On Aug. 5, a Florida businessman entered into a guilty plea of possession of marijuana with intent that stipulates he will spend five years in custody followed by five years on supervised release. The Superior Court judge agreed to the plea, ordered the prison term and emphasized strict requirements when he is released. The district attorney felt that the sentence for the drug offenses was appropriate and liked the combination of time in custody with community supervision. In addition, the 51-year-old man can no longer hold a position of trust in a business due to his felony conviction. Other charges in the indictment will be dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement.
A further stipulation includes notifying his probation officer of any business dealings. In addition, authorities need only minimal reasons in order to conduct a search of his residence. However, he will be allowed to work as a businessman. The district attorney emphasized that he needs to work but that the community needs to be protected from any further criminal actions he might commit.
The charges stem from a fire at an unoccupied home. Officials questioned the reason for the fire and conducted a raid two days later. They found nearly 600 marijuana plants, 200 smaller plants, documentation of the drugs and paraphernalia. Information at the home led them to another residence with 90 more plants along with paraphernalia. In addition to the businessman, four other people face related drug charges because of the incident.
When a professional person is charged with drug-related crimes and convicted, they could lose their ability to work in their chosen career path, in addition to possibly receiving serious penalties. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to work with prosecutors in order to negotiate an acceptable plea agreement.
Source: Florida Times-Union, “Woodbine businessman Stan Smith pleads guilty to drug charge, will serve 5 years in prison“, Terry Dickson, August 05, 2013