TAMPA DRUG CRIME LAWYER
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime, you already know firsthand how serious it is. Oftentimes, law enforcement is predisposed to arrest individuals for drug-related offenses based on certain biases. Officers involved in drug-related cases will also force you to answer relentless questions to break down your defenses. In some cases where the charges violate federal law, drug arrests can even lead to federal charges.
Fortunately, if you are facing a drug-related offense, there is hope. Call our Tampa drug crime attorney at Buda Law today at 813-322-2832 for representation that’s tough, fair, and will never stop fighting for you. Our firm has the experience you need and is committed to protecting your freedom.
Types of Drug Charges in Florida
In the state of Florida, there are numerous drug crimes an individual may be arrested for. These drug charges may be related to controlled substances including marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin, prescription drugs, and more.
At Buda Law, our Tampa drug crime lawyers defend clients against charges of:
- Drug cultivation
- Drug possession
- Drug possession with intent to distribute
- Drug trafficking
- Drug distribution
- Prescription fraud
- Drug DUI
Drug cultivation is a serious drug crime in Florida and is often tried as a second-degree felony. With a second-degree felony offense, a defendant with a guilty verdict can face $5,000 in fines and a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. However, if a defendant is found with a grow house and over 24 cannabis plants, this can carry a possibility of 15 years in prison. If children are found living in the same place as the grow house, the offense can become a first-degree felony with increased penalties.
In a drug cultivation criminal trial, it’s important to have experienced legal representation like Buda Law on your side. Defendants have constitutional rights, such as the fourth amendment, to protect against any illegal search of their home. Our experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys know the law and what police procedures law enforcement officers must follow.
With a seasoned Tampa criminal defense lawyer on your side, it is extremely possible to build a case that pokes holes in the prosecution’s strategy. We may be able to craft a defense based on unlawful search and seizure, produce evidence showing that the drugs in question were planted, argue that the drugs in question did not belong to you, or even make a case for entrapment. Whichever defense fits the circumstances of your case, it is essential to hire an attorney, so make sure to call Buda Law today!
Is Drug Possession a Felony in Florida?
In Florida, drug possession can be a misdemeanor or a felony drug offense depending on the type and amount of drug found in your possession. Felony drug possession in Florida is either first or third degree with first-degree bringing the most severe penalties.
Depending on the amount of drug found in your possession possible penalties include:
- First-degree felony: hefty fines and/or up to 30 years of incarceration
- Third-degree felony: hefty fines and/or up to five years of incarceration
Between 2021 and 2022, there were over 107,000 deaths in the US due to drug overdoses. Many researchers will tell you that drug overdoses have become an epidemic in this country. It is for that reason that Florida law has become strict on drug trafficking. The charges that stem from trafficking can also have collateral consequences. Vehicles, homes, and money can be seized if they are proven to be linked to the drug trade.
Drug trafficking can be explained as the intentional sale, manufacture, delivery, purchase, possession, or transportation of a certain amount of drugs. A judge in drug trafficking cases has to abide by the statutory guidelines that are set on drug trafficking laws. There are minimum years in prison that are required to be served in these cases.
There is a minimum threshold amount of illegal drugs that are needed to be charged with drug trafficking. For example, marijuana is 25 or 300 plants, whereas hydrocodone is 14 grams. As the amount of illegal drugs increases, the minimum/mandatory sentence will increase as well. If you are arrested with the minimum amount of illegal drugs, you can face 3 years in prison but can face up to 25 years if the amount is higher. Over 30 kilograms of heroin can result in a 500,000 fine and life in prison.
There are defenses to drug trafficking charges such as entrapment or illegal searches and seizure. Another common method is substantial assistance. It is not a defense but it is used to avoid the minimum or mandatory prison sentence. The state attorney’s office can ask the court to reduce or suspend a sentence if they are willing to provide names of others who traffic or sell drugs. It does require the defendant to provide a certain amount of names to help police officers make arrests.
In Florida, a person can be charged with drug distribution if they are reselling, buying, transporting, or manufacturing a certain amount of a controlled substance. Because the intent is to sell these controlled substances to others, the penalty is more severe than other possession for personal use drug crimes.
Defendants will face charges based on what controlled substance they were found in possession of at the time of the arrest. Marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and heroin have different fines and prison sentences. They also vary by the amount of drugs that a defendant is in possession of.
For example, marijuana charges for 25 to 2,000 pounds can result in 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, but if the amount is over 2,000 pounds, a 7 year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine can be enforced. LSD and heroin are more serious illegal drugs and can lead to a $500,000 fine and 15 years in prison. A defendant with a drug conviction of cocaine distribution can face anywhere from 3 to 7 years in prison and a fine that varies between $50,000 to $100,000.
The prosecution’s case, in drug distribution crimes, has to be strong against a defendant. There are elements of distribution that must be proven in drug distribution crimes. The prosecution has to prove intent and also they have to prove that the drugs were a controlled substance.
If you are arrested with illegal drugs, contact an experienced Tampa drug attorney at Buda Law Firm. We can help you sort through the charges and work on your defense.
Prescription drugs can lead to drug addiction. Florida law is fighting opioid abuse by shutting down “pain clinics” that were operating unlawfully. Unfortunately, many defendants in drug crime cases went to these clinics in search of help for their pain but ended up addicted to the drugs prescribed.
In Florida, prescription fraud covers many different cases. If you are caught going to many different doctors to get the same prescription, that is considered doctor shopping. It can result in the loss of certain rights and a five year prison sentence.
Other drug crime cases involving prescription fraud are illegal possession of a prescription form, obtaining a prescription in a fraudulent manner, and possession of a prescription drug. These drug offenses carry different penalties and are also based on prior drug offense convictions.
What are the Penalties for Drug Crime Charges in Florida?
Although Hollywood might have you believe that Florida is full of drug lords ala Scarface, the reality is there are many individuals who have been unfairly targeted for drug crimes by the penal-carceral system. Making matters worse is the fact that sentencing for drug crimes is notoriously harsh. For instance, a conviction for drug possession in the state of Florida may result in anywhere between 1-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, depending on the nature of the offense and whether the accused has a criminal record. And this is to say nothing of federal drug charges, which under federal sentencing guidelines, can result in 10 years to life in prison depending on whether you are convicted with intent to traffic. It is up to the prosecution to prove intent.
In certain drug crimes, a person may lose their home, vehicle, and any money that was shown to be acquired by the drug trade. This will affect not only the person charged but also their family. It may be very hard for an individual to recover their possessions after they have been seized.
Child custody can also be affected if a parent/guardian is arrested on drug charges. Children can go into foster care or in the care of a family member. After a parent is convicted of drug crimes, they will have to prove they are fit to care for their child. DHR will then become involved to do drug tests and visit the home to ensure it is safe for the child.
When a person is convicted of a felony, their life is forever changed. It may result in losing the right to vote, drive, child custody, and employment opportunities. A felony conviction can also cause a loss in the right to own firearms. If you are in the healthcare field, a drug felony may lead to the loss of your healthcare license. Colleges also look at the criminal records of financial aid applicants to ensure their background is clean.
How a Tampa Drug Crimes Attorney at Buda Law Can Help
When facing drug crime charges, there are many factors that go into the prison time, fines, and possible seizure of property. Hiring an experienced drug crime attorney will help to minimize the impact of the drug charge on your life. Buda Law Firm defense attorneys know the law involving drug crimes. Our defense attorneys can review the evidence and how it was attained.
In some cases, a defendant may be eligible for a diversion program. First-time drug offenders can be enrolled in the drug pretrial intervention program. This program helps with substance abuse and can also lead to the felony offense being dropped. An experienced Tampa drug crime attorney can assist defendants before trial to work out an arrangement with the state attorney’s office.
Illegal searches and seizures can result in charges being dismissed against a defendant. If a warrant was not attained before police officers searched a home, the law was not followed. In some cases, a warrant is not needed, so it’s important to hire an attorney who can find out all the details of your arrest.
A plea bargain can be reached before trial. This means that the defendant can plead guilty to a lesser charge. A judge has the authority to reject or agree to a plea deal. They will take into account the charges and the criminal record of the accused. An experienced drug attorney like Andrew Buda can talk with the judge on your behalf and work out all the details.