Fort Walton Beach Drug Charge Lawyers
Disclaimer: If you are planning to work for the police as a confidential informant, call someone else. We do not represent snitches.
You don’t need a sales pitch and you don’t need empty promises. If you have a drug charge in Fort Walton Beach, you already know you’re in trouble. What you need is someone to give it to you straight. Someone who will give you the help you need, when you need it the most.
My name is Tim Flaherty. Since 2001, I have been defending clients accused of drug crimes throughout Okaloosa County. My partner’s name is Brandy Merrifield. At Flaherty Defense Firm, we are Fort Walton Beach drug charge lawyers that know a drug conviction can have life altering affects. Call today at (850) 243-6097 and let us get to work for you.
Common Drug Charges in Fort Walton Beach
All drug charges, other than possession of marijuana under 20 grams, are felonies. The penalties and fines vary depending on the type of drug and the amount of the drug.
Drug cases are unique from other felonies. The state does not care if the possession is for personal use. If you are charged, you will face the same punishment as a serious drug dealer. The most common drug-related charges we defend are listed below:
Some states have de-criminalized marijuana and some have legalized it altogether. Here in Florida, the possession and use of cannabis remains illegal without a medical use exemption and prescription.
Possession of marijuana can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount that was possessed. Less than 20 grams of smokable cannabis is a misdemeanor. 20 grams or more of smokable cannabis, or ANY amount of THC oil is a felony offense.
For more information about Marijuana possession in Fort Walton Beach, click here.
Drug Paraphernalia/Narcotics Equipment
Under Florida Statute 893.147, any item that is used, intended to be used, or designed to be used, as a drug delivery device, can potentially be considered Drug Paraphernalia.
For more information about Drug Paraphernalia in Fort Walton Beach, click here.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Controlled substances are categorized in schedules related to the potential for abuse along with whether or not the controlled substance serves any legitimate medical purpose.
Under Florida law, it is illegal to possess any controlled substance without a valid prescription. Other than less than 20 grams of marijuana, all Possession of Controlled Substance cases are felony offenses. Common examples include Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Xanax, Hydrocodone, etc.
For more information about controlled substances in Fort Walton Beach, click here.
For more information about drug trafficking charges in Fort Walton Beach, click here.
Depending on the drug, and the amount, you could face between 5 and 30 years in prison. Even if no prison time is imposed, there is the possibility of a permanent felony conviction on your record, the loss of your driver’s license, and ineligibility for Federal student loans and grants.
With so much at stake, don’t leave your future to chance.
Defending a Drug Charge in Ft. Walton Beach
A common question clients will ask is, “How can you defend me? I had the drugs on me.” To be clear, just because you were found with drugs in your possession, or in your home or car, does not mean you are guilty of drug possession.
We have been defending drug cases for a long time. Over the years, we have learned that every case is different, and no case is hopeless. We will develop a customized defense strategy that will include the following:
- Thorough review of the State’s evidence against you;
- Review for potential motion issues such as Motion to Dismiss or Motion to Suppress;
- Interview or depose witnesses and law enforcement;
- View all video, audio and visual evidence; and
- Negotiate with the prosecutor for a favorable result. In some situations, it is possible to negotiate a program called Pretrial Diversion which results in a full dismissal of all charges if completed.
Information about Motions to Suppress and Motions to Dismiss
Motion to Suppress
The 4th amendment to the constitution protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure. This means that the police must follow proper procedure when they detain or search someone.
Once we examine the facts of your case, we will research the applicable case law to see if there is a valid basis to challenge the admissibility of the evidence that was seized in your case. If we can make a viable argument that the police violated your constitutional rights, we will file a Motion to Suppress Evidence.
The judge will schedule a hearing in court to argue the motion. Once the judge has heard both sides, they will make a ruling. If the judge grants the Motion to Suppress, that means the State cannot use the evidence against you. If that happens, most likely the case will be dismissed.
Under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190, here are some of the reasons that a judge may decide to suppress evidence:
- The property was seized without a search warrant;
- There was no probable cause to justify the issuance of the search warrant;
- The police acted illegally when they served or executed the search warrant.
Motion to Dismiss Evidence
A Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190 (c)(4) is commonly filed in constructive possession cases. Constructive possession becomes an issue when drugs or contraband are found in an area where multiple people had access. A common example would be a traffic stop with several people in the car.
In constructive possession cases, it is not enough for the State to allege that you were in an area that contraband was found. They must also prove that you exercised “dominion and control” over the items and that you knew of its presence.
Once we review the facts of your case, we will examine whether it makes sense to file a C-4 Motion to Dismiss. A C-4 motion means that there are no disputed facts in the case, and those facts do not give rise to sufficient evidence to sustain a criminal charge.
What other options are there to resolve a drug case in Fort Walton Beach?
One common way to resolve a first offense drug charge is through a referral to a diversion program. Diversion programs guarantee a full dismissal of your charges as long as you complete certain conditions. For more information about Pretrial Diversion, click here.
In misdemeanor cases, diversion is called Pretrial Diversion, or Deferred Prosecution.
In felony cases, diversion is called Pretrial Intervention.
Either way, if the agreement is successfully completed, it will be guaranteed, in writing, that your case will be dismissed.
Flaherty Defense Firm devotes its entire practice to criminal defense. In keeping a very targeted area of practice, we can provide knowledge and skill that only comes from years of criminal defense experience.
|Marijuana Possession of Less than 20 grams||893.13(6)(a)||Misdemeanor||1st||1 year jail, $1,000 fine and 6 month driver’s license suspension|
|Possession of Narcotic Equipment||893.147(1)||Misdemeanor||1st||1 year jail and $1,000 fine|
|Marijuana Possession of More than 20 grams||893.13 (1)(c)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison, $5,000 fine and 6 month driver’s license suspension|
|Possession of a Controlled Substance (other than cannabis)||893.13(6)(a)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Obtain Controlled Substance by Fraud||893.13(7)(a)(9)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Sale, Manufacture or Distribution of Cannabis||893.13(1)(a)(2)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Sale, Manufacture or Distribution of Cannabis within 1000ft of a Child Care or School||893.13(1)(c)(2)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Deliver Cannabis to a Minor||893.13(4)(b)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Purchase, Sell, Distribute Cocaine/Meth||893.13(4)(b)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Sale, Manufacture or Distribution of Cocaine/Meth within 1000ft of a University, Child Care or School||893.13(1)(d)(l) 893.13(1)(C)(1)||Felony||1st||Minimum 3 year DOC /
Maximum 30 years prison
|Trafficking Cannabis 25-200 lbs (3 years DOC)||893.13(1)(a)( l )||Felony||1st||Minimum 3 year DOC /
Maximum 30 years prison
|Trafficking Cocaine||893.13(1)(b)(l)||Felony||1st||28-200 grams minimum 3 years DOC 200-400 grams minimum 7 years DOC 400 grams-150 Kg minimum 15 years DOC Maximum for all charges 30 years prison|
|Trafficking Meth||893.135(1)(f)||Felony||1st||Minimum Penalty: 3 years DOC
Maximum for all charges: 30 years to Life in prison and $250,000 fine.
|Trafficking Opiates/Hydrocodone||893.135(1)(c)(2)(a)||Felony||1st||Minimum Penalty: 3 years DOC. All charges maximum penalty 30 years to Life in prison.|
|Trafficking MDMA||893.135(1)(k)(2)(a)||F||1st||Minimum Penalty: 3 years DOC
Maximum penalty 30 years prison
Contact a Fort Walton Beach Drug Charge Defense Attorney
Don’t take on the State by yourself or with a state-funded public defender. Our entire practice is devoted to criminal defense. Call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for a free confidential consultation.