The criminal defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel serve clients charged with drug offenses throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties with an office conveniently located in Bradenton, FL.
Drug crimes is a broad term that encompasses offenses including and related to the illegal possession, sale, manufacture or trafficking of a controlled substance. A conviction for a drug offense comes with hefty fines, jail or prison sentence and, in many cases, the loss of some of your civil rights. So, if you are fighting a drug crime allegation, you should retain a drug crimes attorney.
Overcoming a drug offense accusation on your own can be a difficult task since Florida takes the prosecution of these cases very seriously. A knowledgeable drug defense attorney can help you find the best legal path for your situation. If you need a lawyer that knows the ins and outs of Florida drug laws, contact Goldman Wetzel for a free consultation.
Drug charges in Manatee & Sarasota County
In Florida, controlled substances are drugs whose use not only can be extremely harmful for a person, but they can also produce physical or psychological dependence. Given that these drugs can have such a detrimental effect on a person, Florida has some laws that regulate them.
If a non-authorized person possesses, sells, manufactures, distributes or produces one of these controlled substances, he or she will face drug charges. Despite popular opinion, in Florida, these substances not only include illegal drugs (such as cocaine, marijuana, methenamine or heroine), but substances that have a medical use and can cause dependence are also regulated.
Statute § 893.03 contains the drugs that are considered illegal in Florida. These controlled substances are classified into five different schedules depending on:
- Potential for abuse
- Whether the controlled substance has a medical use
- Level of dependence that the drug might cause
As established before, there are a number of offenses that can be classified as drug crimes. Some of the most common drug cases that the defense attorneys from Goldman Wetzel handle include:
- Drug manufacturing
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Drug possession
- Drug trafficking
In Florida, drug charges vary in severity which is closely related to the different drug schedules. Although there are other factors to consider, your charges and the possible penalties depend significantly on the type of controlled substance involved in the offense.
If you have been arrested for a drug charge in Manatee or Sarasota County, you likely have numerous questions about your case and the legal steps that you need to take. Book a time to talk to a drug crimes attorney from Goldman Wetzel and to discover what we can do to protect your rights and achieve the most favorable outcome possible.
Penalties in Florida for Drug Crimes
Like other criminal offenses, depending on the severity of the offense, minor drug offenses are classified as misdemeanors while more severe forms of drug crimes are charged as felonies. Examples of minor drug offenses include charges for possession of:
- Drug paraphernalia: charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Controlled substances classified as Schedule V: charged as a second-degree misdemeanor.
- Less than 20 grams of cannabis: charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
If convicted, a culprit charged with a first degree-misdemeanor can face up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. On the other hand, a second-degree misdemeanor can result in up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Severe drug offenses such as drug trafficking, drug manufacturing and possession of substantial amounts of a controlled substance are considered felonies in Florida. These charges mostly depend on the type and amount of drug involved in the offense. Some examples of felony drug crimes include:
|Offense||Charge||Maximum Imprisonment||Maximum fine|
|Possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis||Third-degree felony||5 years||$5,000|
|Possession of less than 28 gr of cocaine||Third-degree felony||5 years||$5,000|
|Drug manufacturing||Third-degree felony||5 years||$5,000|
|Possession with intent to sell methamphetamine||Second-degree felony||15 years||$10,000|
|Possession of a controlled substance Schedule V||First-degree felony||30 years||$10,000|
When determining a sentencing for a drug charge, some of the factors that are taken into account include:
- Type and amount of drug.
- Defendant’s prior record.
- Defendant’s intent: (personal use, sale, distribute).
- Whether the arrest occured close to a child care facility, park, or community center.
In addition to these penalties, Florida law establishes that people convicted for a drug crime will have their license suspended for a period of 6 months.
What is drug offender probation in Manatee and Sarasota?
According to the Florida Statute § 948.20, drug offender probation is an alternative for jail or prison sentence. This probation program is designed to provide treatment for chronic substance abusers as well as intensive community supervision. In order to be eligible, the offender needs to meet certain criteria.
Some elements of drug offender probation in Florida include:
- Random drug testing
- Treatment for substance abuse
- Request permission to leave the county
- Defendant must pay court and supervision fees
- Random house searches
Although it might be better than a prison or jail sentence, drug offender probation is still a sentencing that you need to follow if you want to avoid severe penalties. Before you agree to it, you should talk to a drug lawyer near you. Goldman Wetzel can help if you live in Manatee or Sarasota County.
What Defenses Can Be Used to Fight a Drug Charge?
Overcoming drug charges on your own can be very challenging. Nevertheless, an experienced criminal lawyer will find the best strategies for your case. Some of the most common defenses that the attorneys at Goldman Wetzel use include:
- Lack of evidence
- The drugs were not in your constructive possession
- Illegal search and seizure
- Lack of knowledge
- The drugs belong to someone else
- Officers obtained the evidence as a result of an overdose
- Evidence tampering
- Violation of constitutional rights
- Someone planted the drugs on you
- You had a prescription
- Crime lab analysis mistakes
Despite the fact that these are common avenues when dealing with drug charges, there are some defenses that might be more suitable for your case. If you want to explore your defense options, book an appointment with our Bradenton drug lawyers.
Contact a Drug Crimes Attorney in Bradenton
When it comes to drug crimes, Florida laws are harsh. If you are convicted for this type of crime, you could see long prison sentences, steep fines and the loss of your driver’s license. If you want to fight your charges and protect your record, you should enlist the help of a drug crime lawyer in Bradenton.
Goldman Wetzel is a criminal defense firm that represents clients facing drug charges in Bradenton, Palmetto, Venice, Sarasota, Manatee County, Sarasota County, and surrounding areas.
If you were arrested for a drug charge in Sarasota or Bradenton, retain legal representation as soon as possible. Contact our criminal defense attorneys or call us at (941) 405-5193 to schedule a free consultation.