The State of Florida is tough on drug crimes. Even simple possession cases sometimes result in time behind bars, and cases in which a substantial quantity of a controlled substance was found in the defendant’s possession may result in many years of incarceration and high fines under the sentencing laws for dealing and trafficking. While many types of controlled substances are illegal in Florida (including cocaine, heroin, and usually marijuana), there is a significant priority on the prosecution of people who are charged with crimes involving methamphetamine. St. Petersburg and Clearwater meth crime lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law vigorously represents people accused of these offenses. As an experienced drug crime attorney, he can help you determine an appropriate course of action if you are facing a meth charge.
The state or federal government has the burden of proof in a criminal case. The defendant is not obligated to testify at trial or to give a statement prior to trial. In fact, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that the defendant in a criminal case cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself. Unless the prosecution can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant must be acquitted. In a meth crime case, the prosecution must show that the defendant had actual or constructive possession of the drugs in question. While this does not require that the defendant be caught “red handed” with meth in a pocket or a purse, it does require that the prosecution show that the defendant knew of the presence of the substance and that the defendant had dominion and control over it.Possible Defenses to a Methamphetamine Charge in Florida
There are many defenses that may be asserted in various types of drug cases if the facts support them. A knowledgeable meth crime attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg can advise you on whether a certain defense applies to your situation. Among the more common defenses are constitutional violations, such as a breach of the defendant’s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. If the police exceeded the scope of their authority in searching the defendant’s person, automobile, or home, it may be possible to have the court suppress the illegally obtained evidence. Without the evidence, the State’s case may quickly fall apart.
There may also be defenses that only apply in certain kinds of cases. For instance, a person who seeks medical attention due to a drug-related overdose is protected from prosecution for possession of a controlled substance if the evidence against them was obtained due to the overdose and their need for medical assistance. (This defense applies only to drug possession cases.) Since there are some situations in which methamphetamine is legally prescribed to a certain patient, having a valid prescription for the substance might also be a viable defense. Entrapment is another possible defense to a meth charge. This is an “affirmative defense” that requires that the defendant present evidence to support their assertion that law enforcement induced them to commit a crime that they would not have committed of their own volition.Contact a Meth Crime Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg
Drug crime cases, especially those related to highly controlled substances like meth, tend to be very complex. The punishment that the defendant faces will depend upon the amount of the substance in question, but a defendant could possibly be facing decades in prison. Moreover, the possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, as well as a prior criminal record, may also affect the outcome of the case. If you are facing a meth crime or other drug crime charge, St. Petersburg and Clearwater meth crime attorney Will Hanlon is here for you. At Hanlon Law, we represent people who need a drug possession or drug trafficking attorney in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Newport Richey, Dade City, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 727.897.5413 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to discuss how we can assist you in protecting your rights.