Drug Crime Lawyer Miami, FL
Protecting You Against Drug Charges in FL
If you or someone you know has recently been charged with a drug crime in Miami or any of the surrounding communities, working with experienced legal representation should be your first priority.
The Miami drug crime defense attorneys at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. have more than 40 years of combined experience, are former prosecutors, and have handled the full range of drug crime cases. When you need to protect your rights, freedom, and future, place your trust in our proven lawyers.
Facing drug charges? Call (305) 330-1360to speak with our Miami drug crime lawyers!
What to Do After Being Arrested for a Drug Offense in FL
Being arrested for a drug crime can be scary. If you or a loved one is in this situation, taking certain steps throughout the process may help your case.
Below are some things you can do following an arrest:
- Stay calm: Being handcuffed by a police officer can bring up a range of emotions: frustration, fear, anger. But letting your feelings get the better of you in this situation can potentially hurt you in the long run. Using words or actions to try to stop the arrest can result in obstruction or resisting charges.
- Remain silent: During any interaction with the police, you’re only required to provide them with your personal identifying information. Beyond that, you can politely decline to give statements or answer questions. If you say anything, it can be used as evidence against you. It’s best to wait until you have an attorney present before speaking with law enforcement officials.
- Contact an attorney: You have a right to legal representation at all stages of your drug crime case, that includes during the arrest process. As alluded to above, a Miami drug crime attorney can advise and guide you on interacting with the police when they’re interrogating you. They can let you know how to answer questions or even if you should answer at all.
- Prepare for your defense: Once you’ve retained legal representation, you can begin working on a defense to fight your charge. Make sure you tell your Miami drug crime lawyer everything that led to your arrest, as every detail matters. For instance, if at any point a law enforcement official violated your rights, you may have grounds to have evidence in your case suppressed.
Florida Drug Schedules
Various types of drugs are on the street, and some are considered more dangerous than others. Florida separates the different controlled substances into five distinct groups (referred to as schedules). Schedule I contains drugs that are considered the most serious, and Schedule V are considered the least serious.
Florida Statute § 893.03classifies controlled substances as follows:
- Schedule I: These drugs don’t have an accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Substances classified in this group include but are not limited to:
- Cannabis, or marijuana
- Schedule II: These substances also have a high potential for abuse. Unlike Schedule I drugs, they have an accepted medical use, but dispensing and administering them is severely restricted. Schedule II substances are also likely to lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Drugs under this classification include but are not limited to:
- Schedule III: This group contains drugs that have an accepted medical use. They may cause abuse, but such a result is less likely than with Schedule I or II drugs. The potential for psychological or physical dependence is moderate. Substances in this classification include but are not limited to:
- Anabolic steroids
- Schedule IV: Compared to substances in the previous three schedules, the potential for abuse of these drugs is low. They also have an accepted medical use and are less likely to lead to physical or psychological dependence than Schedule III drugs. Schedule IV drugs include but are not limited to:
- Schedule V: There is an accepted medical use for these drugs. Compared to Schedule IV substances, the likelihood of abusing these drugs or becoming physically or psychologically dependent on them is low. Drugs in this group include but are not limited to:
- Substances with 200 milligrams or less of codeine per 100 milliliters or 100 grams
- Substances with 100 milligrams or less of opium per 100 milliliters or 100 grams
How Penalties for Drug Charges Are Determined in FL
If you’re found guilty of a drug crime, a court may sentence you to incarceration and/or fines. The severity of the offense and the schedule of the drug in question will determine the penalties you face. Being caught with a large quantity of a Schedule I substance will result in a heavier charge than being caught with a similar quantity of a Schedule V substance.
To illustrate this, below are the penalties for drug possession:
- Possession of a Schedule V drug is a second-degree misdemeanor penalized by:
- Up to 60 days in jail and/or
- Up to $500 in fines
- Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is a first-degree misdemeanor penalized by:
- Up to 1 year in jail and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Possession of a controlled substance is a third-degree felony penalized by:
- Up to 5 years in prison and/or
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Possession of more than 10 grams of certain Schedule I or II drugs is a first-degree felony penalized by:
- Up to 30 years in prison and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Drug Manufacturing in Florida
Drug manufacturing is a type of drug crime that refers to the production or creation of unlawful controlled substances. A person can be charged with drug manufacturing if he/she was found to be producing or creating illegal narcotics or if he/she is found in possession of precursor chemicals that are associated with the manufacturing of drugs.
What is Drug Cultivation?
The term "drug cultivation" refers to the growth, possession, and production of an illegal drug, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. In the United States, marijuana cultivation is the most common drug cultivation charge. If you were arrested for drug cultivation in Miami, Florida, you could face serious legal penalties, such as prison and probation.
Drug Manufacturing & Cultivation Charges in FL
Once a person has been arrested for manufacturing or cultivating drugs, he/she can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony drug offense. In most cases, the type and severity of criminal charges will depend upon:
- the type of drug being manufactured
- the amount of drug being manufactured
- if the drugs were manufactured with intent to sell
- the person’s criminal history
- if the person has prior drug crime convictions on his/her criminal record
If you been charged with this crime, you will need to speak with a reputable Miami drug manufacturing attorney who has prior experience handling drug manufacturing cases. Drug manufacturing is a serious drug crime that involves harsh legal consequences. Hager & Schwartz, P.A.'s skill in the area of defending against various drug crimes will work for your benefit. When the consequences are serious, you cannot afford to go through the process alone.
Florida Drug Cultivation Defense Strategies
As Miami drug manufacturing lawyers, our strategies may include:
- A thorough investigation of the arrest
- Scrutinizing police procedure for flaws
- Confirming the alleged drugs involved
- Identifying weaknesses in the prosecution
Proving a Drug Cultivation Case in FL
Prosecutors must demonstrate to facts to obtain a drug cultivation conviction:
- You possessed the controlled substance in question
- You intended to manufacture / cultivate the drug
Sentencing Enhancement Zones in Florida
If you are convicted for committing a drug offense near a sentencing enhancement zone, you will be sentenced to a three-year mandatory minimum jail sentence. This is in addition to other penalties such as fines, probation, driver’s license suspension, mandatory community service, and more.
Each state has different laws for where drug penalties may increase. If you commit a drug offense within 1,000 feet of one of the following locations in Florida, you face more severe criminal penalties. These include:
- Universities or college campuses
- Public housing complexes
It is important to note that a simple possession charge near one of these locations will not result in an enhanced sentence. The offenses that are covered include:
- Possession with intent to sell
Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences
Certain offenses require that the defendant be sentenced to spend a mandatory amount of time in jail. In these instances, the judge cannot alter the sentence to be less than the mandatory minimum amount. This type of sentencing has been highly criticized in recent years for requiring relatively low-level offenders to be incarcerated unnecessarily.
Alternative Sentencing for Florida Drug Crimes
In some cases, in lieu of incarceration, a person convicted of a drug crime may be eligible for alternative sentencing. This means that they would participate in a treatment program or other services designed to rehabilitate them and give them the skills they need to reenter society, reducing the risk of reoffending. Upon successful completion, their case would be dismissed.
Alternative sentencing programs may include:
- Participating in a drug education course
- Completing community service
- Attending a substance abuse course
- Receiving substance abuse education with a licensed provider
- Completing a drug abuse assessment
Individuals seeking this option must meet eligibility requirements. For instance, they must not have a criminal history and must have been charged with a specific crime. Additionally, they must submit their intent to participate to the prosecutor and may be required to go through an interview/screening to determine whether they’ll be accepted.
Our Miami drug crime defense lawyers can go over your eligibility for alternative sentencing, as well as discuss if it's the right option for you and your case.
Prescription Drug Crime Charges in Miami, FL
Drug crimes involve not just illegal street drugs but also prescription drugs. This is one of the fastest-growing types of drug trafficking in Florida, and it is commonly associated with charges of "doctor shopping."
Florida's laws concerning the possession of prescription drugs are extremely strict and open the door for prosecutors to charge offenders with "trafficking" offenses for carrying even a small amount of a prescription drug.
Some of the most common prescription drugs that are associated with drug crime arrests include:
The laws surrounding prescription drug cases can be interpreted differently and may be confusing for those who are not familiar with the criminal justice system. If you've found yourself with a prescription drug charge, don't wait to contact a drug crime lawyer.
What Is Doctor Shopping?
Doctor shopping is a crime that involves seeing a doctor for the purpose of obtaining prescriptions while not disclosing to that doctor that they already have multiple other prescriptions filled from another doctor.
This is a third-degree felony in Florida and is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000 fine.
Withholding information from a practitioner is becoming more and more popular as pain management clinics are growing in number throughout the state. As a result, law enforcement officers have started investigating innocent patients simply because they have received treatment prescribed by a medical professional.
Aggressive Defense from a Miami Drug Crime Lawyer
Drug crimes penalties will vary depending upon the offense itself, the type of drug, and the amount involved. In some cases, a drug crime conviction in Florida may result in up to 15 years imprisonment in a state correctional facility. In other cases (usually involving non-violent first-time offenders) alternative sentencing may be available in lieu of jail time. Your Miami drug crime attorney can review your particular case and determine what options may be available to you.
Defending any drug crime charge is not easy. It requires dedication, persistence and a thorough understanding of Florida case law and legislation involving all types of drug charges. At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our experienced Miami drug crime attorneys have what it takes to be effective. Let us show you how we can protect your rights and help you avoid conviction. We represent clients throughout all of Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas.
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