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Miami Drug Possession Lawyer
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Many people get arrested on a daily basis for cocaine and marijuana possession. The consequences can be extremely severe and life-altering.
The following are penalties for possession of marijuana:
- Less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor. You could face up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- More than 20 grams of marijuana is a third-degree felony. You could face up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Facing charges for drug possession? Get started on your defense today. Contact our Miami drug possession lawyer for your free consultation.
Penalties for Cannabis (Marijuana) Trafficking
Trafficking is defined under Florida criminal drug laws as, “Any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of X amount of a controlled substance or illegal drug.”
Marijuana trafficking laws punish the acts peddling, transporting, and illegal importing in or into the United States. State and federal marijuana trafficking/distribution laws and penalties differ according to volume, area of distribution, and juvenile targeting. Marijuana volumes are counted by weight or by the quantity of cannabis plants.
The following are marijuana trafficking offenses and their corresponding penalties:
- If you are convicted of trafficking marijuana in the amount of 25 to 2,000 pounds or 300 or more cannabis plants, you could face a 3-year minimum mandatory prison sentence and a $25,000 fine.
- If you are convicted of trafficking marijuana in the amount of 2,000 pounds but less than 10,000 pounds or 2,000 or more cannabis plants, you could face a 7-year minimum mandatory prison sentence and a $50,000 fine.
- If you are convicted of trafficking marijuana in the amount of 10,000 pounds or more or 10,000 or more cannabis plants, you could face a 15-year minimum mandatory prison sentence and a $200,000 fine.
Cocaine, also known as “coke or “blow,” is a white powder derived from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine is highly addictive and illegal in the United States. If you are caught producing, distributing, or packaging cocaine in any form, you face criminal prosecution and strict penalties, including but not limited to imprisonment. In addition, if you are adjudicated guilty by the court, your Florida driver’s license will be suspended for two years.
The penalties for possession of cocaine include:
- Up to five years of probation
- Up to five years in prison
- Fine of up to $5,000
Penalties for Cocaine Trafficking
A drug trafficking conviction can severely tarnish a person’s permanent criminal record. A conviction could make it difficult to gain employment, travel, or earn certain professional licenses. Keep in mind that if you are suspected of drug dealing or drug trafficking, the state of Florida will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. Therefore, retaining a Miami drug crimes attorney with the skill, legal knowledge, and trial experience to properly defend you is a necessity.
Quantities of cocaine are charged as trafficking by the amount calculated by weight in grams/kilograms.
The following are cocaine trafficking offenses and their corresponding penalties:
- If you are convicted of trafficking cocaine in the amount of 28 to 200 grams, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- If you are convicted of trafficking cocaine in the amount of 200 to 400 grams, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence of 7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
- If you are convicted of trafficking cocaine in the amount of 400 grams to 150 kilograms, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Heroin is an opiate made from the chemical morphine, which is extracted from the dried latex of the opium poppy. Heroin is highly addictive and illegal in the United States. If you are caught producing, distributing, or packaging heroin in any form, you face criminal prosecution and strict penalties, including but not limited to imprisonment.
Penalties for Possession of Heroin
More than 10 grams of heroin is a first-degree felony. You could face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Penalties for Heroin Trafficking
Quantities of heroin are charged as trafficking by the amount calculated by weight in grams/kilograms.
The following are heroin trafficking offenses and their corresponding penalties:
- If you are convicted of trafficking heroin in the amount of 4 to 14 grams, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
- If you are convicted of trafficking heroin in the amount of 14 to 28 grams, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
- If you are convicted of trafficking heroin in the amount of 28 grams to 30 kilograms, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The possession, distribution, and sale of heroin is an extremely severe criminal offense in the state of Florida. Persons convicted of dealing heroin in Florida can expect to face steep fines and other monetary penalties in addition to imprisonment. A heroin dealing conviction will become part of your permanent criminal record. A criminal background check for employment or other purposes will uncover it and this may bar you from certain jobs, travel visas, or licenses.
Possession with Intent to Sell
Possession with intent refers to the criminal charge for possession of an illicit drug with the purpose of selling the drug or controlled substance. Controlled substances include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc. When law enforcement suspects that an individual has committed the crime of possession with intent to sell, they do not have to show proof that the person sold any drugs. What they must prove is that the person “intended” to sell the drugs they had in their possession.
Some of the things law enforcement will look at to determine what to charge include, but are not limited to:
- The vicinity of the town
- The amount of cash in a person’s possession
- The quantity of drugs in a person’s possession
- If the drugs are packaged in many separate packages
Possible Penalties for Possession with Intent to Sell
The possible penalties for possession with intent to sell can be very serious. For instance, possession with intent to sell marijuana is a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison. Possession with intent to sell cocaine is a second-degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Common Drug Possession Defenses
If you were recently arrested for drug possession, you still have a chance to fight the charge against you by hiring a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling drug crimes. Remember, the prosecution must prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you were in possession of illegal drugs.
Your lawyer can thoroughly review your case and determine whether the arresting officer(s) violated your constitutional rights or if there are any weaknesses in the prosecutor’s argument against you. The main goal is to suppress any evidence prior to the start of trial.
If the evidence is not admissible, then the entire case will likely be thrown out. By contrast, if the evidence is not suppressed, then your attorney will attempt to either obtain an acquittal or reach a plea agreement to ensure you avoid harsh criminal penalties, such as jail time.
The following are the most common legal defenses to drug possession:
Unwitting possession – This defense asserts you were unaware you were in possession of illegal drugs, although they were found on your person. For example, you ask a friend if they can lend you their car for the day, and you had no idea there are drugs inside the vehicle, then you cannot be held responsible for actual drug possession if the police pull you over and find them. When it comes to constructive possession, such as finding drugs in a shared living space, you may also claim unwitting possession if the drugs do not belong to you.
Lack of possession – Another defense to constructive drug possession is “lack of possession,” especially when the “dominion and control” element (in which a person has an ability or intent to control the substance) is difficult for the prosecutor to prove. For instance, if you were pulled over in a car with several people in it and the police find drugs in the vehicle, it would be difficult to accuse only one person of drug possession.
Unlawful search and seizure – Law enforcement officials must follow certain rules – such as obtaining reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop or having probable cause or a warrant to arrest a suspect – to avoid violating a person’s constitutional rights, which means conducting lawful search and seizure procedures. Unless the drugs were found in plain view (e.g., on the passenger seat or on the dashboard), if the police performed a search without your consent, without establishing probable cause, or without a warrant, then any evidence gathered will be suppressed.
At the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A., we have more than 19 years of experience handling a wide range of drug crimes. Attorney Hernandez is a former prosecutor who understands how the court will approach your case and build an effective and personalized defense strategy to help you either avoid conviction or serving serious penalties, like jail time.
To schedule a free consultation with our drug possession attorney in Miami, call Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. today at (305) 400-0074 or contact us online.
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