Taking On Drug Trafficking Charges In Hillsborough County
Almost all drug crime prosecutions in Florida are simple possession cases. However, whenever possible, authorities like to cut the head off the Hydra and prosecute suspected drug traffickers. A few drug trafficking prosecutions involve complex, multi-state distribution networks and are otherwise highly sophisticated. But most of these matters are low-level matters, such as a person making meth in a bathtub or distributing unused prescription pain pills.
In either situation, the procedure is much the same, as outlined below. Additionally, the direct and indirect penalties are much the same. A drug trafficking conviction almost always means a prison term, especially if certain enhancements apply. Furthermore, in the eyes of many, drug trafficking is the worst infraction in the penal code. Only a Tampa drug trafficking lawyer can reduce or eliminate these consequences.
An effective criminal defense begins with prompt jail release. Especially in the coronavirus era, prompt jail release is also a health and safety issue. Infectious diseases usually spread like wildfire in local jails. Moreover, incarceration itself, and the associated surge in stress hormone levels, could cause a permanent brain injury.
Essentially, drug trafficking is a semi-violent felony. It’s not as violent as sexual battery, murder, aggravated assault, or other such crimes. However, it’s often not completely non-violent either. Many drug traffickers intimidate or harm their rivals.
Therefore, pretrial release, or own recognizance (OR) release, is usually unavailable. This form of jail release is usually only available in completely non-violent crimes, like theft, embezzlement, and other such infractions.
Cash bail is normally not an option either. At this early point in the criminal law process, there is a presumption that drug traffickers are dangerous individuals and flight risks.
In most cases, that leaves a bail bond. Basically, a bail bond is an insurance policy. If the defendant fails to show up at trial and fulfill other bail conditions, the bonding company assumes the financial risk of bond forfeiture. Most bonding companies charge about a 10 or 15 percent premium for their services.
Evaluating a Drug Trafficking Case
Like most other criminal cases, drug trafficking matters usually involve procedural and/or substantive defenses.
Key procedural defenses include failure to properly obtain a search warrant and failure to properly Mirandize suspects.
Drug trafficking offenses usually involve massive amounts of seized evidence or catching a trafficker in flagrante delicto (red-handed). Both scenarios usually involve warrants that rely on information provided by a paid informer. Many people will say practically anything for love or money. So, the information in one of these search warrant affidavits is almost presumptively unreliable.
The Miranda warnings include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Officers must administer these rights almost immediately after they initially detain suspects. A late or inadequate warning, perhaps because the warning was not in the defendant’s first language, could mean any subsequently-obtained evidence, including a tip or confession, is inadmissible.
Substantive defenses usually involve the high burden of proof in drug trafficking and other criminal law matters. Prosecutors must establish every element of every offense beyond any reasonable doubt. Frequently, a sufficient amount of compelling evidence is simply unavailable.
After such arrests, law enforcement officials usually hold press conferences in which all drugs, money, weapons, and other seized evidence is presented together. But reality is often different. It’s very difficult to connect drugs in the garage with weapons in the bedroom, at least in most cases.
Count On a Dedicated Hillsborough County Attorney
A criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, contact the OA Law Firm. Convenient payment plans are available.