Drug Charges: An Overview
Any arrest can bring confusion, worry, and great concern about the future—what’s going to happen next, what’s my best strategy for defense, what action should I take and when. Many questions will come forward and answers are needed. Those who find themselves arrested for drug charges face all these questions and more. They may wonder if they should plead guilty or mount a competent defense. Understanding the options and how the laws impact individuals is critically important if the individual wants to avoid serious and severe punishments under Florida law. The best decision for anyone facing an arrest, charges, and possible punishment is to seek the counsel of a seasoned defense attorney who is skilled and experienced and will fight on your behalf.
What Is Drug Diversion?
Multiple jurisdictions in Florida have a specific drug court or a pretrial diversion program that is for drug offenses. Many individuals may qualify to enroll in a pretrial diversion program. A pretrial diversion program can provide them an opportunity to receive treatment for drug and/or alcohol issues, and potentially earn a complete dismissal of their charges if they provide random urine samples to demonstrate they are staying clean; complete assigned community service hours; and engage in active, regular counseling and/or treatment. There are clear benefits for both sides when pretrial diversion programs are successfully engaged and completed. The courts are heavily burdened, thus candidates for the pretrial diversion program have their cases moved out of the busy court schedule. And the benefits to the arrested individual are obvious: a possible dismissal of their charge, which could allow the individual to have it entirely expunged after the program and case are completed and officially closed.
Sentencing Overview: Drug Possession Cases
There are no set sentences for drug possession offenses; they can vary depending on the situation and case. A first offender with little to no criminal history might be allowed to enter a pretrial diversion or drug court diversion, which could possibly allow them to receive a dismissal of the charge if they successfully complete the program.
Individuals who are not offered the option of a pretrial diversion program, or similar, could possibly receive a probation. Probation requires a monthly reporting, counseling and/or treatment, random urine testing, and possibly more.
If neither of the above is deemed sufficient by the court, an individual may then be looking at some time in jail. Occasionally a judge may offer to split a sentence, which would require some time in jail and then probation afterward.
Lastly, for the most serious offenses or in situations where the offender has a criminal record that the court finds troubling, the individual could possibly receive a prison sentence for a felony drug possession charge.
Will I Receive Jail Time For A Possession Charge?
In most cases, a possession charge will not result in jail time, but every case is unique so the court has many options. Possession is an open term, and quite possibly an individual’s sentence will be more severe or less, depending on what they are possessing. As the times have changed, a minor marijuana possession charge is highly unlikely to result in jail time. However, possession of a controlled substance is another story entirely, and jail time is much more likely. Possession of a drug that is deemed dangerous like methamphetamines or heroin further increases the likelihood of real jail time.
The circumstances surrounding a case are always taken into account by the court. The judge will take into account specifics, mitigating and aggravating factors, an offender’s past criminal history, etc. There are many factors and variables, but the short answer is: jail could be a possibility for drug possession charges, if found guilty.
Pleading Guilty: Is It Ever A Good Idea?
Whether an individual should plead guilty or not is a complex and multi-layered issue and one that should be discussed with a skilled, experienced attorney. Even for a simple marijuana possession case, legal counsel is a good idea. Legal counsel can advise you about the options you may have and will discuss your plea. There have been many cases in which individuals made a guilty plea and the case turned out to have major flaws in police procedure that a skilled attorney could have exposed, which might have potentially resulted in a dismissal of the case entirely. The wise choice, always, for any case, is to seek counsel from an experienced attorney.
Selecting The Right Attorney
Attorney experience, area of specialty, track record of success, etc., all vary from firm to firm, attorney to attorney. When selecting an attorney, to choose the ‘right’ attorney for you, it is important to consider many factors: can they aggressively defend you and your rights, do they have the necessary experience and track record of success in the area of law that deals with your case? Our team of attorneys has the experience, the track record of success, and we fight hard for every single client. Our clients are our top priority and we know how to win.
For more information on Drug Charges In The State Of Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (877) 315-5107 today.
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