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Orlando Criminal Defense Blog

Understanding the strict penalties for marijuana in Florida

It may seem to you that every couple of months, another state has legalized marijuana for recreational use, or decriminalized cannabis at the very least. With Florida being such an entertainment-centered state, you might think the law would be lenient toward those who favor marijuana. However, this is not the case. In fact, marijuana penalties in Florida are among the harshest in the nation.

Many states that have not yet legalized marijuana have decriminalized the use of small amounts, treating pot smoking as an infraction rather than a crime. Not so in Florida, where if you are caught with marijuana, you may face the following consequences:

  • A misdemeanor charge for possessing 20 grams or less of cannabis, including a fine and up to one year in jail
  • A felony charge for possessing between 20 grams and 25 pounds of marijuana, including a five years in prison and a $5,000 fine
  • Suspension of driver's license

Heroin charges and your rights in Orlando

As a part of the growing opioid crisis in the United States, arrests and charges for heroin possession are increasing as law enforcement steps up efforts to combat the problem. This means if you are a heroin user, your chances of being caught and charged with possession are likely much greater now than in the past.

If the police have arrested you for heroin possession in Orlando, you should know that you do have rights. A criminal defense attorney, especially one with former experience on the other side as a prosecutor, can help you understand your options. Here is some basic information about heroin charges in Florida and your rights.

BAC less than .08? It may still be a DUI

Police issue DUIs to keep drivers off the road who pose dangers to others and themselves. In many cases, the driver is clearly over the legal limit. Look at a recent situation in Florida where police arrested a man who claimed to have drunk too much Chardonnay in Cape Coral

However, other cases are not so cut-and-dry. There have been instances where a person took a breathalyzer test, blew under the .08 percent limit and still faced arrest. It is usually up to the police officer's discretion, but drivers may face arrest for DUI even if they only have blood alcohol concentration less than .08 percent. There are some justifiable instances, such as a person under the age of 21 driving with any trace of alcohol in his or her system. Other cases are more ambiguous. 

3 drug trafficking defense options

If you are facing drug trafficking charges in the Orlando area, you may think your situation is going to mirror those that you have seen in the movies and on television. You might not realize the seriousness of the charges you have against you. A conviction could carry a minimum of three years behind bars and more.

Now, having criminal charges pending does not have to be the end of the world. You may want to take some time to review a few drug trafficking defense options that, depending on the circumstances, might be able to help improve your situation.

Differences between drug trafficking and smuggling

The United States currently experiences an extreme drug epidemic. Reports indicate that people traffic millions of dollars' worth of drugs into the country every year, and Florida is a major hotspot for where these drugs enter. 

Most drug-related charges carry felony penalties. They can result in several years in prison at the bare minimum to extreme fines. The exact penalties can depend on the precise charge a person faces. That is why it is incredibly important for people to understand the nuances of law, such as the differences between drug trafficking and drug smuggling, which are typically used synonymously. 

Defining drug possession with intent to sell

Over 1 million people face arrest every year as a result of a drug law violation. In 2016, the FBI arrested over 1.5 million people for an array of charges, including possession of a controlled substance and sale or manufacturing of a drug. However, there is another charge many Floridians have faced: possession with intent to sell

This charge often carries much harsher penalties than simple possession. This charge tends to confuse defendants because it seems difficult to prove "intent" was present. This charge can send a person to jail for decades, so it is vital to get a lawyer immediately to start building a case. People can face this charge regardless of the type of drug in possession, whether it was marijuana, cocaine or heroin.

Different field sobriety tests

The police arrest thousands of people in Florida every year for driving under the influence of alcohol. In 2013, police issued DUI traffic tickets to 49,776 drivers in Florida.

Before making an arrest, a police officer may make the person perform various field sobriety tests to determine whether he or she needs to go to a station. People in this situation need strong DUI defenses to avoid a conviction, and part of this defense comes down to the exact tests the driver performed. 

What you should know about having a drug trafficking charge

Under Florida law, anyone caught with a certain amount of illegal narcotics in her or his possession can be charged with drug trafficking. If you are facing a drug trafficking charge, you could end up in jail for quite a long time. A drug trafficking charge is a serious federal offense, even for first-time offenders. Because it can have a major impact on your life, you should consider the following information about drug trafficking charges. 

You could end up with a trafficking charge, even if you intended to use it for yourself. Sometimes, people who have drug trafficking charges were really just caught with possession of a controlled substance. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to your arrest, you should consider hiring an attorney. 

Possible defenses for Florida drug charges

Drug charges are serious. A conviction can lead to three years to life in prison, and charges alone are enough to ruin your employment and family relationships. Guilty or not, you deserve fair and lawful treatment from all involved in the justice system.

If you face any type of drug charge, you can work with a lawyer on a strong defense to reduce or eliminate the charges and legal consequences.

Factors that affect how the body absorbs alcohol

Drivers operating motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol are still a huge issue. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2015 alone, over 10,000 people died as a result of being in an alcohol-related car accident.

A big reason why drunk driving is still an issue is that people get behind the wheel of a car not realizing how impaired their abilities are. It actually does not take much for a person’s blood alcohol content to get over 0.08. A good rule of thumb is to simply avoid driving when you consumed beer, wine or liquor that evening because there are several factors that can affect how alcohol interacts with the body. 

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