Miami Cocaine Possession & Distribution Lawyer
Both the possession and distribution of cocaine are drug crime offenses that are taken very seriously in Florida and by the U.S. government. A conviction can result in substantial jail time, monetary fines, and other penalties. Whether you have been caught with a large amount of cocaine or even just a small bag with residue, you can be charged with a third degree felony.
Prosecutors and judges in Florida and the federal government come down very harshly on crimes related to controlled substances. As a result, if you have been charged with the possession or distribution of cocaine, you will need to make sure an experienced Miami cocaine possession lawyer can assist with your defense. At Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC, we have years of experience handling Florida drug crime cases, and we can assess yours today.
Florida Definition for Cocaine Possession
Florida law identifies cocaine as a Schedule II controlled substance. Under Florida Statute § 893.02(4), a controlled substance is considered any substance that’s named or described in Schedules I-V. Furthermore, the laws that control the “manufacture, distribution, preparation, dispensing, or administration” of those named substances are defined as “drug abuse laws.”
The Florida statutes provide specific definitions for the possession and distribution of a controlled substance such as cocaine. Under Florida law, possession “includes temporary possession for the purpose of verification or testing, irrespective of dominion or control.” Distribution is then defined as the delivery of cocaine.
Federal law governs the possession and distribution of cocaine under the Controlled Substances Act. Under Section 844, it is a federal offense to “intentionally or knowingly possess a controlled substance.” Cocaine is also considered a Schedule II controlled substance by the federal government, and possess or distribution can come with heavy penalties.
Actual and Constructive Possession of Cocaine
In Florida, a prosecutor must show that a defendant knew he or she was in possession of the cocaine, and possession of the illegal substance can be “actual or constructive.” What is the difference between actual and constructive possession of cocaine?
Actual possession typically refers to a situation in which the cocaine was found directly on the defendant, such as in a pocket or in a purse. In these cases, the defendant usually had exclusive control over the cocaine. Constructive possession is a bit different, and it usually refers to situations in which someone else could have had access to the cocaine. Constructive possession requires a prosecutor to prove the following:
- The defendant knew about the presence of cocaine; and
- The defendant had the ability to control the cocaine
The laws that govern the possession and distribution of cocaine are complicated, but the experienced Miami cocaine defense lawyers at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC can assist you.
Florida Cocaine Possession Penalties
As a third degree felony underFlorida Statute § 893.13, cocaine possession can involve several different serious penalties, including the following:
- Up to 5 years in prison;
- Up to 5 years of probation;
- Up to $5,000 in monetary fines; and
- Driver’s license revocation for 2 years.
Federal sentencing guidelines give different sentences for cocaine possession and distribution. The amount in possession or distributing also plays a role in the level of severity in the punishment. For possession of cocaine, a first time offender can serve up to a year in jail and pay up to a $100,000 fine. A second or third time offender can serve up to two and three years, respectively, and also be given additional fines.
For the distribution of cocaine, federal sentencing guidelines vary greatly based on the amount of cocaine found. The maximum sentence per count for distributing cocaine is ten years plus a massive fine, and if someone is injured or dies from the drug the prison sentence can be as high as twenty years. Civil penalties can also apply in the federal possession or distribution of cocaine up to $10,000. Additionally, your property can be forfeit to the government if it was used to possess or distribute cocaine.
Contact An Experienced Miami Cocaine Possession Lawyer
If you have been arrested for the state or federal possession of cocaine or charged with a crime involving drug abuse in the state of Florida, it’s essential to talk with an experienced Miami drug crimes lawyer about your case. If you’re convicted of a crime involving illegal substances, you can go to jail. While Florida laws concerning cocaine possession and distribution are complicated, many defenses exist for these crimes. Each case is different, and it’s important to have a Miami cocaine possession lawyer examine your case. Contact the law firm of Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today.