If you have been arrested for drug trafficking in Florida, you should talk to a drug crime attorney immediately – before talking to police or anyone else about your case. Waiving the right to remain silent may mean the difference between having at least some chance of beating the charges against you or spending as long as 30 years behind bars. Seasoned St. Petersburg and Clearwater drug trafficking lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law has handled many narcotics cases over the past 20 years, and he is here to help you pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case.
Although there seems to be a growing sentiment in some other parts of the country that drug offenses are often punished too harshly, this is not so in Florida. The Sunshine State takes drug crimes very seriously, and the punishment may be stiff even for a first offender. Sentence enhancements, mandatory minimums, and other factors may further complicate matters for people who already have a criminal record. Drug trafficking crimes in particular are harshly punished, based on the theory that putting dealers and traffickers away for a long time will keep drugs off the street. (It never works out that way, of course.)Evaluating a Drug Trafficking Case
Each situation is different, but there are several general rules that apply to most Florida drug cases. The burden of proof is always on the State (or the federal government) to provide proof of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury is not convinced of each element of the crime within a particular degree of moral certainty, the defendant must be acquitted. The elements of drug trafficking include not only proof that the defendant possessed (or controlled) an illegal substance but also that they knowingly participated in drug trafficking activities. Depending on the circumstances, a drug trafficking attorney in the Clearwater or St. Petersburg area may be able to negate part of the State’s case with regard to one or more of these elements. For example, if the drugs seized by police turn out to be something other than a controlled substance (like flour, for example), the defendant may not be convicted of trafficking even if they possessed the substance and believed that it was a certain narcotic.
Other defenses, such as possession for personal use, entrapment by police, or a violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights during the search or seizure phase of the case, may also result in a dismissal of the charge or a favorable plea bargain agreement to a lesser offense, such as simple possession. The fines and imprisonment for drug trafficking vary, depending upon the amount of drugs in question. So-called “career criminals” and habitual felony offenders face even longer prison terms, so it is imperative that a person charged with this very serious crime talk to a lawyer about possible defenses as soon as possible after learning that they are a target of a criminal investigation.Seek Assistance from a Drug Trafficking Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg
Although people who are facing criminal prosecution enjoy certain constitutional rights against overreaching police officers and overzealous district attorneys, the defendant’s rights will only be thoroughly protected if they hire a knowledgeable lawyer to represent them in court. A judge will not throw out “bad evidence” on their own, for example. A motion to suppress must be made, along with a well-reasoned argument aimed at convincing the judge that a conviction based on the questionable evidence will not stand up on appeal. Experienced St. Petersburg and Clearwater drug trafficking attorney Will Hanlon handles many cases related to all different types of narcotics. Whether you need a marijuana attorney or assistance with a charge related to cocaine, heroin, meth, prescription drugs, or other controlled substances, he will work hard to uncover every possible strategy that could aid your case. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 727-897-5413 or contact us online.