Florida drug laws are some of the strictest in the country. If you are ever caught with drugs or drug paraphernalia, there is a strong chance that you will be arrested and face significant fines, a lengthy driver’s license suspension, probation, and drug treatment. Depending on the type and amount, the drug you are caught with could send you to jail or prison for years.
However, your civil rights give you the chance to defend yourself in court. Knowing that, here are some ways to attempt to dismiss or drop the drug charges if the prosecution cannot put together a solid case.
1. Plea Deals
Florida’s numerous seaports make it ripe for importing illegal substances, meaning that it has some of the highest numbers of drug arrests, charges, and convictions in the country. To avoid overloading prisons, Florida’s courts are looking for ways to enforce laws but reduce the number of incarcerations. That’s when plea deals come into the mix.
You plead guilty to some charges, and the court drops the others. Or, you plead guilty, and your charges stay, but the punishments are lessened. Each case is unique, and the type of deal you are offered depends on what drugs you had, the amount, whether you were part of a violent crime, and other factors.
2. Pre-trial Diversion Programs
Another way that the state tries to reduce the number of cases that make it to court is the Florida Drug Court program. This is designed to significantly reduce crime, provide better treatment outcomes, and produce better cost benefits than other criminal justice strategies.
Programs like these are great at getting charges dismissed for first-time offenders, non-violent offenders, veterans, and others.
3. Law Enforcement Misconduct
Despite what you might hear from police as they attempt to get you to confess to a crime, they cannot just do whatever they want. For example, if police enter your home without a warrant and start to search around, they have broken the law.
It sounds crazy that the authorities might overstep legal boundaries, but it is not uncommon. Officers are busted for excessive force, unlawful search and seizure, unlawful arrest, and other infractions more often than you think.
Your charges could be dismissed if your drug defense attorney can prove that the cops are guilty of law enforcement misconduct.
4. Lack of Knowledge (disputing possession)
You might just get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. You could have a friend’s property and have no clue that drugs are in it or driving their car and encounter the same circumstance.
While you will still be arrested, you can argue to get the charges dropped. This depends on whether you can prove that you were in active or constructive possession of the items.
What is active possession?
Active possession means you had the drugs on you. Whether you intend to use, distribute, or hold them for a friend, you fall into this category if they are found on your person.
Constructive possession means you have control over the substance, but it is not in your immediate possession. So, you might have some in your glove box or your house.
5. Lack of Evidence
Finding drugs might mean that there will be arrests, but not necessarily convictions. Any evidence that is collected must be directly tied to all convictions.
Anything circumstantial or indirectly tied to the case could be thrown out. If there is a considerable lack of evidence, the charges could be dropped.
Turn to a Sarasota, FL Drug Defense Lawyer for Help
These are some of the most common ways that you could get your drug charges dismissed. However, a reasonable drug defense attorney will know all the laws inside and out and find numerous ways to help lessen your punishment or get it thrown out altogether.
Call Sarasota drug defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel immediately if you face a drug charge. Erika has helped countless clients over the years who are in situations like yours. Contact her online or call her at (941) 363-7900 to schedule an initial consultation.View All Blogs