Maybe this is your first time on the receiving end of a criminal charge. Maybe it's not the first time you've been charged with a crime. Wherever you are in life, it's important to understand that drug charges can have a huge impact on your life. When thinking about drug charges, do you understand the full range of potential consequences you're facing if you are convicted?
Our readers probably know that Florida is a hotspot in America when it comes to law enforcement and prosecution crackdowns on illegal drugs, whether it is drug smuggling, dealing, manufacturing or just plain possession. There is no doubt that the plague of illegal drug use has ravaged millions of families in our country, but that doesn't mean that law enforcement officials can trounce a person's constitutional rights in pursuit of attempting to win the "War on Drugs."
Most Florida residents probably think that a drug possession charge is relatively straightforward: when a person is caught with illegal drugs, that person will face a drug possession charge. However, oftentimes there is more to these charges than such a simplistic process. In Florida, our readers need to be aware of the basic elements of a drug possession charge.
Most criminal defendants understand that they have constitutional rights that need to be protected as they face their initial hearing and go through their case, perhaps all the way to a jury trial. However, there is perhaps no area of criminal law where constitutional rights are threatened more than in drug charge cases. Why? Well, for the most part, it is because Fourth Amendment rights can be particularly important in drug cases, due to searches and seizures that necessarily occur to uncover illegal drugs.
Most of our readers in Florida know that there are many different drug charges that people could face when it comes to the possession, manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs. Despite the leniency that some other states are beginning to show when it comes to these issues, particularly with marijuana, Florida maintains a strict stance on illegal drugs. But, there are other items related to illegal drugs that a person could possess that might lead to criminal charges as well, such as drug "paraphernalia."
Many drug arrests occur without any type of warrant being involved in the case. That's because there are many exceptions to the constitutional requirement that a warrant is needed to effect an arrest or search. However, there are still some cases that are based on extensive law enforcement investigations, in which the authorities do take the step of obtaining a search warrant.
Florida residents are likely to be familiar with many of their constitutional rights in the event that they are arrested and face criminal charges. For example, we all know the "You have the right to remain silent" line, and most people also know that law enforcement officials cannot simply search anywhere they want. However, there are nuances to all of the constitutional rights that a criminal defendant can exercise in an investigation and in the aftermath of an arrest.
As a previous post here mentioned, Florida is not currently taking the somewhat lenient approach to illegal drugs, particularly marijuana, that some other states are trying. In Florida, drug charges from possession to manufacturing to distribution can all lead to serious problems for an arrestee, not the least of which is the prospect of a potential prison sentence. Drug trafficking is probably considered the most severe of drug charges. So, what can you expect if you are facing drug trafficking charges in Florida?
Anyone who is arrested in Florida might think that they have no options in the immediate aftermath of being detained. Sure, most people know some of their basic constitutional rights, but today's society also seems to be in the grips of the most "guilty until proven innocent" phase as it has ever been. Arrestees may believe that they have been tried in the court of "public opinion" within hours of being arrested.
If you are facing serious drug charges, you may wonder what your options are. You may also have heard about drug diversion programs and wondered what they are.