Drug Crime Lawyer
Of all the places in America, St. Petersburg, Florida is probably the last one where you’d want to be charged with a drug crime. If you are, you need an experienced drug crimes attorney.
People convicted of drug crimes in Florida serve 2.3 years in prison on the average, up from about nine months in 1990. Florida’s unenlightened drug laws lag behind much of the nation, and the Florida legislature has repeatedly failed to even legalize marijuana for medical use, bucking a growing nationwide trend.
Will Hanlon is a St. Petersburg drug crimes attorney that has grew up in Florida and understands the severity of drug charges. He has handled many drug related cases, surrounding marijuana, meth, prescription fraud, and much more and can help you build a legal case if you are facing penalties.Florida Drug Charges
The charges and penalties you’ll face in Florida when accused of a drug crime will depend on the type and amount of the drug and whether you have a prior record. Only possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Florida. All other drug charges are felonies, which may be punished by as much as 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. These are just a few of the drug charges you may potentially be facing:
- Possession of marijuana
- Cultivation and/or sale of marijuana
- Manufacturing of methamphetamine
- Possession of methamphetamine
- Trafficking in methamphetamine
- Possession of cocaine
- Trafficking in cocaine
- Possession of opiates, opioids, benzodiazapines, or amphetamines (without a prescription)
- Trafficking in prescription drugs
- Fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs
A criminal drug crime conviction will affect your future in more ways than the legal consequences you’ll face. In addition to the loss of freedom that comes with a prison sentence and money paid in fines, you will lose your rights to vote, own a gun, hold public office, and serve on a jury.
You’ll also have to deal with the stigma of a criminal conviction following you throughout your life. It can negatively affect your ability to find a job or rent a house or apartment. You will lose your reputation and standing in the community, and you may not be eligible to receive financial aid to further your education.
If you are charged with a drug crime, you will need to hire a highly experienced St. Petersburg drug crimes attorney with substantial experience in protecting the rights of the accused and helping them avoid the worst potential consequences. You have too much to lose to risk facing charges alone or with an overworked public defender.
Your attorney will:
- Examine the police procedure that led to your arrest, to ensure your constitutional rights have not been violated
- Determine if you meet the qualifications for a diversion program that will result in dismissal of charges
- Pursue every possible avenue of defense
- Negotiate a plea bargain to reduce the charges, if it is in your best interest
- Defend you vigorously at trial, raising a “reasonable doubt” to achieve an acquittal
If you have been questioned or arrested and accused of a drug crime, you need the best help you can find. Attorney Will Hanlon has been successfully defending the rights of the accused in St. Petersburg and West Central Florida for more than two decades and has achieved outstanding results for his clients, in many cases helping them to avoid incarceration. Call him at the earliest hint that you are being investigated, because depending on the circumstances, he may even be able to avoid having charges files. In any event, the sooner Will is able to launch his investigation and begin to strategize your defense, the more opportunities will exist for dismissal or reduction of the charges. If the situation requires it, Will is a highly effective St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer who will present a persuasive case to a jury for your acquittal. But it is important that you call now.
Pinellas County, where St. Petersburg is located, is among the top five counties with the highest rates of arrest for drug possession in Florida. Other drug crimes are often charged there as well. The penalties that you face if you are convicted of a drug charge depend on the controlled substance involved, the quantity of it, and how it was to be used. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg drug crime lawyer Will Hanlon takes pride in providing superior criminal defense representation to people charged with drug crimes. He takes the rights of the accused seriously and can examine your case closely to determine a defense strategy with a strong likelihood of success.Drug Charges Carry Serious Consequences
Many different narcotic and pharmacological drugs are considered controlled substances in Florida. The simplest charges are those involving drug possession. Some drugs that are subject to criminal prosecution when illegally possessed include cocaine, fentanyl, GHB, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, MDMA, oxycodone, and Xanax. The nature of the controlled substance will control the charge and potential sentence. For example, cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance that is considered to have a high possibility of being abused. If you possess less than 28 grams of cocaine, it can be charged as a third-degree felony drug crime. This means that you face up to five years’ imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, and five years’ probation. When you are caught with 28 or more grams of cocaine, you can be charged with cocaine trafficking.
Another drug crime involves sale or delivery. Again, the type of controlled substance at issue and the quantity will determine both the charges and the potential sentence. For example, under Florida Statute section 893.13(1)(a)(1), selling methamphetamine occurs if somebody sells, makes, or delivers methamphetamine, or possesses it with the intent to sell, make, or deliver it. It is a second-degree felony, which means that, if convicted, you face the possibility of up to 15 years’ imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, and 15 years of probation.
It is important to retain a drug crime attorney in St. Petersburg as soon as you are accused. In some cases, a criminal defense attorney's early involvement can result in no criminal charges being brought. For example, we may be able to convince the prosecution that there is insufficient evidence to win the case.
If this is your first time being accused of drug possession, there may be alternatives in sentencing. For example, if you are a first-time, nonviolent offender, you may have the option of going to pretrial diversion, which is like probation. You will need to report to an officer on a monthly basis, be subjected to random drug testing, perform community service, and avoid any criminal activity. If you complete the program successfully, the charges are dropped. In other cases, if you do have minor crimes on your record, you may be able to get pretrial intervention, which is a program operated by the court. However, not all judges participate in pretrial intervention.
Another option is drug court, which is for repeat offenders. The idea behind drug court is to identify and evaluate people who are substance abusers so that they can avoid going into the usual criminal justice system. If you successfully complete drug court, the charges are dropped.
In other cases, there may be appropriate defenses that a St. Petersburg drug crime attorney can raise to fight the charges. For example, if evidence of the drugs was obtained as a result of police overreach or an intrusion on your rights, we may be able to file a motion to suppress on the basis of a Fourth Amendment violation. A police officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to stop a vehicle. When drugs are seized due to an improper stop that was made without a reasonable suspicion, the evidence may be suppressed. Similarly, a police officer needs to have probable cause to conduct a search of your car. If cocaine was found in your car when a police officer did not have probable cause, it may be appropriate to have the evidence of cocaine suppressed.Discuss Your Case with a Drug Crime Lawyer in St. Petersburg
If you are charged with a drug crime, you should consult our experienced criminal defense firm. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation to people facing drug trafficking and other charges involving narcotics since 1994. We are committed to defending the rights of the accused. Call Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or complete our online form.