Drug crimes are common in Florida — and some of the most harshly prosecuted. Florida invests substantial resources and manpower into fighting drug crimes and putting violators behind bars. Most drug-related offenses result in imprisonment, fines, and other penalties if convicted. Moreover, certain cases mandate a minimum prison sentence.
However, being accused of a drug crime does not necessarily mean guilt or a conviction. Our drug crime defense lawyers in Clearwater have helped numerous defendants facing serious drug charges successfully navigate the justice system. If you or a loved one is facing drug crime charges, contact our criminal attorneys today and learn how we may be able to assist you: 727-828-3900
Types of Drug Crime Cases Goldman Wetzel Manages
Our team can handle any drug-related case in Florida. We accept all kinds of criminal cases in Clearwater and throughout the state, including those involving misdemeanors or felonies, first-time or repeat offenders, adults or juveniles, and state or federal cases.
Examples of drug crime cases we can handle at Goldman Wetzel include:
- Simple possession
- Possession of paraphernalia
- Drug trafficking — instate, interstate, and international
- Meth lab operations
- Unlicensed grow houses
- Illegal possession or sale of prescription drugs
- Drug manufacturing
- Organized crime involving drugs
Penalties for Drug Crimes
The penalties you face for a drug crime depend on several factors including the type and schedule of the controlled substance, the amount involved, your criminal history, and whether there were any aggravating factors such as completing a drug transaction near a school.
Here are a few examples of potential criminal penalties for common drug offenses:
- Possession of drug paraphernalia: Up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine [Florida Statute § 893.147]
- Possession of Xanax without a prescription: Up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine [Florida Statute § 893.03(4)(a)/Florida Statute § 893.13]
- Cocaine trafficking: Up to 30 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines [Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(b)]
- Possession of a grow house with a minor present: Up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine [Florida Statute § 893.1351(3)]
In addition to incarceration and fines, a drug crime conviction brings other consequences, as well. This can include driver’s license suspension, probation, completion of a drug abuse program, and revocation of certain civil liberties like the right to vote and to bear arms.
Offenders typically face residual consequences of a permanently stained criminal record, too, such as impediments to employment, diminished housing opportunities, and an adverse effect on future unrelated legal cases, e.g., divorce or child custody.
Florida’s Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences for Drug Crimes
Certain drug crimes require judges to sentence defendants to a mandatory minimum sentence. During this term of imprisonment, which is non-negotiable, offenders are ineligible for early release.
The length of a mandatory sentence depends on the type and amount of controlled substance involved. For example, the chart below shows the mandatory minimum prison terms and fines for trafficking in hydrocodone:
|Amount of Drug||Mandatory Minimum Term||Fine|
|14 grams to < 28 grams||Three years||$50,000|
|28 grams to < 50 grams||Seven years||$100,000|
|50 grams to < 200 grams||15 years||$500,000|
|200 grams to < 30 kilograms||25 years||$750,000|
When you work with Goldman Wetzel, we will discuss your case with you in detail and tell you exactly what you are up against and the penalties you face. We will brainstorm the best approaches for your situation and push for a good outcome — be it dropped charges, a dismissal, an acquittal, a plea bargain, or at least a reduction in charges, such as from trafficking to possession.
Defending Against Drug Charges
Again, charges do not necessarily equal conviction. Florida recognizes several valid defenses to drug charges, and we can exhaust every single one.
Our defense attorneys have backgrounds in both prosecution and defense, so we understand how both sides operate. We will explore strategies for your particular case and craft a viable, promising plan of action to suit your needs. Examples of defenses to drug charges include:
- The drugs were not yours.
- The authorities miscalculated the amount of the controlled substance (an affirmative defense helpful in trafficking cases)
- You were in neither actual nor constructive possession of the drugs.
- You had a prescription for the drug, or you were in possession of a drug for which you were unaware you needed a prescription.
- The authorities obtained evidence via an illegal search and seizure.
- You were not aware the substance was illegal.
- Someone framed you, i.e., someone planted the drugs on you.
- The state inputted mistakes on your criminal history.
How Our Drug Crimes Lawyers Can Help
Our drug crime defense lawyers in Clearwater can assist you with all aspects of your case. We can:
- Accompany you to your first appearance to either present evidence to get your case dropped or fight for a fair bail;
- Comb through your file and look for weaknesses in the state’s case;
- Gather supporting evidence;
- Discuss all your legal options with you and counsel you on the best decisions;
- Work together as a team and construct a comprehensive defense plan;
- Attend your arraignment to enter your plea;
- Ensure the authorities uphold your rights;
- Negotiate with the prosecutor (if appropriate);
- Keep you informed of any new developments in your case;
- Prepare for trial where we will present your case clearly, concisely, and convincingly.
Free Consult with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Clearwater
We understand how dire this situation can be and how much you have riding on the outcome of your case. Let our Clearwater criminal defense attorneys fight for you. Contact our office at 727-828-3900 and speak to one of our drug crime attorneys in Clearwater today.