The criminal attorneys at Ellis and Bryant represent people throughout North Florida who have been charged with offenses related to controlled substances. We understand how stressful these situations can be, and we work tirelessly to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible. Our Jacksonville drug crime lawyers know how judges and juries often approach the issues in these cases. As our strong results on behalf of previous clients show, we take the time to understand our clients’ unique personal needs and to keep them apprised of their rights and options at every step of the criminal justice process.Stiff Penalties for Drug Convictions
Florida and federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges take drug crimes very seriously. A conviction can mean harsh consequences for a defendant and their family. First, there are the fines and jail time that can come with a conviction. Also, there is the social stigma of having a criminal record, which can make it difficult to find and keep a job. It is vital that a person suspected of or charged with a drug crime seek the counsel of an experienced drug crime attorney in the Jacksonville area to start fighting the charges right away.
Marijuana crimes are a good example. The drug may be legal for medical purposes in the Sunshine State, but anyone who uses weed without a medical prescription or traffics in marijuana without state approval faces significant criminal penalties. The possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor that carries as much as $1,000 in fines and the possibility of up to a year in jail. Get caught with more than 20 grams, and you are looking at a felony charge and as much as $5,000 in fines, five years behind bars, and another five years of probation. (That is not to mention having your driver’s license suspended for one year.)
The possession of 25 lbs. or more of marijuana is considered trafficking. This is a first-degree felony. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years behind bars and a $25,000 fine.Defenses in Drug Cases
The first thing that a person charged with a drug crime in Florida should know is that prosecutors have the burden at all times of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime with which you have been charged. There are a number of potential defenses that a Jacksonville drug crime attorney may be able to raise in these cases, including arguments related to how the police allegedly found you with the drugs.
If a police officer wants to stop you on the street or pull over your car, the officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe that you have recently been involved in or are currently committing a crime. This means more than just a plain hunch. The officer can also search you for weapons if they reasonably believe that it is necessary for their own safety.
If an officer wants to search your car or home without a warrant, they generally need “probable cause” to believe that there is evidence of a crime in the home or car. There are certain exceptions to the rule, such as in cases in which a police officer can plainly see contraband or other evidence of a crime, or when officers are in “hot pursuit” of a suspect.
Any evidence obtained from a stop or search that was performed without the requisite reasonable suspicion or probable cause is likely to be excluded from court, which can strike a significant blow against the prosecution.Contact a Drug Crime Lawyer in Jacksonville or Surrounding Communities
At Ellis and Bryant, our attorneys are dedicated to helping clients build the strongest available defenses in drug, DUI, and other criminal cases. Partner Gary Bryant is a former Florida prosecutor who understands how cops and prosecutors often approach these situations. We work tirelessly to reduce the impact of a charge or conviction through negotiation while standing ready to bring a vigorous case at trial. From our office in Jacksonville, we represent people across Duval and Clay Counties, including in Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Middleburg. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer about your case today. We also can assist people who need a divorce attorney to help them navigate through the process of dissolving a marriage.