The severity of different drug crimes rises as you move up the ladder from possession to sales to drug trafficking. Each of these levels carries its own definition and associated penalties, and the key to reducing your sentence is to secure the lowest possible charge. Often, the rules governing these drug crimes can be confusing, which is why you want an experienced Miami drug crimes lawyer to help make sense of the system and protect you.
Drug possession is charged when a person is caught with a drug, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or methamphetamines (crystal meth), and when the amount of that drug does not exceed a level known as "personal use." Although the police apply a strict metric to determine how much of each drug constitutes personal use, a competent lawyer may be able to look into actual case law to argue that a slightly larger amount of drugs was intended for personal use. Be aware, however, that the drugs don't have to be on your person for the police to determine they belong to you – they can be in a purse, a car, or anything else you possess. The key difference in arguing that the drugs were for personal use is that the client is usually only facing a third-degree felony with maximum prison exposure of 5 years state prison, or in the case of marijuana under 20 grams, the client is only facing a misdemeanor.
Drug sales are defined by the law as “Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell, Manufacture, or Deliver” – usually shortened as possession with intent. Law enforcement officials make this determination based solely on the amount of drugs in your possession according to a set of proscribed quantities. They do not have to catch you in the act of selling for a drug sales charge to stick, so you will want to retain a good lawyer early to try to avoid this charge.
Drug trafficking does not mean that you belong to an organized crime cartel. It simply means that the quantity of drugs that you had in your possession has risen to the level of trafficking, which is the most serious of Miami-Dade County's drug charges. A drug trafficking conviction comes with far stiffer penalties, and will automatically bring three years in prison (or more) unless your lawyer can prove that police misconduct or a similar error occurred.
An effective attorney is the best shot you have of beating the drug charges against you. An experienced Miami drug crimes lawyer will pore over every detail of your case in search of errors, gaps, or any issues with your arrest. If the police violated your rights or did anything improperly, your attorney will fight in court to get the evidence suppressed. Common issues that can result in dropped charges include an illegal traffic stop or an illegal search. Even if the charges are warranted, criminal skilled attorney aggressively negotiates to have the drug charges reduced in order to seek a better resolution.
Why should you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney? Drug crimes are serious charges in Florida, and the last thing you want is to give up your freedom over a dubious police procedure. The following is a summary of the punishments associated with various drug crimes.
If you or a loved one is facing a drug charge or drug trafficking charge, you still have many options. Attorney Antonio Jimenez is a former Miami prosecutor and an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Miami. He has prosecuted and defended these crimes and is experienced in the area of illegal searches, one of the key defenses for drug crimes. Please contact him today for a free consultation on your case.