Drug Crime Attorney in West Palm Beach
In Florida, drug offenses can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the type and amount of drug allegedly involved. Regardless of the charge, having a skilled drug crime lawyer by your side from the start can ensure the protection of your rights and increase your chances for a favorable outcome.
A lawyer with experience defending drug crimes is crucial in defending your case, whether you have just been contacted by law enforcement officers or have already been arrested and charged.
The Law Offices of Brian M. Caroll, P.A., handles drug cases of all types and sizes, from possession to drug trafficking. For years, we have been committed to providing exceptional criminal defense to those accused of drug-related offenses in South Florida.
If you or your loved one was arrested for an alleged drug crime in West Palm Beach, we’re here to provide the legal assistance you need. Drug charges are no laughing matter. Penalties for drug charges can range from a few months to a lifetime of imprisonment.
Common Drug Crimes in Florida
1. Drug Possession:
Drug possession is knowingly and illegally owning, having access to, or controlling a controlled substance, whether for personal use or with intent to distribute. It can be either actual or constructive, where actual possession means a drug is found on your person, such as in your pocket, and constructive means a drug is found in a place you have a level of access to or control over. An example of constructive possession is having drugs placed in a locker you have keys to or a house you share.
A first drug possession offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and $5,000 in fines.
2. Drug Trafficking:
According to Fla.Stat. §893.135(1)(a), drug trafficking includes selling, manufacturing, distributing, delivering, possessing, and possessing with intent to sell a controlled substance. Committing this offense leads to a first-degree felony with penalties ranging from three years to life imprisonment in addition to expensive fines.
3. Possession of Drug Paraphernalia:
Drug paraphernalia is any equipment used for manufacturing, processing, or consuming drugs. Examples of drug paraphernalia are baggies, scales, bongs or pipes, and syringes. According to Flat. Stat. §893.147, possessing or using drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by up to one year in prison.
4. Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs:
According to Fla. Stat. §499.03, possessing or possessing with intent to sell prescription drugs without a valid prescription is illegal. This also includes altering or manipulating a physician’s prescription. A conviction for the unlawful possession of prescription drugs is a second-degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum of 60 days in jail. Possession with intent to sell, however, is a third-degree felony.
A drug charge can have severe consequences, and you should never take it lightly. More often than not, a drug crime can result in more than one charge. Consider consulting a drug crime lawyer as soon as possible.
Illegal Controlled Substances in Florida
Controlled substances in Florida are grouped into five schedules, namely:
Schedule I drugs such as marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. These drugs have no medical use and a high risk of abuse.
Schedule II drugs include cocaine, opium, methamphetamine, and morphine. These drugs can cause serious psychological dependence and have restricted medical use.
Schedule III drugs include testosterone, anabolic steroids, and codeine. These drugs are often used for medical treatment but come with a high risk of psychological dependence but a lower risk of physical dependence.
Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Ativan, Flurazepam, and Valium. These drugs have limited psychological and physical dependence.
Schedule V drugs include any combination or mixture of substances, such as codeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate, and brivaracetam. Such mixtures are used for medical purposes and have the lowest risk of abuse and psychological dependence.
Fla. Stat. §893.03 provides a comprehensive list of prohibited and regulated substances in Florida.
Penalties for Drug Crimes Under Florida Law
The type and amount of the drug allegedly used, possessed, or sold determines the severity of the penalties to be imposed.
Possible penalties for drug crimes include:
First-degree misdemeanor: If you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, you can be jailed for a maximum of one year and fined up to $1,000. An example of a first-degree misdemeanor is possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.
First-degree felony: A first-degree felony carries up to 30 years in prison and fines.
Second-degree felony: You may be sentenced to up to 15 years imprisonment and fined up to $10,000 for a second-degree felony.
Third-degree felony: The penalties for committing a third-degree felony include a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison.
Other Consequences of a Drug Conviction
A conviction for a drug crime has other consequences besides fines and imprisonment. A criminal record could make it difficult for you to:
Find rental housing
Obtain student loans
Win child custody
Adopt a child
Vote or bear arms
Moreover, you may lose your right to vote, bear arms, and drive.
Benefits of Hiring a Drug Crime Lawyer
Hiring a drug criminal defense attorney can be a beneficial step if you are charged with drug manufacturing or any other specific drug offenses. The knowledge of experienced lawyers and familiarity with court procedures can assist you in several ways.
A skilled attorney can be pivotal in cases involving drug distribution, drug arrest, or federal drug charges. These lawyers understand the harsh penalties associated with different street drugs and can navigate the complexities of criminal law to potentially reduce prison sentences.
What To Do When Arrested for a Drug Offense in West Palm Beach?
Being accused or arrested for a crime of any sort is scary. Here’s what you can do if you get arrested:
- Stay calm and follow the instructions of the arresting officers.
- Invoke your right to remain silent and consult an attorney.
- Contact a West Palm Beach drug crime attorney.
- Do not answer any questions without the presence of a lawyer.
- Do not sign any documents without talking to your lawyer.
Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty, and you have rights. Consider contacting an attorney immediately after your first contact with the police, and don’t wait until charges are filed.
Possible Defense Strategies for Drug Crimes?
Depending on the facts and circumstances, your West Palm Beach drug crime lawyer can raise the following defenses on your behalf:
- Illegal search and seizure
- Illegal arrest
- Inadmissible evidence
- Planted evidence
- Temporary possession
- Unknown possession
The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They must demonstrate that you or your loved one had knowledge of the illegal drugs in your possession, whether actual or constructive. It’s also on the prosecution to prove your intent to sell or distribute.
The Law Offices of Brian M. Carroll, P.A., Can Help
As with any criminal charge, you are innocent until proven guilty. The Law Offices of Brian M. Caroll, P.A., has served the Palm Beach community for years and has successfully defended those accused of drug offenses. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to represent you in drug courts and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with any drug offense in Palm Beach County, our skilled attorney at The Law Offices of Brian M. Carroll, P.A., can help. Contact us today and schedule a free initial consultation.