Disclaimer: Flaherty & Merrifield does not represent snitches. If you are currently working for the police, or you want to work as a confidential informant to help your case, please call another attorney. We will not be a part of getting more people in trouble for drugs.
Police officers and Sheriff Deputies in Crestview cast a very wide net in going after drug traffickers, but unfortunately, all too often it is the person with a small amount of drugs on them for personal use that gets caught in the cross-hairs. The consequences for a “victimless” crime are often harsh and can last a lifetime.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Crestview, whether you are a local resident, military member, or a visitor, you have rights and legal options. My name is Tim Flaherty. I’ve practiced criminal defense in Crestview and throughout Okaloosa County since 2001. My partner’s name is Brandy Merrifield. We know what it takes to counter overzealous law enforcement officials looking to make an example out of drug offenders. Contact our Crestview drug crimes attorneys at (850) 398-8098 for a free consultation.
Common Drug Offenses in Crestview
We have defended a wide range of drug crimes in Crestview. Here is a list of the most common drug crimes that we defend:
Possession of a Controlled Substance
A controlled substance is any substance regulated by Florida Statutes based on a “level of addictability.” Many of these substances are available by prescription only. It is illegal to be in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription in Crestview. Some of the most common controlled substances, both prescriptions and non-prescription are: Codeine, Percocet, Xanax, Valium, Methamphetamine, Molly, Hydrocodone, and Oxycontin. Although penalties for possession of a controlled substance vary by drug, all possession convictions can result in prison time, probation, and revocation of your driver’s license.
For more information about Possession of a Controlled substance in Crestview, click here.
Possession of Marijuana
While the rest of the country hotly debates the legality of marijuana, Florida remains clear that any possession of marijuana without a medical use exemption is illegal. Marijuana possession is the only drug charge where the amount determines whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. As lifetime members of NORML, we know what you are facing and how to fight your case.
For more information about Possession of Marijuana in Crestview, click here.
Possession of Heroin/Opioids
The Opioid crisis has hit Okaloosa County and Crestview hard. Unfortunately, our police department and State Attorney here in Crestview are treating this problem as a criminal issue instead of a treatment-based public health issue. Possession of Heroin or Opioids is a 3rd degree felony with a potential 5 year prison sentence.
For more information about Possession of Heroin or Opioids in Crestview, click here.
Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription
If you can show proof of a valid prescription, even if you didn’t have it on you at the time of your arrest, there is a good chance that the felony charge can be dismissed. However, if you are convicted, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription is a 3rd degree felony with a potential 5 year prison sentence.
For more information about Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription in Crestview, click here.
What are some common defenses to Drug Crimes in Crestview?
Every case is different, so we will need to meet with you and talk about the facts of your case before we can determine which defenses might apply in your case. Here are a couple defenses that may apply:
Motion to Suppress Evidence
A motion to suppress is a tool we use when we think the facts suggest that the police violated our client’s constitutional rights. The goal of a motion to suppress is to convince the Judge to suppress, or remove, evidence from a case. If the evidence is suppressed, the State can’t use the evidence against you. Most commonly, motions to suppress allege that a person’s 4th Amendment rights have been violated. The 4th Amendment protects the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, homes, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190 sets out a list of reasons for a court to suppress evidence:
- The property was illegally seized without a warrant;
- The warrant is insufficient on its fact;
- The property seized is not the property described in the warrant;
- There was no probable cause for believing the existence of the grounds on which the warrant was issued; or
- The warrant was illegally executed.
When law enforcement violates someone’s constitutional rights, all evidence that they obtained based on that violation is considered to be the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” This concept is also known as the Exclusionary Rule. The goal of the Exclusionary Rule is to punish law enforcement for violating someone’s rights, and to give them incentive to follow the rule. Two cases on point for this issue are Wong Sun v United States, 371 U.S. 471 (1963) and Illinois v Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983).
Motion to Dismiss Evidence
A motion to dismiss is a legal mechanism that forces the Court to looks at the facts of a case, analyze law enforcement’s actions, compare those facts and actions to current case law, and determine whether or not the law was followed properly. If successful, a motion to dismiss results in a dismissal of the charges against you.
Drug cases are well-suited for a motion to dismiss because the law is constantly changing, and the procedures that the police must follow also must adapt when the law changes.
One common area where a savvy defense attorney can file a motion to dismiss is a case involving construction possession. There is well-settled law on this issue. In Brown v State, 428 So.2d 250 (1983) and Knight v State, 186 So.3d 1005 (2016), the Florida Supreme Court held that the State must prove that a suspect exercised dominion and control over the contraband AND that the suspect knew the contraband was present.
Usually, a Motion to Dismiss in drug cases involving constructive possession is governed by Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(c)(4). A C4 motion, the legal standard is that “there are no material disputed facts and the undisputed facts do not establish a prima facie case of guilt against the defendant.” That means that the facts of the case suggest that the suspect’s conduct didn’t violate the law and that law enforcement made a mistake.
What outcomes can I expect for a Crestview Drug Crime?
The section above describes a couple ways we look to “win” a case and get it dismissed. If we are not successful in getting a case dismissed, there are still other options that protect your record and your freedom.
If you are a first-time offender, we can explore a program to resolve your case. Pretrial Diversion, or PTD, is an agreement between you and the state that guarantees that your charges will be dismissed if you complete it successfully. For more information about Pretrial Diversion in Crestview, or anywhere in Okaloosa County, click here. This option has been extremely beneficial for a lot of our younger clients who are in college, or who hope to go to college.
Finally, some clients’ drug charges come as the result of a serious battle with addiction. In those cases, we will work with you to explore addiction treatment facilities as an alternative to incarceration and other penalties.
Get Help from a Crestview Drug Crimes Lawyer
At Flaherty & Merrifield, Brandy and I exclusively handle criminal charges, so we know what it takes to go up against Crestview prosecutors and fight for your rights. Facing drug charges is serious, but it’s important to remember that there are effective options available. Take action to protect your future and call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 398-8098.