Drug trafficking in Florida is considered a felony. This means that a successful conviction of the charge often results in harsh penalties, which can be life-changing. A ruined record coupled with limited freedom means that your life won’t go on as planned. This -of course- can affect you and your loved ones significantly.
However, the legal system doesn’t impose harsh penalties on alleged offenders without giving them the opportunity to be heard. In other words, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you have a successful outcome in your drug trafficking charge in Florida.
Here is an elucidation of some of the key steps to ensure you beat a drug trafficking charge and how a drug trafficking attorney can help you.
Understanding drug trafficking
Drug trafficking, as defined under Chapter 893.135 of Florida law, encompasses possession, selling, purchasing, manufacturing, or transporting into the state any controlled substance over a certain weight/amount or under certain circumstances.
The illegal drugs accompanying a drug charge tend to vary depending on the circumstances. However, some of the common illegal, controlled substances for which drug trafficking charges are applicable include:
Although the list is not all-inclusive, you may potentially be charged with drug trafficking for many other illegal narcotics. Such charges are often accompanied by harsh penalties, which worsen depending on the amount or weight of drugs found in your control.
Also, it is imperative to note that a drug trafficking charge can be prosecuted at the federal and state level. At the state level, the prosecution proceeds to charge the accused based on the existing national laws on drug trafficking. In contrast, a drug trafficking charge is prosecuted at the federal level if it is alleged that the offender crossed state lines. Federal prosecution may also be undertaken if there is a large amount of illegal drugs involved or if the offense included another federal crime.
Having said that, a drug trafficking charge can be hard to beat on your own, especially if you are prosecuted at the federal level. Therefore, to beat a drug trafficking charge, you need a qualified drug crime attorney who will fight hard to exonerate you or have some of the charges dropped altogether.
How can you beat a drug trafficking charge?
The potential penalties associated with drug trafficking make it necessary to counter the charges. In other words, there is a need to defend a drug trafficking charge in order to avoid the long-term consequences associated with a conviction.
That said, the following are some of the key steps to beating a drug charge successfully:
Following your arrest, the arresting officers may ask you to provide information relating to the alleged offense. Divulging such information may be a form of self-incrimination – a move that may ultimately harm your case.
Therefore, the most important thing to do -following an arrest- is to remain silent. It is your right. Also, you need to contact your attorney immediately if you feel like the officers are asking intimidating questions.
Getting help from an Attorney
The minute you hire an attorney, you immediately level the playing ground. Although this is a criminal charge, an attorney can protect your rights while facing the charges.
One of the key steps your attorney will take is to understand the nature and basis of the charges. This helps them make key findings and prepare your defense in the best way possible.
Collect all the relevant Evidence
Like most criminal charges, a drug trafficking charge needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. In order to do this, the prosecution needs to have sufficient evidence which proves that you are the perpetrator.
However, this isn’t straightforward, to say the least, especially because there are often “loopholes” or gaps that expose the weakness of the prosecution. Such gaps are not necessarily procedural errors, but they may take the form of relevant evidence that counters the alleged offense.
Therefore, you need to gather any evidence that can prove your innocence. At times piecing evidence together may seem difficult, but this shouldn’t be a problem since your attorney may focus on collecting relevant evidence that favors your case.
Countering the Charges in the Courtroom
Following the evidence-gathering process, your defense attorney will proceed to build a strong defense against the prosecution. This is by preparing you for any cross-examination that may be undertaken in the courtroom, gathering any witnesses they will call to the stand, and organizing relevant evidence.
That said, there are multiple avenues that your defense attorney may choose to undertake while in court. For example, they may question the legality of your arrest by questioning the manner and circumstances of your arrest. The basis of such a move is to prove that the police officers lacked probable cause to do the search that led to your arrest or they violated your fourth amendment rights.
Ultimately, this may prompt the court to dismiss your case on the basis that the process is marred with illegalities.
Pointing out Substantial Errors in the Evidence
Once charged, the prosecution will indicate the nature of your charges, which is often backed up with evidence. In the case of a drug charge, the prosecution often relies on evidence that indicates that the substance found in your possession is an illegal drug.
Normally, following an arrest, a lab test is conducted to ascertain that the substance found in your possession is an illegally controlled drug. However, in most cases, these test results are often inaccurate based on malfunctioning equipment or other irregularities in the whole process.
As such, your attorney may point out the error in court and prove that the confiscated substance is not an illegally controlled drug.
Invoking the Entrapment Defense
Simply put, entrapment denotes committing a crime you might otherwise not have committed due to extraneous pressure either from the government or from a confidential informant.
If you commit a crime but have a legal justification for doing so, your defense attorney can invoke the entrapment defense to justify the act. Otherwise, your attorney will be telling the court that you “accept” that you committed the crime, but you did so due to heavy pressure from the government or the confidential informant.
Asking the Court to amend the charges
Your attorney can request the court to amend the charges to a lesser charge. For instance, a drug trafficking charge may be amended to a drug possession charge with less stringent penalties. Therefore, this ensures you avoid any stringent penalties associated with a drug trafficking charge.
Drug trafficking charges are potentially life-changing and costly, to say the least. However, it is possible to beat the charges. All you need is a defense team that can fight on your behalf and invoke the appropriate defenses in your case.