Pinellas County Drug Lawyer

Pinellas County does not take drug charges lightly. Depending on the severity of the offense, a drug charge may lead you to face fines, probation and even prison time. If you’re facing a drug related allegation, your future will be at stake and you may need the help of a criminal defense attorney.

The consequences of a drug charge in this county can be very harsh for your personal and professional life. Pinellas County drug lawyers will protect your rights and may be able to reduce your sentence, or even prevent your conviction.

Types of Drug Crimes in Pinellas County 

A drug crime is the unlawful use of a controlled drug or narcotic. Florida can charge accused offenders with a seemingly endless number of drug-related offenses, and each of these charges comes with its own penalties, so it is important to review your charges and potential defense with a reliable attorney.

Some of the most common drug charges are:

  • Possession
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Distribution
  • Drug trafficking
  • Armed drug trafficking
  • Cultivating or Manufacturing drugs
  • Unlawful possession or sale of prescription drugs
  • Illegal use of a drug

Even though the penalties can be quite severe, drug crimes are still the most common crime in Florida.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in Florida? 

While the penalty varies based on a number of factors, you could face jail time and significant fines if convicted of even the most minor drug charge. In addition to the penalties listed, almost anyone convicted of a drug charge in Pinellas County receives an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.

Here are some examples of some of the penalties for a drug charge in Florida:

Drug Possession

Drug possession is the offense of possessing an illegal substance such as cocaine, heroine, marijuana or methamphetamine.

Drug Trafficking

You may receive a conviction on trafficking charges even if you intended to use all the drugs you had for personal use. This is important because trafficking is a first-degree felony with much more serious penalties. Depending on the drug, there may also be mandatory minimum sentences that apply.

If you have more than 25 pounds of marijuana or 28 grams of cocaine at the time of your arrest, the State Attorney may opt for drug trafficking charges instead of possession.

If you’ve been accused of a drug charge, it’s important that you enlist the help of an attorney in Pinellas County.

What Are Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Charges in Florida?

Depending on the drug and the amount, an offense can be treated as a felony or misdemeanor. A misdemeanor drug charge is less serious and it’s punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000. On the other hand, a felony drug charge is more severe and the penalties will depend upon the charge.

It is important to note that the state views some drugs differently than others. The penalties for possession of cocaine, crack, or heroin, for example, are more severe than for possession of marijuana.

You can also expect stiffer penalties if convicted of charges involving methamphetamines, ecstasy/MDMA, GHB, PCP, or similar drugs.

Can Drug Charges Be Dropped in Florida?

Facing drug charges can be a terrifying experience. But in some cases, a drug charge can be dropped. However, in order for this to happen, you will need the help of an experienced drug crime lawyer that knows how the criminal system justice works.

Drug charges can be dropped if your defense attorney can prove that the law enforcement officers acted illegally and violated your rights. In other cases, your lawyer may request that the state approve a diversionary program that requires you to attend drug treatment. Once you complete this and other requirements, the District Attorney might agree to drop any potential charges related to the incident.

Although some drug charges may be dropped, the strategy for each case may vary depending on the drug, the amount, the accused’s past criminal record and some other aspects such as aggravating factors.

Defenses that a Drug Crime Attorney May Use

The way a drug defense lawyer approaches your defense depends on the specific details of your case. In every case, Goldman Wetzel will immediately launch a full investigation to understand the best possible defense, and represent you in pretrial negotiations and in court.

If your case goes to court, some of the most common defense arguments in St. Petersburg or Pinellas County drug crime cases include:

Unlawful search or seizure

By law, in Florida, law enforcement officers cannot search or seize property without a warrant, your consent or probable cause. If the police find drugs in a unlawful search or seizure, your criminal defense lawyer may file a motion to suppress this evidence.

Lack of possession

When it comes to drug offenses, a common defense that a lawyer may pursue is to argue that the drugs don’t belong to the accused and that or he or she had no knowledge of them. This strategy may work better if the drugs were found in a place where other people have access too. For example, under your car’s passenger seat or an apartment with multiple occupants.

Violation of constitutional rights

When a person is detained in Florida, police officers are required to provide the detainee with certain warnings. These warnings are meant to protect the detainee against self-incrimination and to provide her or him with the right of counsel.

If you’re arrested in Pinellas County for a drug crime and make a statement before the law enforcement officer informs you of your rights, your attorney may use this as a strategy for your defense.

Prescribed drugs

Another common defense for drug charges is to prove that the drugs that the law enforcement officer found are being used for medical reasons.

In Florida, some controlled substances (such as marijuana) can be used for medical purposes. However, for this strategy to work, the accused must meet some qualification requirements and have a medical prescription.


Depending on the circumstances of your case as well as your past criminal record, your lawyer may try to prove that you didn’t know that the drugs in your possession were illegal or that you needed a medical prescription.

Call our Drug Crimes Attorneys in Pinellas County

If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, it’s important to seek advice from a skilled defense attorney.

Goldman Wetzel represents clients accused of crime offenses in Pinellas County, Florida and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area. If you are facing criminal charges for a drug offense in Pinellas County, get in touch with Goldman Wetzel for legal help. Contact us via our contact form or call us for a free consultation.