Miami Drug Crime Defense Attorneys
Serving Clients Facing Drug Charges Throughout Miami
Being charged with a drug crime in Florida is a serious matter, since the state’s narcotics laws are among the toughest in the nation. While relatively minor drug possession charges can lead to jail time, a conviction for more a serious drug offense can result in a lengthy prison sentence, probation, and significant fines. If you have been accused of a drug crime, it helps to have an adept criminal defense attorney in your corner.
At Valiente Law, we are knowledgeable in the applicable state and federal narcotics laws and are highly regarded for providing our clients with aggressive legal representation. We routinely handle drug crimes ranging from possession of marijuana to manufacturing, distribution or trafficking of dangerous drugs to prescription fraud.
Drug Charges in Florida
There are a variety of criminal drug charges in Florida, including:
- Possession — Charges ultimately hinge on whether the drugs are classified as dangerous narcotics (heroin, PCP) or non-dangerous and the amount found in your possession
- Distribution — The sale, distribution, or conspiring to sell or distribute, illegal narcotics
- Manufacturing — Manufacturing controlled substances such as crack cocaine or methamphetamines, possessing materials to manufacture illegal drugs, or cultivation of marijuana
- Trafficking — The the intentional sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transportation into Florida of a large amount of narcotics, carries mandatory minimum sentences
- Prescription Fraud — Using fake or forged prescriptions to obtain opioids, tranquilizers, or other prescription medication, or “pharmacy shopping,” attempting to fill legitimate prescriptions at multiple pharmacies
Because the penalties for drug crimes depend on factors such the nature of the crime (possession for use as opposed to manufacturing), and the quantity involved, it is crucial to have the advice and guidance of an experienced Florida drug crimes attorney.
Illegal narcotics are divided into five schedules based on federal classifications that consider a drug’s known medical use and potential to be abused. The classifications are as follows:
Schedule I — Drugs with no known medicinal use and that may likely to lead to dependency such as heroin, psilocybin (mushrooms), MDMA (ecstasy or Molly), peyote, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
Schedule II — Substances with some accepted medical use, but are also likely to be abused, including codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, oxycontin, opium, methamphetamine, cocaine and methadone
Schedule III – Drugs with some accepted medical purpose, but pose a moderate risk of abuse, such as barbiturates, anabolic steroids, or medicines containing small amounts of codeine.
Schedule IV – Prescription anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Zolpidem, and Ambien
Schedule V – Substances containing limited quantities of narcotics, or one or more non-narcotic active medical ingredient, often found in over-the-counter medicines, cough syrups and cold medications
Despite the fact that the use of medical marijuana with a prescription and license has been permitted in Florida since 2017 (with numerous restrictions), marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug under federal law. As such, recreational use remains illegal federally and in Florida. Currently, possession of 20 grams or less, or possession of paraphernalia (rolling papers, pipes, etc) is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine up to $1,000.
Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony, however. Carrying up to 25 pounds can lead to a five-year prison sentence, while holding more than 25 pounds (but less than 2,000 pounds) is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $25,000 fines. Possession of these amounts may also lead to drug trafficking charges. Possessing marijuana plants is also unlawful and the punishment depends on the number of plants involved. Finally, there are enhanced penalties for possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or park, up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Florida Drug Crime Penalties
The penalties for drug crimes in Florida depend on factors such as the classification and amount, whether the drugs were intended for personal use or distribution, or whether the accused has prior drug convictions or other felony offenses. In short, convictions may lead to imprisonment, fines, probation, as well as the loss of your driving privileges:
- Possession — Possession of more than 10 grams of a Schedule 1 drug is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000, or both. Possession of any other controlled dangerous substance is a third-degree felony which could lead to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000 or both.
- Drug Trafficking — The intentional sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transportation of a controlled substance above statutory weight limits. Punishment depends on the classification and amount, from a minimum of 3 years in prison and fines up to $50,000 to a maximum of a life sentence without parole.
Miami Drug Crimes Attorney
Valiente Law defends clients against drug crimes in Florida ranging from simple marijuana possession to the trafficking or manufacturing of controlled substances. We leverage our knowledge of state and federal narcotics laws and investigative skills to build defense strategies that lead to successful outcomes.
If you were charged with possession of marijuana, for example, prosecutors must be able to show that you were knowingly in possession of the drug. Often, these cases involve mistakes or procedural violations by the arresting officer, most notably, illegal search and seizure. This can occur when you are stopped by police without justification, such as speeding or another traffic violation, when you did not commit the original traffic offense for which you were initially stopped. Similarly, the arresting officer may have failed to read your Miranda Warnings (“You have a right to remain silent,” etc.).
Regardless of the narcotics charges you are facing, a conviction can jeopardize your freedom and cause long-lasting damage to your standing in the community. Our legal team will work tirelessly to have the charges against you dismissed or to win an acquittal at trial. Depending on the strength of the evidence against you, we may seek to have the charges reduced. If you are being investigated for or have been charged with a drug crime in Florida, don’t go it alone as the potential consequences are serious. Call Valiente Law today or complete the online contact form to set up a free consultation.