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Florida is one of the few states that classifies the simple possession of certain drugs as a felony, and cocaine is one of those drugs. The Florida cocaine possession law is extremely harsh and outdated, but that does not stop police officers from making arrests, and state’s attorneys from prosecuting cases. If you have been charged with possession of cocaine do not gamble with your future by expecting a dismissal or a slap on the wrist when you show up to court. Defendants charged with cocaine possession can face jail time and the possibility of being a convicted felon, which makes it extremely important to consult with an experienced lawyer. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who specializes in cocaine possession charges, and he has successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with drug possession. Benjamin is available for a free consultation anytime at (954) 543-0305, and he has flexible meeting hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices. If you are facing drug charges in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie County contact Benjamin to learn what defenses may be available in your case.
Under Florida law the state can prove possession of cocaine in one of two ways. Actual possession means that the cocaine was found on the defendant, such as in a pants pocket, backpack or hidden in a sock or underwear. Actual possession can also be established if the drugs were found on the ground but the officer testifies that he or she saw the defendant discard them. Constructive possession means that the cocaine was not recovered on the defendant, but in a way that indicated the defendant knew it was there and had some control over it. Constructive possession cases are common when police search a vehicle and find drugs in a glove compartment, center console or under a seat, and there were multiple passengers in the car. They are also common in cases where officers enter a home pursuant to a search warrant or an invitation. More than one person can be charged with constructive possession of one single piece of contraband, which is why simply telling an officer the drugs aren’t yours will not fly. There are numerous defenses available in constructive possession cases such as lack of knowledge or establishing an illegal search. In addition, police rarely test drug evidence for fingerprints, so they will not have direct physical evidence tying a piece of contraband to a defendant. Benjamin has prevailed in numerous cocaine possession cases in Florida, and understands all the applicable defenses to argue. He never backs down from a jury trial if the state is unwilling to negotiate an acceptable resolution.
There is no minimum amount of cocaine that the state must establish in order to prove a possession case. Unfortunately, this results in thousands of unjust cocaine possession charges for trace amounts of drugs. Residue on a pipe or trace of amounts of powder in a bag is still a felony in Florida, but Benjamin will fight to have these charges dismissed or reduced. Possession of cocaine is a third-degree felony, which means it carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. If police find a large amount of cocaine, or multiple baggies the defendant will likely be charged with possession with intent to distribute. If a person is found with more than 28 grams, he or she could face drug trafficking charges that carry a potential mandatory sentence. Benjamin handles all cocaine charges in South Florida and along the Treasure Coast, and is standing by to give advice on how to prevail in your case. He represents Florida residents, and also has extensive experience representing out of state defendants that are in Florida for business or visiting as tourists. Call Benjamin to set up a consultation at (954) 543-0305.