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Florida has some of the harshest drug laws in the country, and is behind many other states on policies related to the decriminalization of marijuana and simple possession of other controlled substances. If you have been charged with or are under investigation for any drug offense in South Florida and along the Treasure Coast contact criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst for a free consultation. Benjamin specializes in defending clients who are charged with drug offenses in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie County, and he has secured numerous dismissals and jury trial acquittals all over the state. Do not gamble with your future by going to court without a skilled and experienced lawyer, and never speak to law enforcement without representation. Benjamin fights to have his client’s cases dismissed or reduced the moment he is hired, and he continues to fight for the best possible outcome at all stages of the case. He does not back down from taking a case to jury trial if an acceptable resolution is not in the cards, and will never advise a client to plead guilty unless it is absolutely the best decision after all other options have been explored.
Generally speaking, drug offenses can be divided into two categories. The most common and least serious drug crimes include any offenses regarding simple possession of a controlled substance. Marijuana is still a controlled substance under federal and state law, so simple possession of even a small amount of marijuana is a crime in Florida. Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is not only a criminal offense, but it is a fairly serious criminal offense. Lawmakers have consistently refused to not only decriminalize simple possession of pot, but they haven’t lowered the maximum penalty upon conviction. Simple possession is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail. If that seems harsh, the laws regarding other offenses are even worse. Florida is one of the few states that still classifies simple possession of any controlled substance outside of marijuana and some other drugs such as codeine and bath salts as a felony. Possession of trace amounts of cocaine, a single capsule of heroin or fentanyl, or one oxycodone pill are all classified as felonies. Police will even charge a suspect with felony possession of cocaine or heroin if they recover a piece of paraphernalia with a trace amounts of drugs. This includes syringes, spoons and pipes. Possession does not mean that the drugs were found on the person, as constructive possession supports charges when the drugs were found in any area where the defendant is alleged to have knowledge or control over. The laws are unfair and harsh, but you can fight back by hiring a skilled South Florida drug possession lawyer. Benjamin has by has won numerous drug possession jury trials and is standing by to fight for you.
Florida law provides harsh punishment for anyone accused of selling, manufacturing, distributing and possessing with intent to sell controlled substances. Manufacturing includes the production of methamphetamine and growing marijuana, regardless of how many plants are alleged to have been cultivated. Possession with intent to sell drugs is perhaps more common and easier to prove than actual distribution, and carries the same maximum penalties. The penalty depends on the type of drug, and in some cases the amount and the location of the alleged crime. A standard distribution or possession with intent charge is a second-degree felony with a 15-year maximum penalty for narcotics such as heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl and cocaine. The maximum penalty for offenses related to marijuana and some hallucinogens like mushrooms and MDMA is a third-degree felony with a maximum five years in prison. Possession with intent only requires that the defendant possessed a drug in a sufficient quantity or in a manner that would indicate intent to sell. This is a broad definition that gives police officers a great deal of discretion in charging a suspect. Sometimes it only comes down to the opinion of one police officer, but Benjamin will fight to have these charges dismissed or reduced. He is a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in drug distribution and possession with intent, and has won numerous felony drug trials in South Florida.
A defendant may face enhanced penalties with mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that fall under certain categories. Distribution or possession with intent to sell within 1000 feet of a daycare facility, church or school is a first-degree felony with a 3-year mandatory prison sentence upon conviction. This mandatory sentence must be served day for day, and there is no parole or early release authorized by law. The Florida drug trafficking laws also provide mandatory prison sentences for anyone convicted of distribution or possession with intent to distribute large amounts of controlled substances. Mandatory sentences begin at 3 years, and then jump incrementally to 7, 15 and 25-years depending on the total amount of drugs seized. The threshold for marijuana trafficking is 25 pounds and for cocaine it is 28 grams. Heroin, morphine and fentanyl has a 4-gram threshold for trafficking, while oxycodone as a 7-gram threshold for the lowest drug trafficking penalties to apply. These charges are extremely serious and should only be handled by a skilled and experienced South Florida lawyer who specializes in drug trafficking cases. Benjamin Herbst is available 7 days a week to offer a free consultation on the defenses that may be available in your Florida drug case, and he has flexible meeting hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach office locations.