Tampa Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
The Extensive Experience You Need When Facing Serious Drug Charges
Drug crimes in Florida come in many different forms and penalties for sale, delivery and possession depend on a variety of factors, including the type of drug and the amount that was sold, delivered or possessed. If you or a loved one are charged with drug crimes, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced defense attorney to ensure you understand exactly what you could be facing as far as potential consequences. Attorney Brian E. Gonzalez has defended hundreds of clients accused of drug crimes in Tampa Bay and across Florida and he has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to protect your rights and minimize penalties in both state and federal court.
Aggressive Defense Against Possession, Cultivation, Trafficking, Manufacturing or Conspiracy Charges
Our firm is well-equipped with a team of professionals prepared to defend you no matter the charges. Brian E. Gonzalez has successfully defended a range of drug crime cases dealing with the possession, sale, and trafficking in all types of drugs. With an aggressive, analytical approach to evidence, he works to limit harsh sentencing in both felony and misdemeanor cases. Most people don’t realize that a conviction for any drug offense in Florida, whether a misdemeanor or felony, results in a two-year driver’s license suspension. To prevent this and other harsh consequences, we deliver aggressive defense against allegations involving:
- Common street drugs like marijuana, powder and crack cocaine, and heroin
- Synthetic and “party drugs” such as methamphetamine, LSD, Molly and Ecstasy (MDMA)
- Prescription drugs and pain medications such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone and a full range of other pharmaceuticals
Types of Drug Crimes and Penalties
In Florida, drug crimes come with some of the harshest punishments. But what drug you possess and the amount involved play a major role in determining what that punishment could look like for you.
- Possessing Drug Paraphernalia: If you are found possessing certain items associated with illegal drugs, such as a bong for marijuana or cooking kits for cocaine, you may be charged with a misdemeanor, assuming no illegal drugs were found on your person.
- Possession of Drugs:The penalties for possession of illegal drugs depend on the schedule of the drug and the amount carried. For example, less than 1 gram of marijuana may result in a fine of $1,000 or up to a year in county jail, while anything up to 28 grams of cocaine could leave you with a 5-year sentence.
- Intent to Sell or Distribute Narcotics: Intent is all that is required to be charged for selling or distributing narcotics. This generally means large amounts of illegal drugs, such as two dozen marijuana plants, is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
- Drug Trafficking: Again, intent and amount are key in determining your involvement in drug trafficking. If you are found in possession of large amounts of illegal substances, you could be facing 30 years, or life in prison, if a firearm is involved.
Incarceration, however, is not the only negative consequences of a drug conviction. Other potential drug crime penalties and consequences include:
- Removal proceedings and deportation for green card holders and undocumented individuals
- Loss of driving privileges
- Possible loss or curtailment of child custody or visitation
- Possible refusal of entry by foreign countries
- Fines and probation
The economic consequences of a conviction will actually involve more than simply paying fines. In today’s economic environment, employers can be very selective about whom they hire. A criminal record of any kind can make it very hard to get a job in your chosen field or even rent an apartment.
Drug Crime Defenses
While drug convictions most likely mean imprisonment, it is important to speak with a Tampa drug crime attorney to ensure you build a worthwhile defense, helping prove your innocence or limiting any repercussions.
- Illegal Traffic Stops: Law enforcement cannot pull you over without just cause or some reason to suspect that you are violating the law. If they do stop you illegally, you can keep any evidence they collected out of court.
- Illegal Searches of Your Home or Property: The Fourth Amendment gives you the right to be free from searches without reasonable cause and/or a search warrant. If law enforcement searches you or your property, including your vehicle, illegally, you can keep evidence collected out of court.
- Joint Possession or Constructive Possession: In joint possession cases, drugs are assumed to belong to an entire group of people who may be in possession of the drugs together. Likewise, in constructive possession cases, law enforcement assumes you were in possession of the drugs based on factors surrounding your search or arrest. If you were not actually in possession and had no control over the drugs, you can defend yourself by arguing lack of control or possession of the drugs.
- Substantial Assistance: If you help law enforcement to convict others involved in your drug crimes, such as your dealer or someone who you were conspiring with to obtain drugs, you may be able to convince the court to reduce or suspend your sentence. This is not usually the best option but can be appropriate in certain drug crimes cases.
- Miranda Rights Violation: The Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement must read you your rights before you are taken into custody. These rights include the right to a lawyer and the right to remain silent. If law enforcement does not read you your rights, or those rights were read improperly, then anything you may have said to law enforcement cannot be used against you in court. Review any video taken during the arrest to ensure all your rights were read properly.
- Drug Weight Defense:Often, the police will weigh the drugs in a manner that increases their weight. For instance, they may include the pill bottle and/or the container that holds the drugs when weighing it, thus increasing the seriousness of the charges faced. For example, anything over 4 grams in pill weight can lead to trafficking charges, which carry with them a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. To fight this over-charging on the part of the prosecutor, we can have an independent expert weigh the drugs to challenge the police and the prosecutor’s drug weight evidence.
- Prescription Defense: If you have a valid prescription for a controlled substance but don’t have it at the time of your arrest, we can present the prescription to the prosecutor and demand that they drop the charges.
- Substance Abuse Treatment Defense: If the evidence against you is strong or not in our favor, we can help you attempt to enter either a Residential or Out-Patient Drug Program as a substitute for jail/prison time.
Strategic, Intelligent Defenses
With years of defense experience in both federal and state courts, Brian E. Gonzalez has garnered praise from colleagues and clients for both his legal knowledge and respect among legal peers for his dedicated stance and commitment to his clients’ rights.
Our firm has dealt with hundreds of drug crime cases in Florida and we have been successful in negotiating more favorable outcomes throughout our long history in the courtroom. Whether transporting drugs across state lines or caught with marijuana at a traffic stop, don’t leave your fate to chance. Attorney Brian E. Gonzalez will defend your rights to the very end, answering questions and supporting you and your family until your case is resolved.
We have built winning defense cases based on probable cause or lack of probable cause for a traffic stop or seizure, lack of a warrant, our client’s proximity to the illegal drugs in question, authorities’ mishandling of evidence and other factors. We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your arrest and develop a defense designed specifically for you.
Informed, Realistic Answers When You Need Them Most
If allegations have been made against you or a loved one, you may have questions and you deserve answers. Brian E. Gonzalez can help you understand your situation by answering questions like:
- What are the worst consequences I could face from this drug offense?
- Why was I charged with intent to sell when the drugs were for my own use?
- Can the state really prove possession?
- Is there a confidential informant involved? Is he/she being paid or attempting to work off pending charges?
- Can I be arrested for just being somewhere (home or car) where drugs are located, if they are not mine?
- Is there a possibility of negotiating with the prosecutor to get charges reduced?
- Can going to treatment help me avoid jail?
- What if the police did not have a good reason to search me (or my car, my home or other premises) or place me under arrest?
- Will my case be transferred to federal court, and what does that mean for me?