Tampa Drug Crime Lawyer
Despite attempts to decriminalize or reform the harshest criminal penalties for drug addicts and low-level drug offenders, the war on drugs is alive and well and raging in the state of Florida. Many drug crimes in Florida are charged as felonies, and a conviction could send you to prison for five, 15 or 30 years, not to mention thousands of dollars in fines along with asset seizure and forfeiture. Tampa drug crime lawyer David Faulkner is a former Florida criminal prosecutor and FBI Special Agent with 25 years of experience practicing in the field of Florida criminal law. If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime in Tampa, Hillsborough County or surrounding areas, you have options. Call the Faulkner Law Group for practical legal advice and effective representation toward a positive result after a Tampa drug arrest.
Possession and drug trafficking in Florida
Possession of narcotics or a controlled substance can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on the type and amount of drugs involved. Misdemeanor penalties range up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines, while a felony conviction can result in five years’ imprisonment and $5,000 in fines.
Drug trafficking is a much more serious offense that can be charged as a second-degree or first-degree felony. The intent to sell, however, can be proven based on possession of large amounts of drugs rather than actual evidence such as an undercover drug buy. Narcotics agents will make arrests and charge you with trafficking wherever possible, hoping to intimidate you with the threat of serious jail time to get you to cooperate in hopes of a plea with a lesser charge or sentence.
A plea bargain may be an excellent outcome after an arrest for drug trafficking, but you’ll need to review your case with an experienced Tampa drug crime lawyer to know you are getting a good deal. The prosecutors may have charged you with a more serious offense than they can prove, so they aren’t doing you any favors by letting you plead to a lesser offense. At the Faulkner Law Group in Tampa, we’ll conduct a thorough investigation of your arrest, give you an honest assessment of your situation, and represent you for the best result, whether negotiating a plea or defending you in court.
Defenses to drug possession charges in Tampa
Possession can be either actual or constructive. Actual possession means the drugs were in your hand or on your person. Constructive possession means the drugs were in an area that you had control over, and you knew the drugs were there. Police often charge people with constructive possession in hopes they will confess or make incriminating statements about themselves or others, even when the case against them isn’t very strong. For instance, if police find drugs in a car or apartment with multiple people present, they might charge everybody there with constructive possession. However, you could have a strong defense against those charges if:
- You didn’t exercise dominion or control over the drugs
- You didn’t know the drugs were there
- You didn’t know the substance was illegal
- The drugs did not belong to you
You might also have a strong defense if the police violated your constitutional rights in conducting a search and seizure or making an arrest, or if they bungled the chain of custody or lab work that proves the nature of the substance or links it to you. Don’t make any admissions or statements that might incriminate you during or after a drug arrest. Instead, exercise your right to speak to an attorney, and call the Faulkner Law Group in Tampa for immediate assistance protecting your rights and putting you in the best position to achieve a positive outcome in your drug case.
Drug court diversion and pretrial intervention
The Florida legal system has a long history of finding ways to deal with drug offenders such as users and addicts differently than traffickers, offering treatment instead of incarceration for many people who could benefit from this approach. If you’re a non-violent, first-time offender caught with a relatively small amount of drugs, pretrial intervention may be an excellent alternative to jail. Agreeing to diversion does have consequences, however, and you might be better served to fight your arrest in other ways. The Faulkner Law Group will carefully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and your available defenses, as well as your desires and needs, to determine whether pretrial intervention is right for you. We’ll give you the facts you need to make an informed decision, and we’ll help you get a good result after a Tampa drug arrest.
Get Immediate Help After a Tampa Drug Arrest
If you’ve been arrested for possession of cocaine, cannabis, heroin, ecstasy, or drug paraphernalia, or if you’ve been charged with trafficking in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk or Pasco County, call the Tampa drug crime lawyers at Faulkner Law Group at 813-544-3919 for immediate assistance.