Fort Lauderdale Defense Attorney For Drug Crimes
Get Help from a Former Prosecutor…
Drug Crimes are some of the most common criminal offenses in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida. Proximity to international ports makes the area a hotbed for illegal drug activity, primarily in the trafficking, distribution, and selling of drugs. The Sunshine State is also known for having high addiction rates due to the ease in which prescription drugs can be attained at “pill mills” and without a valid prescription.
Under Florida’s state and federal laws, the penalties for drug crimes are harsh.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be facing…
- imprisonment in state prison or county jail
- heavy fines
- registration as a narcotics offender
- mandatory drug treatment or rehabilitation
- drivers license suspension
- forfeiture of basic civil rights (right to vote, possess a firearm)
With so much at stake, it’s essential to consult with a reputable drug crime attorney as soon as possible. Regardless of how you got into this position – whether you made an error in judgment, are suffering from an addiction, or were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, you are entitled to a solid defense.
The legal team at Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense provides exceptional legal representation to accused drug offenders in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. The firm’s founder and lead drug crime attorney Leah Mayersohn has two decades of experience practicing criminal defense in the area’s state and federal courts.
As a former prosecutor, Ms. Mayersohn knows how the State Attorney’s Office builds a case and can leverage this knowledge to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced.
If you are facing a Fort Lauderdale drug charge, don’t delay. Contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense today 954-400-5000 to schedule a free consultation. We can help you understand the charges against you and discuss what your legal options are.
Types of Illegal Controlled Substances Under Florida Law
Florida prohibits certain actions involving controlled substances, which can include illegal narcotics and prescription drugs unauthorized by a doctor. See here for “Street” Drugs and Prescription Drugs.
Penalties for Drug Crimes
Ever since the government declared a “War on Drugs” in the 1980’s, there has been a sustained effort to pursue drug convictions. As a result, the number of non-violent drug offenders in prison has skyrocketed.
Drug offenses in Fort Lauderdale are prosecuted as felonies with the exception of possessing a small amount of marijuana (under 20 grams) which is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The penalties imposed for a drug crime conviction in Florida vary depending on several key factors, including:
- Type of Drug: drugs in Florida are categorized in “schedules” from 1 to 5 based on severity and potential for abuse. Schedule 1 carries the most serious penalties, schedule 5 the least. Examples of schedules:
- Schedule 1: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, Ecstasy
- Schedule 2: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, OxyContin (oxycodone), ADD/ ADHD drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin
- Schedule 3: Vicodin, Codeine, anabolic steroids, testosterone
- Schedule 4: Xanax, Valium, Ambien
- Schedule 5: Robitussen, cough suppressants
- The quantity of drug: the higher the quantity of a drug, the more severe the penalty.
- Purpose for which the drug was used: a simple possession of a controlled substance is less severe than the sale, distribution, manufacturing or trafficking of drugs
Alternative Sentencing Options:
If you are a first-time non-violent drug offender and are struggling with addiction, Attorney Mahersohn can pursue alternative sentencing that focuses on treatment and education versus incarceration.
- drug treatment programs
- drug counseling
- drug court
- substance abuse courses
- community service
Florida Drug Crimes Charges
Possession of a Controlled Substance:
This is the most common drug crimes charge in Florida and includes being in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. Actual possession means having the illegal drug in your hand or somewhere else on your person (pocket, wallet, purse, etc). Constructive possession means the drug was found in your vicinity or in an area over which you had control.
Producing or intending to produce an amount of a controlled substance that exceeds the amount considered for personal use. This may include operating a meth lab, cultivating marijuana,
Intent can be proven if there is evidence of tools or chemicals that could be used to create a controlled substance
Drug Manufacturing Penalties:
- Marijuana cultivation is punishable by up to 5 years and up to $5,000 in fines
- Drug manufacturing of Heroin, Codeine, Morphine, Cocaine, Opium, or Methadone is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
- Drug manufacturing of Peyote or Methamphetamine is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Penalties can be enhanced if you manufactured a substance within 1,000 feet of property child care facility or middle school.
The intentional sale, purchase, delivery, manufacturing of large quantities of an illegal substance. Because trafficking in Florida is based on the weight of the drug, a simple possession of a drug can be charged with trafficking if the weight of the drug exceeds a certain threshold.
Drug Trafficking Penalties:
All trafficking offenses are first-degree felonies that carry mandatory sentences ranging from 3-25 years in state prison.
Possible Defense Strategies for Drug Crimes:
At Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense, we can fight the drug crimes charges against you by using a variety of litigation strategies. We will scrutinize the circumstances leading up to your arrest to identify any actions taken by law enforcement that may be considered improper or violated your rights.
Illegal Traffic Stop: If your arrest stemmed from a traffic stop, the officer must have had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull your vehicle over. If there is no probable cause, any evidence obtained after the stop may be deemed inadmissible.
Illegal Search and Seizure: The fourth amendment protects you from search and seizures conducted without probable cause. An officer cannot start searching your car, home, or person without your consent or a search warrant. The exception is if drugs or paraphernalia are in plain sight, in which case an officer may seize and use as evidence.
If the evidence obtained against you was obtained without a search warrant, Attorney Mahersohn can file a motion to suppress evidence, which may result in the prosecution dropping the charges against you.
Drugs Belong to Someone Else
Challenge Crime Lab Analysis: the prosecution must send the substance found to a lab to prove that the substance they seized is, in fact, the illicit drug they claim it to be.
Entrapment: if the police conducted a sting operation aimed at getting you to sell drugs to an informant or undercover officer, you are a victim of entrapment.
If you have been charged with a drug offense in Fort Lauderdale, you owe it to yourself and to your future to obtain the best defense possible. Call Leah Mayersohn today to discuss the specifics of your situation: 954-400-5000