The concentrated effort by the United States government to eliminate the use of drugs by citizens is usually called the "War on Drugs." It has been going on for decades now, with its roots in the 1970s. The main ways this is done is by cracking down harder on drug-related offenses, making more arrests and then giving those who make, distribute, sell or use drugs harsher sentences.
When a drug arrest is made in Florida, some might believe that it was for the sale, distribution or trafficking of drugs. However, many people who are arrested simply face drug possession charges. In these cases, when a person faces drug charges, it is important to understand how to lodge a defense for an acquittal or seek an outcome that does not involve incarceration. Having legal help can be key to this goal.
The daily grind of life is not easy. Between work, family responsibilities, self-care and everything else a person is expected to do, it can be overwhelming. Add legal trouble to the list and the pressure can be staggering. Being accused of a drug crime, like intent to distribute, should immediately be a concern for the accused and their family. The potential consequences of such a charge is enough to make anyone sit up and pay attention.
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."
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.
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.