Recently, Sarasota criminal defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel assisted a woman in Hardee County when some very serious charges put her criminal record and her freedom in jeopardy. In order to separate herself from the residents of a shared home, the woman in question moved into a trailer on the rural property; however, it was not far enough. Eventually, police officers executed a warrant for the residence, which also included the trailer and some marijuana was discovered. While a marijuana possession charge is significant for anyone as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, the woman’s problems were compounded by the officers’ allegations that she attempted to conceal the marijuana by putting it down the sink during the search. This consequently resulted in an additional charge of tampering with evidence that could potentially send her to jail for a total of five years. This woman, who had no prior criminal history and some significant medical issues was desperate for help and eventually came to the experienced legal professionals at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. for a consultation.

After thoroughly reviewing the circumstances surrounding the incident and by getting to know her client personally, it was clear to attorney Valcarcel that this woman was using the marijuana to treat her medical issues. While Florida does not permit the legal use of medical marijuana like many other states, attorney Valcarcel believed that this contributing factor was important and should be brought to light. Therefore, she zealously negotiated with the prosecution and despite the additional felony tampering charge, the prosecution relented and agreed to enroll her client in a pre-trial intervention program. As such, this client’s wise decision to choose a compassionate and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, like Erika Valcarcel, saved her from any time behind bars and after completing some required drug diversion classes and treatment, all the charges against her will be dismissed, and she will eventually be eligible for expungement.

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