Any crime involving the sale, possession, or manufacturing of drugs can have significant and dire consequences for not only the individual accused, but for family and loved ones as well. Drug crimes can carry significant penalties in Florida based on the amount of the drug possessed, purchased, sold, or manufactured and are often cases in which a person is facing consequences far more severe than would seem warranted.
$2.6 Million Jury Verdict against Volusia County. Trial televised on Good Morning America.view more
Represented the family of Jordan Davis and oversaw criminal prosecution of his killer, media relations of internationally reported case and confidential civil settlementview more
Confidential settlement of over 100 cases against a pediatric dentist who faces prosecution for fraud based on abuse of children.view more
Drug crimes can range from simple misdemeanors, such as possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, to first-degree felonies under Florida’s drug trafficking laws. Whether a common misdemeanor or a serious felony, a conviction can be life-changing. Significant to understand is that Florida’s drug trafficking laws contain what are called “mandatory minimum” sentences. Unless waived by the State Attorney’s Office, mandatory minimum sentences mean that a person convicted of such an offense is required to spend a specified amount of time incarcerated, day-for-day, and without any opportunity to have the sentence reduced by operation of “good” or “gain” time in the Department of Corrections.
For example, a person who is convicted of the sale, purchase, manufacturing, or possession of 4 grams or more of morphine, opium, oxycodone, hydrocodone or hydromorphone commits the crime of “trafficking in illegal drugs” and will receive a mandatory minimum term of at least 3 years imprisonment and a fine of $50,000. The mandatory minimum sentence may be higher depending on the amount of drugs at issue. For instance, if the person is in possession of 14 grams or more of one of these listed substances, but less than 28 grams, that person faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a $100,000 fine. If they are in possession of 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms, the mandatory minimum is 25 years. To put this in perspective, a person in possession of 28 Hydrocodone pills marked “Watson 540” (500 mg) faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. A person in possession of 7 Lorcet pills (containing the controlled substance “oxycodone”) at 650 mg faces a mandatory minimum of 3 years’ imprisonment. As is readily apparent, it does not take near the amount of prescription pills to attain a trafficking charge, and face mandatory minimum sentences, as one may anticipate.
One aspect of Florida’s criminal court system that is particular to drug crimes is a treatment-based program that offers certain drug offenders an opportunity to resolve their case upon agreement to enter into drug treatment. For many people, Drug Court is not only a chance to avoid harsh penalties in the criminal court system, but is also an opportunity to overcome an addiction which may have been an issue for years. Addiction has and will continue to claim the lives and futures of many unless they seek the help they need and deserve. Drug Court can provide such an opportunity and allow a person suffering from addiction an opportunity to better their future and their relationships with those around them in an effort to resolve their case favorably and get back to living a life of sobriety.
If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a drug crime under Florida law, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of John M. Phillips for a free consultation.