a police abuse of power
- Show that the stop and search was illegal
- Prove that there was no probable cause to arrest
Because Florida drug laws are challenging and tricky to follow, having a knowledgeable defense attorney to represent you can make all the difference. Florida takes drug use and possession very seriously; the penalties will reflect that degree of severity.