Bolstered by more than four decades of combined legal experience, the Gainesville drug crime lawyers at the Law Offices of Edwards & Mason represent people throughout North-Central Florida, including in Bronson and Ocala. We understand the stress that these situations can cause for both the person charged and his or her family. This is why we work diligently in guiding clients through the legal process and fighting to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible. Recognizing the gravity of these matters, our criminal defense lawyers work around the clock. A member of our firm will be available to speak with you at any hour of day or night.Penalties for Drug Offenses in Florida
Florida law takes drug offenses very seriously and imposes harsh consequences for people convicted of a crime involving illegal substances. These penalties vary based on the type and amount of the drug involved. The possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, for example, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. If you are found with more than 20 grams of marijuana, on the other hand, you may face up to five years behind bars and as much as $5,000 in fines. In either situation, or for any other type of drug possession conviction, your drivers license will be suspended for two years.
The prison time and fines increase for a person convicted on charges of manufacturing, selling, or possessing drugs with the intent to sell them. The manufacturing, selling, or possession of cocaine with the intent to sell it, for instance, is a third-degree felony. It may result in decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
Moreover, defendants who are found in possession of certain quantities of drugs may face drug trafficking charges. These may result in minimum mandatory prison sentences under Florida law, which will be based on the drug involved and the quantity that the defendant possessed.Defenses to Charges Involving Controlled Substances
Some of the most common defenses in drug cases concern whether the police were authorized to look for controlled substances when they are allegedly in a home or car or on a person. If a judge finds that they were not authorized under the law, any evidence recovered probably will be removed from the consideration of the judge or jury. This is why it is vital that you seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer as soon as you know that you are being investigated for a possible drug crime.
Generally, police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed or has recently been committed in order to stop you on the street or pull over your car. A reasonable suspicion is more than just a subjective guess. The police must have objective evidence to back up their suspicion. They may only search you for weapons during these stops if they have reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a weapon, not if they merely suspect that you have controlled substances.
The standard is even higher when the police want to search your home or car without a warrant from a judge. In these cases, law enforcement must have probable cause to believe that they will be able to find evidence of a crime in that location, unless certain limited exceptions apply.Contact a Drug Crime Lawyer in the Gainesville Area
Facing charges involving a controlled substance can be an unnerving experience, but it is important to remember that the prosecution must prove each element of its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and there are often many ways to contest its side of the story. The Gainesville drug crime attorneys at the Law Offices of Edwards & Mason are ready to help. We are dedicated to assisting our neighbors in their times of need. Our clients come from communities throughout North-Central Florida, including Bronson, Ocala, Alachua, Archer, High Springs, Newberry, Hawthorne, Macclenny, Lake City, Trenton, Starke, Green Cove Springs, Williston, Palatka, Bushnell, Live Oak, and Lake Butler. Contact us at 877-377-7801 or through our online form to set up a free appointment with a drug possession attorney or seek assistance in fighting another charge related to a controlled substance.