possession

Two Elements To Every Drug Bust

Drug Defense Attorney

RJ Ferraro has defended against Drug convictions since 2001

With all of the focus on the legalization of marijuana in Florida, some important information on other types of drug charges may be getting overlooked. Remember that the crack down on drugs is not limited to pot, and even if you are engaged in legal activity regarding marijuana, there are still plenty of illegal activities as far as other substances are concerned. Once final, the legalization of marijuana will apply only to that substance, and if you are caught with cocaine, methamphetamine, or any other banned substance you can be arrested and brought up on drug charges.

Two parts to every drug bust, that is the responsibility of the State to prove in order to get a conviction against you, are:

  • That you were knowingly in possession of the drug in question.
  • That you were able to exercise control or ownership of the drug in question.

 

These two requirements mean that it is not sufficient to show that you possessed an illegal substance, you must also have done so both knowingly and willingly. These are difficult standards to prove and require an in depth analysis into each facet of your case. The prosecution will work hard to show that you knew you had the drugs on you, and that you did so of your own willful act. Our job is to dispute the evidence offered by the State, and minimize the possible range of punishment you face. This is done through careful investigation and persuasive argument. When an error is made by the prosecution, we point that out to the Court and make sure you get the benefit of a lawful proceeding against you. All cases are different and some are resolve by plea negotiation while others require a trial to prove the truth of the matter. You also need to know that the law defines possession as either actual or constructive. With actual possession it can be more difficult to rebut the presumption you knew you had the drugs on your person. Constructive possession, on the other hand, is a type of possession where the substance is simply near your and/or within your control. For more information about what to do if you are charged with drug possession, call our office.

If you have questions about drug possession cases, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Four Different Types Of Drug Charges

Florida has a reputation for having easy access to drugs, but the state also has a reputation for handing out harsh punishment to those who get caught up with drugs. It is important to understand that there are classifications of substances, and not every case will be the worst case scenario. For instance, a possession of marijuana case will not be punished in the same was as manufacturing methamphetamine or distributing cocaine. Not only does the type of substance play a role in what type of charges are filed against you, but so do the actions taken in connection with the substance.

Four different types of drug charges that can be filed, regardless of the substance, include:

  • Possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
  • Distribution of a controlled dangerous substance.
  • Possession with the intent to sell, or simply selling a banned substance.
  • Trafficking in an illegal substance.

These are not the only possibilities, and you need to know that the State can come up with other combos of charges. As the type of activity becomes more involved, the range of punishment increases as does the piling up of charges. You also have to watch out for how much of a substance is involved in the case, as that can cause a case that might otherwise be filed as a misdemeanor to be filed as a felony. All of this information makes it close to impossible to keep track of the different combinations of charges that can be filed, but our team of experienced drug defense attorneys knows how to sort through a case. Once the facts of your case have been placed on the table, a defense strategy can be developed. We know which types of cases are more serious than others, and how subsequent convictions play a role in a new charge. We also know how important it is to you to get a good result in your case, and work with you every step of the way so vital pieces of information do not go overlooked. For more information about drug related crimes, and how to best defend them, call our office today.

If you have questions about how to defend a drug charge, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

 

Three Types Of Punishment For Possession Charges

Even though a lot of states are starting to legalize marijuana, at least for medicinal purposes, possession of marijuana is still a common criminal charge. Considering that several issues surrounding legalized use for medicinal purposes has been put to a vote (and generally accepted by the voters), it can be hard to know what is allowed and what is prohibited. Even with a legalization of marijuana for medical necessity, there are still several circumstances where possession of marijuana is illegal. And while many cases are classified as misdemeanors, the range of possible punishment can still be severe. Knowing what you might face is helpful; because it will help you put together the facts of your case and develop an effective defense.

If you engage in one or more of the acts still classified as illegal where marijuana is concerned, here are three types of punishment you can expect a for possession of marijuana charge:

  • The possibility of going to jail and serving a term of incarceration, which takes away your freedom.
  • Losing your driver’s license, which will mean you will be forced to find another way to get around.
  • Resolving the case by agreeing to go on probation. While on probation you will be required to follow certain rules, much like if you are placed on probation for a DUI or other criminal charge, and if you are successful the charges can be either reduced or dismissed at the end of your probation.

Each of these possible forms of punishment is disruptive and requires you to change your day to day activities, especially if you are sentenced to a jail term. But the impact can be minimized with the right defense team by your side. We have experience defending possession charges, and can let you know what types of possession are being legalized. If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, call us for help. We will examine the facts of your case and let you know your options. Our goal is to get you satisfactory results and make sure any agreement you make is one you can handle.

If you questions about drug possession charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Three Things To Watch For In Drug Possession Cases

The State of Florida takes a tough stand on drugs, and the punishment for violating one or more of the drug laws can be harsh. Cases range from misdemeanors to felonies, the amount of jail time that is possible can be lengthy, and the financial fines can be quite high. Most people cannot afford to spend any amount of time in jail, and money is tight for everyone these days. If you have been arrested and charged with possession, it is critical you act fast by securing competent representation to defend you.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your case meets the criteria for possession, because maybe the facts of your circumstance are that you were only driving the car and a passenger had drugs on them that were found during a traffic stop. The police often arrest the driver in these situations, because it is presumed that you knew or should have known what your passengers were carrying, or that you were taking part in their activities. Three things that can be considered “possession” for the purposes of making an arrest are:

  • Having drugs on your person for personal use.
  • Possessing drugs with the intent to distribute or sell them.
  • Being caught with drugs on you for any other activity, other than personal use or for sale.

The amount of substances you have on you when arrested also plays a role in your case. The more you have of something, the more likely it is you will be charged with a felony. Sometimes the way the drugs are packaged can also impact your case. For instance, if you have a large quantity of marijuana, already rolled and bundled in packages, it can appear as though you intend to sell the drugs. Possession with intent is a crime in and of itself, and is much more serious than simple possession. In order to put your best foot forward, you need to give a thorough account of the facts to your attorney so an effective defense can be developed. We have worked with a countless number of people who are facing drug charges, and can work with you today to get a result that works. Call one of our experienced drug defense attorneys now to schedule an appointment.

For more information about drug possession charges, call an experienced defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We offer an initial consultation for no charge, and look forward to helping you resolve your case in a satisfactory way.

The Number One Cause Of Drug Arrests

Even if you aren’t old enough to remember the original Miami Vice, you may have seen a rerun or even caught a glimpse of one of the remade episodes. The show centered around two undercover officers and their “war on drugs”, while exploring how their personal lives intertwined. Florida seemed to be a good setting for the show, because of the ease with which drugs can be brought into a coastal state. While it is true that this happens, you might be surprised to learn that offshore drug activity is not where most drug arrests take place, and many times the cases are far less glamorous than what is portrayed on television or in the movies.

The number one way to get arrested for drugs is to get pulled over for a DUI or traffic violation, and have the officer search your car for drugs. This type of action can lead to:

  • A DUI arrest
  • A drug arrest
  • Being charged with possession, with intent to distribute
  • Loss of your driving privileges

If you are pulled over for speeding and the officer suspects there are drugs in the car, you can bet a plausible reason to search your vehicle will be made. The severity of the charges will vary from case to case, and this is because the facts of each stop are different. If you are driving alone it will be a tough sell to claim the controlled substances found were not yours, but with multiple passengers this can be a good argument to make. Other possible defenses include attacking the search itself. If the search of your car was improper, any contraband found during that search should not find its way to a court of law. A thorough investigation into what actually happened during your stop is a must, and we are prepared to make that investigation for you. Our goal is to provide you with representation that fits the facts of your case rather than take a cookie cutter approach to your defense. We understand how important it is to keep a clean record, and to stay out of jail. If you have been arrested for having drugs in your car, call us today.

If you have questions about DUI or drug defense, and how it relates to your driver’s license or state ID, call our office. Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

 

What Does “Intended To Be Used” Mean In A Drug Case?

The law is full of definitions and phrases that are subject to interpretation. One of the most commonly used phrases of art in criminal law is “intended to be used”…in connection with some sort of drug possession or paraphernalia charge. Defense attorneys see this a lot, especially with youthful offenders. Being charged with possession could mean possession of an actual substance, or the paraphernalia used in connection with the substance. In either instance it is important to vigorously defend the charges, and we can help.

Florida law gives the authorities broad powers when making claims that certain items are classified as drug paraphernalia. For example:

  • How close in proximity the item was found to an actual controlled substance.
  • Whether residue of a substance is found on the item.
  • What has been said about the use of the item, by a person with the authority to use the item or someone who is exercising control over the item (like the owner).

The most frequently thought of case of this type is a possession of marijuana case, where other things are found with the marijuana (like a pipe, baggie, or baggie ties). If you have a substance inside a bag it is likely the bag will be considered paraphernalia and if you have a lot of bags with the other items needed to tie up those bags it can look like you are preparing drugs for distribution. This is how the prosecution is able to stack charges, one on top of the other, and is a good example of how simple possession cases can quickly spiral out of control. Another thing to be wary of is the fact you do not actually have to be in possession of the item to be charged with possession. It is possible for an arrest to be made for possession when the items and/or substances are within your reach. If you are facing drug possession charges, call our office to talk with a criminal defense attorney for help. These cases often include more than meets the eye, and we know where to look to figure out what type of defense strategy to develop.

If you have questions about drug cases, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

The Difference Between Two Types Of Possession

Drug cases often turn on whether the defendant was in possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia, and most people think this requires the prosecution to show that the defendant had something on their person. But there are actually two types of possession as far as the law is concerned, and either one of them can cause you to face a possession charge. Understanding the different types of possession, as the law defines both, will help you to properly defend the charges against you.

The two types of possession for drug cases include:

  • Actual possession: this means the defendant actually had the item or drug on them, personally. This happens most frequently when drugs are found in your pockets, in a cup or other container you are holding, or in your bare hands.
  • Constructive possession: this means the defendant did not have the item or drug on their person, but had easy access to the item or drug in question. This type of possession can occur when you are driving and there are drugs or drug paraphernalia in the backseat, the glove box, or under the driver’s seat. The key here is that the person being charged can quickly and easily access the banned substance.

With constructive possession it is also easy to be charged with other types of violations, such as a traffic infraction or even a DUI, especially if the items are found while you are pulled over in your car. This is because when the police pull you over for speeding and suspect you have been drinking and also spot things in your car, they will articulate a reason to do a search. When things are found as a result of the search, you can face a multitude of charges. In order to successfully these types of cases you first want to look at whether the stop was valid, if not you may be able to have the search results thrown out. You should also challenge the search itself and argue there was no legal basis for having the search performed. Our team of DUI defense attorneys has experience in cases with multiple charges and is ready to help defend you today.

For more information about criminal defense, call an experienced defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We offer an initial consultation for no charge, and look forward to working with you

 

Thirty Reasons To Stay Off Drugs

There are several reasons to remain drug free, the least of which is how mixing drugs and alcohol can impact you physically, and legally. Possession charges can lead to jail time, but when you take the wheel of a car and combine drugs and alcohol the legal equation becomes quite difficult. DUI charges become enhanced when drugs are involved and you can be looking at hard jail time if you do not act fast. This is true even if you are dealing with a seemingly harmless substance, such as marijuana.

A lot of people look at smoking marijuana as nothing more serious than smoking a cigarette. And, with a handful of states legalizing the drug it is easy to take for granted some of the side effects of the substance. For instance, you might be surprised to learn that marijuana can stay in your system up to thirty days, and those thirty days can be reason enough to avoid the temptation to “smoke a little weed”. Here are some of the things that can happen if you smoke marijuana and then drink and drive:

  • The charges against you will include DUI as well as possession, making it necessary to defend multiple criminal charges as well as fight for the right to maintain your driving privileges.
  • DUI’s that include drugs are a higher class of criminal charge and may be more difficult to keep off your record.
  • You may not be able to seek an expungement of a DUI that also involves drugs.

The police have the power to test you for substances other than alcohol if they believe those other substances exist when you are pulled over. If you are required to take a blood test rather than simply blowing into a breath test machine, the results are a little more difficult to challenge. Blood tests typically yield more reliable results than do simple breath tests, but that does not mean you do not have a defense. What it does mean though is that you have to act fast and provide your attorney with the information needed to develop a defense as soon as possible. Call us today to learn more about how drugs and alcohol don’t mix well in the eyes of the law.

If you have questions about DUI and possession charges, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. Call us to schedule an appointment.

Three Possible Punishments For Possession

With so many states taking steps to legalize marijuana, possession of the substance is becoming more and more common. But Florida has not yet made the leap to legalization, and possession remains a crime. The range of punishment if you are caught with marijuana depends on several factors, one of which being the quantity possessed. If the amount is less than 20 grams, the offense is a misdemeanor. The idea of being charged with a misdemeanor does not usually conjure up serious punishment in the minds of most people, but when talking about possession of marijuana, the consequences can be severe.

 

Possession can be the actual possession of the substance, or possession by another while under your control and within your knowledge. The charge is serious, but not impossible to defend. A good starting point when developing a defense is understanding the possible outcomes. Three possible punishments for possession of marijuana in Florida include:

 

  • Jail time to serve.
  • Agreeing to go on probation for a period of time.
  • Loss of your driver’s license and the right to drive.

Any of these three things can wreak havoc on your daily schedule, and require you to make adjustments to your routine. Any time significant change to your activities is necessary, it can be hard. For instance, if you lose your right to drive you will have to rely on friends or family, or find reliable public transportation to get you to where you need to go. If you are placed on probation, you will be expected to stay out of trouble and to follow other rules. If you fail to abide by the terms of your probation you can face the full weight of the punishment for the crime as well as be made to answer for the crime of violating probation. The result may be jail time, which takes away your freedom. We have experience helping people who have been charged with drug crimes, and can help you too. Call us today for more information.

For answers to questions about possession charges, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

 

“You Put Your Weed In There”

Drug charges are serious offenses, but there are varying degrees of seriousness. It all depends on the type of drug, and your level of involvement. For instance, possession is a less serious charge than distribution, and possession of marijuana is not as severe a charge as possession of a substance like cocaine or methamphetamine. The range of punishment will also vary depending on whether this is your first, or a subsequent offense.

The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with information, which includes knowing possible outcomes of your case under the relevant law. Here are common questions, with possible outcomes for drug related charges:

  • What will happen to me if I am a first time offender? The range of punishment for first time offenders is much less than for repeat offenders, but could still include jail time.

● Does the type of drug matter? Yes! Punishment and fines are generally lower for cases involving “lesser” drugs than cases involving substances that are considered “harder”.

● Should I negotiate? The specific facts of your case will dictate what type of defense strategy to employ.

 

Regardless of the level of severity of your case, it is important that you are prepared. An effective defense includes one where you are well-informed. Developing a solid defense requires a thorough investigation, analysis, and application of the law to the facts of your case. The prosecution has leeway in things like reducing charges, which can result in a lower range of punishment. The evidence gathered in your defense plays an important role in how much leeway the state is willing to exercise. Make sure your defense is airtight by partnering with a trained criminal defense attorney.

If you have been arrested for a drug crime, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment for a free initial evaluation of your case.

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