drug charges explained

 

Florida Statute 893


Cocaine possession, cocaine delivery, cocaine trafficking, in fact all criminal cases filed in Florida in which the state seeks criminal sanction for possession of controlled substances begins with a study of Florida statute 893. Statute begins by defining the important words and phrases used in this chapter. In a prosecution for possession of cocaine or possession of any other controlled substance begins with an indictment, which is called prosecutor information, under this statute.


Controlled Substance Defined


Controlled substances encompass all chemicals, which are regulated under law as having a medicinal or psychotropic effect. These include cocaine, cocaine distillates in cocaine derivatives, synthetic heroin such as Demerol and other branded synthetic painkillers, oxycodone, MDMA, cannabis and other or newly created so-called designer drugs. The chemical names of these controlled substances can be found in schedule 1 and scheduled 2 of the statute. The regulations of controlled substances and the criminal statutes imposing sanctions exist both in federal law and Florida state law. If you are arrested you can be criminally prosecuted by either the US government in federal court or in state court. Because Florida has different jurisdictions, any criminal prosecution or arrest for possession of cocaine or possession of any other controlled substance can originate in any or both of the various jurisdictions in Florida. There is no bar to a criminal prosecution for the same substance in both federal and Florida courts. If you are arrested for possession of cocaine you can be initially processed in the Hillsborugh County jail, and then be transferred to federal custody for federal prosecution for sale or distribution of a controlled substance.


What is an Analog Controlled Substance?


The statute defines an analog chemical substance as a chemical derivative or related compound that is a controlled substance. What that means is that if you are in possession of a derivative or chemical analog of a controlled substance you can be prosecuted. Analogue substances are chemical copies of organic compounds, which are deemed by the legislature as subject to regulation. You're familiar with cocaine as they organic compound found in nature, it's analog would be synthetic cocaine' which are chemicals manufactured in a laboratory which have a clinical fact similar to cocaine. The so-called designer drugs are also considered analog controlled substances and is subject to all the criminal possession penalties which the legislature has created for possession of cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of MDMA, possession of Xanax and any other brand name or chemical analog.


What Does Possession Mean?


If you are arrested and charged with possession of cocaine the first thing that the police have to establish is that you have both actual knowledge of the controlled substance and physical possession or control. Possession of cocaine or possession of heroin or possession of any controlled substance requires the state to prove both actual knowledge and constructive possession of the substance. Possession is to elements both must be proven: they are knowledge and control. Once control do not have to be exclusive that is others can have control of a controlled substance and be mutually and jointly criminally responsible. If you are arrested you should contact a criminal defense attorney and discuss the legal elements of possession. There is no simple answer to the question can they convict me of possession? An experienced criminal defense attorney is your best source of information and guidance if you have been arrested and charged with a possession crime.


What Does Delivery Mean?


If you are arrested and charged with delivery of a controlled substance such as delivery of cocaine or delivery of heroin the state in effect is saying they can prove that you either actually did or attempted to transfer possession from yourself to another. Delivery crimes involve the sale and transfer of a controlled substance such as cocaine and cannabis. The law has three basic categories in which you can fall if you are arrested in Florida and charged with a controlled substance crime. Possession usually means having a personal use amount, if you have more than a personal use amount of any controlled substance the state can charge with delivery. Delivery means a transfer or attempted transfer of possession of a controlled substance. You can be charged with delivery of cocaine if the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you not only had possession of cocaine but you had the fully formed intent to transfer possession to another person. The law does not require that money be paid for you to be convicted of delivery of cocaine, delivery of heroin, or delivery of any controlled substance. If you give cocaine to another person you can be convicted of delivery of cocaine or heroin to another person you can be convicted of delivery of cocaine or delivery heroin. The law does not require there to be a sale, that is, a transfer for money, for delivery of cocaine to be charged.


What Does Manufacture Mean?


Manufacture means you can be convicted of preparation, compounding, cultivating or growing a controlled substance. Grow house cases involves charges of manufacture of cannabis when in fact there is no manufacturing process other than the natural growth of the cannabis plant. Grow house cases, involving marijuana plants carry very serious criminal penalties in Florida. The penalties are based on the number of plants and or the weight of cannabis. Manufacture of synthetic or analogue substances such as MDMA or ecstasy are also severely punished as either second-degree felonies or first-degree felonies. Manufacturing a controlled substance is treated very harshly by Florida laws. If you are arrested and charged with manufacture possession or delivery of a controlled substance such as cocaine you face criminal penalties of up to 30 years in prison if the weight or plant count is large. You must consult the statute or your criminal defense attorney to find out what waits or pill counts elevated possession of cocaine or possession of heroin to trafficking in cocaine or trafficking in heroin or trafficking in MDMA or trafficking in ecstasy or trafficking in any of the enumerated controlled substances. You should contact a criminal defense attorney for a complete explanation of the trafficking and controlled substances laws.


Federal Drug Crimes


The federal comprehensive drug abuse prevention and control act also known as the controlled substances act classifies the major controlled substances into five categories. Federal regulation and criminal sanctions for delivery of marijuana, delivery of cocaine, delivery of heroin, and all be punished in federal court. If you are facing federal drug charges involving distance drove substances you should immediately contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Florida federal criminal defense attorneys appear both in federal court for federal criminal charges and in state courts as well. Drug possession prosecutions in federal court usually involve punishment under the federal punishment guidelines. These guidelines are arithmetical formulas to determine the legal range of punishment if you are arrested and charged in federal court in Florida. If you are arrested in Florida and prosecuted in federal court for a drug related crime you should contact a federal criminal defense attorney.


How do Federal Prosecutions Differ From State Prosecutions in Florida?


Possession of cocaine or possession or possession of any controlled substances can be prosecuted under federal law in federal court.  Possession of cocaine can also be prosecuted in a state court. Federal law is different from state law. An experienced criminal defense attorney must be familiar with federal rules of evidence and federal court proceedings to be an effective advocate.  Rules Of Court differ between Florida courts and federal courts. Courtroom procedures different between federal court in state court and include rules of evidence as well as the various and varied criminal statutes that exists in the federal system and under state law. Federal prosecutions usually involve harsher treatment for possession of crack cocaine then in Florida courts. Federal prosecutions for delivery of controlled substances are usually more focused in that they are planned prosecutions undertaken by federal task force activities. If you will have concerns that you may be arrested for possession of a controlled substance you should contact a criminal defense attorney and arrange for a consultation to discuss any criminal exposure, which might exist.


What is Drug Court?


If you've been arrested for possession of cocaine you may be eligible for a drug court alternative sentence. Florida has made drug rehabilitation available to first-time offenders charged with possession of cocaine. Possession of cocaine always entails personal use amounts. If you have been charged with delivery of cocaine, or delivery of heroin you will not be eligible for a drug court alternative disposition. If you admitted to drug court you will be offered a jerk you to program under court supervision. The drug court program is a four stage rehabilitation program which can be completed in one year. If you successfully complete drug court the state will withdraw the charges. The most successful drug court graduates leave the court system with no criminal history, which is a very desirable outcome. If you have been arrested for possession of cocaine you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney and become informed as to the drug court option if available to you. You should speak with a criminal defense attorney familiar with drug court programs in the jurisdiction which is prosecuting the offender.


What is Drug Trafficking?


If you've been arrested and charged with drug trafficking state is seeking penalties which can impose a 30 year prison term. Trafficking charges are reserved for certain enumerated schedule 1 controlled substances. Trafficking charges are also filed if you have possession of certain weights in excess of personal use amounts and can be charged with delivery or attempted delivery of those products. The criminal laws in Florida impose 30 year to life sentences for trafficking in cocaine and trafficking in heroin or trafficking in any controlled substance such as MDMA or crack. The distinguishing characteristic which makes a traffic count is the weight of a controlled substance or the number of pills. In Florida trafficking varies between 4 g and 20 g 20 g 200 g and in excess of 400 g. They trafficking penalties go from 30 years to life in prison. You should speak with a criminal defense attorney for more information on drug trafficking prosecutions in Florida.


Changes in the Law


Florida laws are always being modified by the legislature. If you've been arrested and charged with a drug possession count, or possession of cocaine or possession of heroin you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The legislature imposes minimum mandatory sentences which started a mandatory one year, then a mandatory three-year, then a mandatory seven-year, 15 year and 25 year sentence for trafficking in controlled substances. Trafficking in cocaine can be a life penalty which means you will be sentenced to a term of years not to exceed life. In Florida a life sentence means a life sentence. Florida does not offer parole for persons convicted of life felonies. Your criminal history is also a factor in the department corrections holding you so you should always be mindful that any arrest which results in a conviction will enhance the sentencing aspect of any arrest for possession of cocaine or possession of heroin or possession of any controlled substance in Florida. Understanding the punishment code in Florida is something you should best discuss with a criminal defense attorney.


Drug Cases


I can provide you with aggressive and effective representation if you've been charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, heroin, crack cocaine, steroids, prescription fraud, possession of analogue controlled substances or any trafficking counts for possession and delivery file by the federal government.  Drug trafficking cases are both complex and compound. They involve aspects which cross into all areas of criminal law. Confidential informants are often used in Florida to effect arrest for possession of cocaine and possession of heroin. I can explain to you what a confidential informant means and how to defend yourself if a confidential informant is involved in your drug arrest. Search and seizure law is also an integrated part of any criminal defense if you've been charged with drug trafficking or delivery of cocaine or delivery of heroin.

 

Drug Trafficking Defense Strategies


Constitutional issues become extremely important in defending drug trafficking cases. Did law enforcement officials at the local, state or federal level operate within the constitutional boundaries of the law?

 

  • Did the police have a right to stop you?

     

  • Did they have a right and the proper authority to search you or your property?
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  • Was the search warrant properly executed?
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  • Was the confidential informant working off his own charges?
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  • Was the confidential information monitored by law enforcement?
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  • Was the informant credible? What is his or her past criminal record for drug dealing?
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We investigate the constitutional issues of each drug dealing and drug trafficking case thoroughly.

 

If you are in need of an attorney with drug charges experience, contact www.marybethcorn.com for a free consulation today.

 

The material on this page represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained here may be out of date. It is always best to consult a criminal defense attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

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