Okaloosa County Drug Crime Attorney
Okaloosa County has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drug possession. If you are found with the smallest amount of controlled substance or drugs, you will be facing criminal charges. Depending on the drug, the charge will either be a misdemeanor or felony.
If you have been charged with a drug related crime in Okaloosa County, I encourage you to take advantage of the 16 years of experience I have in defending people just like you. Contact Flaherty Defense Firm today for a free consultation. We are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (850) 243-6097.
Arrested for Drugs in Okaloosa County
The drug offenses that are most common in Okaloosa County include:
The general consensus regarding marijuana is that it is not nearly as dangerous or habit-forming as other controlled substances. While many other states have either legalized or decriminalized the personal use of marijuana, under Florida law, marijuana possession is still illegal. Marijuana is the only listed drug per Florida Statutes that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor, while 20 grams or more is a felony.
Weight can be determined by bud, seeds, plant particulates, shake, blunt, or joint. Cannabis means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not, but does not include any resin extracted from the plant. The total amount of all forms of marijuana are combined and weighed to determine the degree of possession.
Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana in Okaloosa County
Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first degree misdemeanor and a conviction will result in up to one year county jail, one year probation, and fines.
Felony Possession of Marijuana in Okaloosa County
Felony possession of marijuana is any amount of marijuana that is 20 or more grams in total weight. Unlike the misdemeanor possession charge, felony possession comes with a potential for five years in the Florida Department of Corrections along with up to a $5,000 fine.
An old drug that has recently made quite a comeback in Okaloosa County is heroin. Heroin is derived from the Asian opium poppy plant and is considered synthesized morphine. Heroin use is on the rise and law enforcement is out in full force to eliminate this drug in Okaloosa County.
This is a Schedule I drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment. Heroin possession is a third degree felony and the penalties can be up to five years in the Florida Department of Corrections along with up to $5,000 in fines.
Trafficking in controlled substances is an automatic prison sentence if convicted. The problem with trafficking is that even a small amount for personal use can justify a trafficking charge. The schedule, type, and amount of drug alleged will dictate the length of prison sentence you will face. A trafficking conviction means a prison sentence between three and 30 years. To prove trafficking, the state must show that you possessed, sold, purchased, manufactured, or delivered an illegal, controlled substance.
How are drugs classified in Okaloosa County?
All known narcotics are classified in schedules. Florida Statute §893.03 dictates the scheduled class for each drug. The class is determined by the potency and potential for addiction. For a more in-depth look at Florida’s take on drug class schedules, click here.
Mandatory License Suspension for a Drug Conviction
In addition to facing potential prison time, probation, fines, and court costs, a drug conviction will result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. In Okaloosa County, a drug conviction carries a mandatory one-year suspension of your driving privileges. Unfortunately, there is no legal grounds to appeal a driver’s license conviction after you have been convicted of a drug related offense.
Defending Drug Crimes in Okaloosa County
If you were arrested with illegal substances in Okaloosa County, your case is not over. Just because you were arrested does not mean that you will be convicted. In order for the State to prove that you are guilty of possession of a controlled substance they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) You knew of the presence of a substance; (2) You exercised control or ownership over that substance; (3) The substance was (specific substance alleged).
Actual Possession versus Constructive Possession
Due to Okaloosa County’s zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs, often times, law enforcement is more concerned with getting the arrest and confiscating the illegal substance than following the law and procedure. That mistake can be used to your benefit. To prove you possessed an illegal substance, the State must show that you had actual or constructive possession.
Actual possession means that you are aware of the presence of an illegal substance and that the substance is either on your person or in such close proximity that it is in your immediate reach. This is also called “ready reach.” If you are found with drugs in your pocket, you would “actually” possess the illegal substance.
Constructive possession means that you are aware of the presence of an illegal substance and that the substance is in a place in which you have control. An example of constructive possession is if you were found to have drugs in your car and you are the only person in the car, you would “constructively” possess the illegal substance.
In many cases the possession element of the offense is the most debated. If you were in a vehicle with other people, it is difficult for law enforcement to prove that you were in possession.
What you can expect from an Okaloosa County Drug Crime Attorney
There is no greater time than now to have an experienced Okaloosa County criminal defense attorney on your side. I will force the State to prove their case against you. I will force law enforcement to follow the law and protocol and if they don’t, get your case dismissed. Every client I defend can count on:
- Demand for all evidence the State has against you
- Extensive review of the evidence, video, arrest, and possession issues
- Depositions of law enforcement officers
- Pretrial motions that could get your case dismissed
- Review of your priorities and exploration of treatment options if needed
- The knowledge that you will have an Okaloosa County criminal defense team
- working for you to get your life back on track
Alternative Sentences for Drug Crimes in Okaloosa County
While the penalties for drug possession in Florida are some of the nation’s most stringent, you have options. Many times, drug users are simply personal users who have an addiction and need help in overcoming their addiction. Prison is not the place to fight an addiction to drugs but sometimes, that is where drug users end up. If you are a first time offender, we can explore addiction programs as an alternative to incarceration.
Contact Your Okaloosa County Drug Crime Defense Team Today
With more than just a slap on the wrist at stake, you need experience and advocacy on your side. After a conviction is not the time to wonder if you made the right decision. When you are ready to be defended and not judged, call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.