Getting arrested for cocaine possession or distribution can be a scary experience in Florida. The state is very tough on drug crimes, and a person can easily face felony charges.
Florida’s take on cocaine
Florida and basically all the other states classify cocaine as a Schedule II drug. This means that even though it has a high potential for abuse, which can induce acute hypertension, strokes, seizures, and psychotic episodes characterized by paranoia and delusions, it also has some medical benefits.
Doctors and surgeons use cocaine during surgeries as a local anesthetic to numb patients’ pain. Cocaine is also used in emergency rooms as a nasal spray to shrink the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract before surgery or to stop nosebleeds.
Possession vs. distribution charges in Florida
Possession of cocaine is a third-degree felony in Florida. This means that if you are convicted of possession of cocaine, you could face up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine. But, if you are caught with less than 28 grams of cocaine (about one ounce), you may be eligible for drug court. Drug court is an alternative sentencing program that allows non-violent offenders to get treatment for their addiction instead of going to prison.
If you are caught selling cocaine or manufacturing it, you will be charged with a second-degree felony. This is a much more serious charge, and if you are convicted, you could face up to 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
If you sell cocaine within 1000 feet of a school, park, or other specified areas, you will be charged with a first-degree felony. This is the most serious cocaine charge in Florida, and if you are convicted, you could face 30 years to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If you have been charged with a cocaine offense in Florida, there are a few defenses that your criminal defense lawyer could use on your behalf. They include:
• Lack of probable cause
• Illegal search and seizure
• Violation of Miranda rights
A criminal charge, especially involving drug crimes, stays on a person’s record for years (drug distribution may never be expunged). If there’s any defense unique to your case that you could use, it may be beneficial to explore it.