Drug crimes involve a vast spectrum of substances. Someone can be arrested for a drug crime in Florida if they have a controlled substance that they are not empowered to legally possess, make, distribute, or sell. Examples of controlled substances include cocaine, heroin, meth, and prescription drugs. If you are accused of a drug crime in South Florida, you should consult the Petkovich Law Firm. Miami drug crime lawyer Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich can get involved even before charges are filed, and she can provide vigorous representation.Drug Cases in State Court
Florida has five categories of controlled substances. These include both street drugs and prescription drugs like Xanax or Oxycodone. Schedule 1 drugs are those with a high potential for addiction and abuse, while Schedule 5 drugs have a relatively low potential for abuse.
Many activities involving these controlled substances are punished as drug crimes under state law. Prohibited activities include possessing, selling, distributing, or manufacturing controlled substances. If you possess less than 20 grams of marijuana, you may face misdemeanor charges. For most other drug crimes, you will face felony charges.
Actual or constructive possession may be used to establish drug possession charges. Actual possession occurs when you are caught while in physical possession of drugs. Constructive possession is more complicated. To establish that you had constructive possession of drugs, a prosecutor would need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to maintain control and dominion over them. For example, if you shared a house with several friends, and one of your friends kept drugs in the common area, but you were the person who was charged, the prosecutor would need to prove that you had control over the drugs at issue. A drug crime attorney in Miami may be able to argue that the prosecution cannot prove this element.Florida Drug Trafficking Charges
Under Florida state law, drug trafficking is charged in situations in which a threshold amount of a controlled substance is involved. Unlike with other drug crimes, a judge will not have full discretion over the sentence for trafficking. The judge must impose at least a certain minimum sentence, even if you do not have prior convictions.
Florida Revised Statutes Section 893.135 governs trafficking charges. If you have a threshold amount of a certain controlled substance, you can face trafficking charges even if it is your first contact with drugs. For example, if you knowingly buy, sell, make, deliver, or carry into Florida at least 28 grams of cocaine or a mixture that includes cocaine, you can face first-degree felony charges. If the amount at issue is 28 grams to 200 grams, you can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of incarceration for three years and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. Miami drug crime attorney Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich understands the high stakes in these cases and can fight tenaciously on your behalf.Federal Drug Crimes
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, there are five schedules of drugs. How easily these drugs are abused determines the schedule into which they fall. Generally, Schedule 1 drugs have a high potential for abuse. They may generate serious psychological dependence. Schedule 5 drugs are those with a low potential for abuse; they include Lyrica, Robitussin AC, and Motofen. Drug crimes under the Controlled Substances Act can involve simple possession, trafficking, drug manufacturing, conspiracy, continuing criminal enterprise crimes, and protected location offenses. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enforces the federal drug laws.
The federal government may get involved in investigating and bringing charges for drug crimes if a large quantity of drugs is involved. Federal drug trafficking crimes will be charged when a defendant is involved with more than a specific amount of a controlled substance.Retain an Experienced Drug Crime Attorney
Drug crimes are taken seriously by state and federal prosecutors. It is important to retain a knowledgeable drug crime lawyer in the Miami area if you are under investigation or if you have been charged. Ms. Petkovich has experience on both sides of criminal cases. Born and raised in Miami, she is a former prosecutor who represents people throughout South Florida. Call us at (305) 358-8003 or contact us via our online form.