The opioid addiction crisis, an increase in drug overdoses among youth, and numerous spice-related deaths have forced state legislatures to ratchet up the war against drugs. While other U.S. states have reduced or eliminated the penalties associated with marijuana possession, there are no decriminalization laws for the drug in this state. In fact, Florida has some of the toughest drug crime laws in the nation. Possession of a controlled substance can mean imprisonment, exorbitant fines, and other penalties.
If you have faced arrest for drug possession in Pinellas County, call the team of aggressive defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel to come to your aid. We can explore defense strategies and fight for a positive outcome for you, be it reduced charges, lower penalties, a dismissal of charges, or an acquittal. Contact Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 today to speak to drug possession lawyer in Pinellas County.
What Happens After an Arrest for Drug Possession in Pinellas County?
If you have faced arrest for drug possession, you may be unsure what to expect next. The defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel have years of experience helping clients navigate the confusing legal process that follows a drug-related arrest in Florida.
Arrest and Booking
In many cases of drug possession, the police arrest you on the spot and take you to the local jail for booking.
During the process, the investigating officers will try to question you. They might ask questions in such a causal manner that you offer answers freely, forgetting that the prosecution can and will use the information you volunteer against you. This is why you should not agree to questioning without an attorney present. Cordially inform the officer that you wish to have your attorney present, then call our office at 727-828-3900 for immediate assistance.
Attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel will review the facts of your case and, if possible, attend your first appearance with you. The judge will decide whether there is enough cause to hold you, and if so, decide on bond.
The next step is the arraignment where we enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. We will discuss a defense strategy that would work best for you. We may even be able to handle your arraignment without your presence.
Before trial, there are dozens of tasks we must do to ready your case, including collecting evidence, filing motions, and managing depositions. Depending on the circumstances, we might be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor that includes probation instead of prison or a charge of possession instead of trafficking. Sometimes, we can even settle your case prior to trial.
If the court has not dismissed or settled your case prior to trial, we will prepare a strong, evidence-rich defense and advocate for your best interest in court. Our team will walk you through each step of the process until your case closes.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession?
There are two main factors that determine the penalties for drug possession: which schedule the drug falls under, and the defendant’s criminal history. The more serious the drug schedule and the more priors you have, the steeper the penalties will be.
When you work with Goldman Wetzel, we will explain exactly what penalties you might face, given your particular charges. Below are a few examples:
- Possession of heroin, a Schedule I drug, is a second-degree felony carrying penalties of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine;
- Possession of cocaine, which is a Schedule II drug, is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine;
- Possession of anabolic steroids, a Schedule III drug, is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine;
- Possession of Xanax, which is Schedule IV, is a third-degree felony, carries penalties of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine; and
- Possession of codeine-based cough syrup, classified as Schedule V, is a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The difference between a drug possession and drug trafficking charge is the amount of the drug involved. If law enforcement found a large amount of the controlled substance in your possession, the charges will automatically escalate to trafficking.
How Can Goldman Wetzel Help With My Drug Possession Case?
Our attorneys have defended clients charged with all types of drug crimes, including drug possession. If retained early enough, we can sometimes bring forth evidence or expose weaknesses in the state’s case that can deter the prosecutor from formally filing charges.
With drug charges, you have a lot on the line, including your freedom, finances, and reputation. You could wind up with a damaging criminal record that will make everything from renting a home to getting a job very challenging. Attorneys Goldman and Wetzel work in tandem on your case, creating a well-planned defense strategy.
With decades of combined experience in both prosecution and defense, we have gained in-depth knowledge of the laws and inner workings of criminal cases. We understand how to mitigate the severity of penalties. Goldman Wetzel can help in a number of ways, by:
- Representing you at hearings;
- Collecting supportive evidence;
- Exploring defense options, such as unlawful search and seizure, the drugs were not yours, you had a prescription, entrapment, or crime lab errors;
- Negotiating with the prosecutor;
- Protecting your rights during the process; and
- Seeking a dismissal, acquittal, or plea deal.
Goldman Wetzel Can Help Defend You Against Drug Possession Charges. Call Us Today.
When you enlist in the help of the drug possession lawyers at Goldman Wetzel early in the process, we will have sufficient time to vet the case completely, determine whether the state has properly followed protocol, and develop your legal defense. These preliminary tasks can greatly improve the chances of successfully beating your charges or at least getting them reduced.
We know how important your case is to you and how much you want to put the situation behind you and move on with your life. Goldman Wetzel can help. We will provide you with the aggressive legal representation and counsel you need during the criminal process.
If you have faced arrest or formal charges for drug possession, contact Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 for a free consultation.