Drug Crimes in Florida
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, or Miami Dade County, there is very much at stake. Even a minor conviction for possessing a small amount of drugs can have serious consequences. Not only can a drug crime conviction affect your chances at future employment, it can also result in your driver’s license being suspended. This is why it is critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Certain drugs and chemical substances are by law known as “controlled substances.” To prove the criminal violation of drug crimes, the State Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal suspect sold, purchased, manufactured, delivered, possessed with intent to sell, possessed with intent to purchase, possessed with intent to manufacture, or possessed with intent to deliver a controlled substance. If possession is charged, the criminal suspect must have had knowledge of the presence of the substance. “Sell” means to transfer or deliver something to another person in exchange for money or something of value or a promise of money or something of value. “Manufacture” means the production, preparation, packaging, labeling or relabeling, propagation, compounding, cultivating, growing, conversion or processing of a controlled substance, either directly or indirectly. Manufacturing can be by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis. It can also be by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis. “Deliver” or “delivery” means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship. To “possess” means to have personal charge of or exercise the right of ownership, management, or control over the thing possessed. Possession may be actual or constructive. Actual possession means the controlled substance is in the hand of or on the person, or the controlled substance is in a container in the hand of or on the person, or the controlled substance is so close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the person. Mere proximity to a controlled substance is not sufficient to establish control over that controlled substance when it is not in a place over which the person has control. Constructive possession means the controlled substance is in a place over which the criminal suspect has control, or in which the criminal suspect has concealed it. In order to establish constructive possession of a controlled substance if the controlled substance is in a place over which the criminal suspect does not have control, the State Attorney must prove the criminal suspect’s (1) control over the controlled substance and (2) knowledge that the controlled substance was within the criminal suspect’s presence. Possession may be joint, that is, two or more persons may jointly possess an article, exercising control over it. In that case, each of those persons is considered to be in possession of that article. If a person has exclusive possession of a controlled substance, knowledge of its presence may be inferred or assumed. If a person does not have exclusive possession of a controlled substance, knowledge of its presence may not be inferred or assumed. Knowledge of the illicit nature of the controlled substance is not an element of the criminal offense. Lack of knowledge of the illicit nature of a controlled substance is an affirmative defense. If the criminal suspect raises this affirmative defense, then the jury is permitted to presume that criminal suspect was aware of the illicit nature of the controlled substance if the jury finds that the criminal suspect was in actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance. If from the evidence you are convinced that the criminal suspect knew of the illicit nature of the controlled substance, and all of the elements of the charge have been proved, the jury should find the criminal suspect guilty. If the jury has a reasonable doubt on the question of whether the criminal suspect knew of the illicit nature of the controlled substance, the jury should find the criminal suspect not guilty. Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett has experience with all types of drug cases in Miami Dade County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County, including the sale of drugs, the manufacture of drugs, drug trafficking, and simple possession in the South Florida area. State Attorneys in Miami Dade County and Broward County push hard for stiff penalties on drug convictions, but Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett has the skill and experience to advocate for defendants charged with any type of drug-related criminal offense. Depending on the circumstances of the criminal charge, the Miami Dade County or Broward County State Attorney can prosecute within a wide range of different misdemeanor and felony charges, as outlined in the Florida Statutes. Prosecutors, whether in Miami Dade County, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, or any other part of South Florida, are the state’s lawyers, and they make the decision of whether to file criminal charges. Having a criminal defense lawyer speak with the State Attorney before he or she makes the filing decision is very wise. Your criminal defense lawyer might be able to convince the prosecuting attorney to decline to prosecute you. Another option the prosecutor may choose after speaking to your criminal defense lawyer is opting for a lesser charge. This is why it is important to consult a criminal defense attorney like Kenneth P. Hassett when facing such charges. Hassett and Associates, P.A. is a criminal defense firm that practices in Miami Dade County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County. Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett has been practicing since 1991. This criminal defense firm can help to defend you in court against criminal charges. Call Hassett and Associates, P.A. 24 hours per day seven days per week to speak to a criminal defense lawyer about your case.
The information on this page does not represent legal advice. Florida Statues obtained from Online Sunshine, www.leg.state.fl.us, the official site of the Florida Legislature. Because the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained herein may be out of date. It is always wise to seek counsel from an experienced criminal attorney like Kenneth Hassett.
If you have been charged as an Accessory After the Fact or a Principal in the First Degree to a criminal offense in Broward or Miami-Dade County, call Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett.