What advice can you give me if I’m charged with a drug crime?
The first thing I’ll say about a drug case is that we don’t represent snitches. So if your way of getting out of this is to work for the police to get other people in trouble, call somebody else because we’re not the attorney for you.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about how I can help you. Most of the time in the state of Florida, if you are charged with a drug crime, that means you are charged with a felony. The only misdemeanor drug crime in Florida is marijuana possession of less than 20 grams. Everything else, no matter how much the amount is, is a felony. When people hear that word, they get scared. Being charged with a felony is a traumatic experience, but there are some things that we can advise you of that will help influence the eventual outcome in your case.
The number one thing that I would tell you is don’t talk to the police. The police are going to ask you questions about where you got the drugs, how you got the drugs, did you know that the drugs were in your car or in your home, and it’s best that you just politely and respectfully tell them “I’m not going to answer any questions without my attorney present.”
The other issue we want to look at in any drug possession case in Florida is an issue of search and seizure. What that means is, any time the police find drugs, it’s usually the result of some type of search, it could be a vehicle search, a search of your home, a search of your person, but either way, you have Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. So, obviously, we’re going to want to look at the circumstances of the search to see if we can make a good-faith argument in court that your rights were violated.
If we make the determination that your rights were violated and we feel that we can make that case in court, what we would do is file what’s called a “motion to suppress evidence.” What we’re asking the judge to do in a motion to suppress is to find, as a matter of law, that the police violated your Constitutional protections against search and seizure and to rule that the evidence that was seized is inadmissible. That means it’s suppressed or thrown out. If that happens, most likely your case will be dismissed, so that’s an issue that we look at in every drug case to see if we can make that good-faith argument in court.
The other thing that we’ll look at is how can the case be resolved that protects you from the worst case scenario. Any time I have a client that’s charged with a felony, my two biggest priorities are I want to keep you out of jail or prison, and I want to make sure that you walk out of this without a felony on your record.
Now there are several different ways that we can get there that accomplish those two goals, and when we meet to talk about your case, we’ll talk about which options might be most appropriate in your unique set of circumstances. But, some of the examples could be things like probation. It could be a renegotiated plea, down to a misdemeanor from a felony. It could be a diversion program like pretrial diversion or deferred prosecution, where if you complete a given set of conditions, your case would get dismissed at the end.
The other thing that we’re going to want to talk about when your case is over, depending on how it plays out, is whether or not you’re eligible for a record seal or expungement. At the end of your case, if you’re so eligible, we’re going to want to file that for you because that wipes the arrest itself off of your criminal record so that potential employers in the future can’t see that you were ever arrested.
If you’re facing a drug charge in Florida, and you’re looking for answers, give Flaherty Defense Firm a call, and let us help you.