CHAPTER 893 "FLORIDA COMPREHENSIVE
DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT"
Drug Crime Lawyer
If you have been charged with a drug offense, it is important to speak with an experienced Tampa Drug Crimes Lawyer soon before waiving any valuable rights. Drug offenses in Florida are grouped under Florida Statutes, Chapter 893; whether you are accused of possession of cannabis or paraphernalia or trafficking in heroin. Any conviction for a Chapter 893 offense could result in a two-year driver’s license revocation pursuant to Florida Statute §322.055. Also, any felony 893 conviction for sale of, trafficking or conspiracy to sell or traffic in a controlled substance requires that the clerk send notice to and direct that any professional or business license that you possess be revoked. These consequences severely impact your ability to drive, work, and provide for either you or your family. Another collateral consequence is that your personal property may be subject to seizure or forfeiture to the government as a result of the alleged misconduct. Your entire case could be won or lost depending whether a viable motion to suppress the drug evidence, motion to dismiss or other motion is filed and litigated successfully in your case.
Attorney in Tampa
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in the Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, or Hernando County then contact an experienced Tampa Drug Crimes Lawyer at The Thomas Law Group to give a free case evaluation. There are many technical defenses that can be raised, litigated and preserved by a qualified defense Possession with Intent to Distribute Attorney Tampa. Too often, people find out later about the collateral consequences of a conviction and it is often too late to go back and fix them once valuable rights have been waived.
MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Fourth Amendment, United States Constitution.
To justify a stop or any other temporary detention, a law enforcement officer must have a founded reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. A mere hunch or gut feeling of criminal activity is never enough. Police officers all too often ignore these principles when conducting investigations. This is often because they are of the mindset that ends justify the means. This is absolutely wrong and the law is clear; if the cops break the rules or trample on the constitution in their attempt to make an arrest, the evidence should be suppressed and all criminal charges dismissed. Even a search or seizure conducted with a search warrant for a home, vehicle or business can be challenged and must hold up to constitutional and statutory standards.
POSSESSION IS 9/10THS OF THE LAW
The word “possession” has a particular meaning under the law. Possession of a drug does not necessarily require ownership, but is merely knowingly exercising dominion or control over the substance even if for a very short period of time. The State may try to prove a case of possession by either actual or constructive possession. However, the prosecution often fails when the case is one of constructive possession and here is why…
“Actual possession” means to be in direct physical contract with the substance wither in your hand, pockets or in something that you are carrying like a purse, suitcase or backpack.
“Constructive possession” means that you are not actually in physical contact with the substance, and then the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt both that the accused:
- Knew of the presence of the drugs
- Exercised dominion or control over the drugs
Additionally, in a constructive possession case, an affirmative defense that can be raised is that the accused should be found not guilty if there is a reasonable doubt as to whether the accused had knowledge of the illicit nature of the controlled substance. That means no defendant should be found guilty if he/she is sitting in a car next to a kilo of cocaine unless they know that the substance is cocaine and are exercising some control over it.
The Florida Supreme Court Jury Instructions also permit a defense attorney to request special jury instructions such as “Mere proximity to a controlled substance is not sufficient to establish control over that controlled substance when it is not in a place over which the person has control.” Such as a jointly occupied vehicle, home, apartment or classroom.
Knowledge of the presence of the drug can be inferred from circumstantial evidence, including possession or ownership of the premises or vehicle where the item was found. However, if more than one person jointly occupies the premises or vehicle where the drugs are found, then the knowledge of the accused will not be inferred from his possession of the premises or vehicle, but rather must be established by independent proof, such as an admission of possession. That is why if you are ever questioned by law enforcement you should immediately invoke your right to have an attorney present before and during questioning. There is no statement that you can make to help yourself. I like to explain it this way: If law enforcement had enough to arrest you they would. Rather, often they want you to say something that can be construed to fit into their theory of your guilt. By politely stating that you would request an attorney prior to speaking and then remaining silent, you could be sealing the win or dismissal of any criminal charges against you.
Drug trafficking – could be and often is charged based on the weight of the alleged drugs. A trafficking arrest is common for someone even law enforcement knows is not a drug dealer, but got caught with enough of a controlled substance to qualify for a charge of trafficking. A trafficking charges carries oppressive minimum mandatory prison sentences and huge fines. An experienced attorney can assist navigating the complexities of what the state must prove and winning defenses that can be applied.