Charged With Cocaine Possession In Florida: What’s Next?
While fentanyl and the opioid epidemic continue to plague much of the country, many criminal charges are still brought in the State of Florida for possession of cocaine. In Florida, prosecutors can charge defendants in possession of small quantities of cocaine with a third-degree felony. If you were charged with possession or distribution of cocaine, you need legal counsel. Attorney Bryant Scriven has represented hundreds of clients for drug offenses including possession of cocaine, and if retained, will assist you to lower or dismiss charges brought against you if at all possible.
Penalties for Possession
If a defendant is stopped with cocaine on his person, he can be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries a five-year prison sentence and an additional five thousand dollars in fines. If convicted, a defendant may face difficulties obtaining employment, securing housing or a loan to attend college. Drug charges also carry a stigma that can be difficult to shake off. Possession with intent to distribute cocaine is charged as a second-degree felony, with penalties ranging from five to fifteen years in prison in addition to hefty fines. Prosecutors may charge a defendant with intent to sell or distribute depending on the quantity of the controlled substance present at the time of the arrest, or if police also seized additional evidence like small baggies, a measuring scale, or large sums of cash. Sometimes prosecutors seek to charge defendants who lack the intent to sell a controlled substance like cocaine because a conviction carries higher penalties. That’s why it is crucial you hire a skilled defense attorney as soon as possible after you have been charged with a criminal offense.
What are Your Options?
If this is your first offense, it’s possible charges could be lowered, but this is dependent on the circumstances of the arrest. You may also have a viable defense depending on where and how you were arrested. One of the crucial areas of the law regarding drug possession is whether a defendant has actual or constructive possession. Drugs found in a shared apartment or even a vehicle used for carpooling suggests that someone else is responsible. Only drugs found on a person, in their pockets for example, is truly actual possession. If you were subject to an illegal search and seizure, it’s possible that any evidence obtained during the illegal search could be suppressed, warranting a dismissal of charges against you. It’s also possible you may qualify for entry to a diversion program if you were charged with simple possession and it is your first drug related offense. However, in order for charges to be dropped, you must complete all requirements of the diversion program, it’s possible charges could be lowered or dismissed. In Florida, diversion is referred to as felony pre-trial intervention. Even if you are not eligible for diversion, Attorney Scriven will advocate on your behalf so that you receive a more favorable plea deal or lesser sentence, depending on the circumstances.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have been charged with drug possession or possession with intent to sell, it is crucial you retain counsel to preserve your civil rights and start investigating the state’s charges against you. The burden of proof to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecution, and in Florida, drug charges are taken extremely seriously. Even if charges are dropped, defending a criminal charge can be damaging to your career and reputation. Don’ t try to go it alone. Attorney Bryant Scriven is a seasoned Tampa criminal defense attorney who can assist you with your claim and obtain the most favorable results on your behalf. Call today to schedule a consultation.