The FBI reports that in 2011, law enforcement made 12,408,899 arrests in the U.S., of which the highest number, 1,531,251, were for drug abuse violations. Florida State Law proscribes harsh penalties for drug possession and distribution:
- Penalties range from a minimum $500 fine and 100 hours community service for some minor offenses to up to $200,000 in fines and 30-year jail sentences for trafficking high quantities of drugs.
- Penalties increase if the crime occurs near a childcare facility, place of worship, and/or causes harm to a child under the age of 16.
- Abuse of prescription medications is a third degree felony in Florida. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence estimates that nearly 20% of the U.S. population has abused prescription drugs, defined as taking a medication in any way that varies from a doctor’s prescription (taking higher or more frequent doses than prescribed, injecting or snorting, or taking in combination with other drugs, including alcohol). You can be charged for driving under the influence (DUI) if drugs impair driving, even if they were legally prescribed to you.
- If you are convicted of any drug offense in Florida, you face a mandatory two-year driver’s license suspension.
The vast majority of people who sell drugs are doing so to support their own drug addiction. Very few are true dealers that make a good living selling drugs. The days of “Scarface” and “Miami Vice” are long over. Very few, if any, of my client’s accused of selling or trafficking in drugs own homes, boats, and airplanes.
America has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world, and it is in large part based on our penchant for jailing drug addicts. Every imaginable study has shown that “warehousing” citizens for drug addiction versus getting them help is a waste of money and frankly is inhumane.
Our office has an excellent success rate with these cases, and we often get charges reduced or dismissed. Many of our clients enter treatment programs in exchange for a lenient sentence, or have their cases dismissed entirely if we are able to demonstrate that the police search was unconstitutional. We also have had much success negotiating with the court to avoid driver’s license suspensions.
In Florida, a conviction for even a minor drug offense becomes public record and can have a serious impact on your future. If you or someone close to you has been arrested for a drug crime, our firm can give you an honest assessment as to the best course of action.