The knowledgeable drug crime lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. represent Tampa Bay residents who have been charged with a wide range of narcotics offenses, including those related to the possession and distribution of cocaine. These are serious crimes that can come with significant consequences, both for the person charged with the offense and for their family. This is why we work aggressively to build strong defenses for the people whom we represent. Our St. Petersburg cocaine crime lawyers are experienced litigators who make every effort to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible.Penalties for Cocaine Crimes
Florida law is quite harsh when it comes to drug crimes. Although the penalties vary depending on the amount and quantity of the drug involved, a conviction may mean years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines. This is not to mention the stigma that comes with having a criminal record. After you are released from incarceration, you may have trouble finding and keeping a job because of your record.
The possession of less than 28 grams of cocaine is a third-degree felony in Florida. A person convicted of this crime faces up to five years in prison and as much as $5,000 in fines. If you get caught with more than 28 grams of the drug, that is considered a first-degree felony for trafficking. This crime comes with certain mandatory minimum penalties that also depend on how much of the drug is involved. The minimum penalty for a person convicted of trafficking more than 28 grams and less than 200 grams of cocaine is three years in jail and $30,000 in fines. The minimum penalties jump to seven years behind bars and $100,000 in fines for a person convicted of trafficking between 200 and 399 grams of cocaine. Trafficking in larger amounts of the drug is subject to minimum penalties of 15 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.Defenses in Cocaine Cases
However, a person charged with a cocaine crime in Florida should know that state and federal laws offer a number of possible defenses. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced cocaine crime attorney in the St. Petersburg area as early as possible – even if you are suspected of a crime and have not yet been charged – in order to start building these defenses.
Many of the strongest defenses in drug cases concern how the police searched for and seized the drugs. Generally, law enforcement officers cannot pull over your car and search it – or stop you on the street and search you - without a reasonable suspicion to believe that you have recently been involved in or are currently committing a crime. To enter and search your home, the cops typically must have probable cause – a higher bar to cross - that a crime is occurring or has occurred. There are some exceptions to this rule, including when police are in “hot pursuit” of a suspect or when the drugs are in “plain view.” Still, any evidence that police obtain by breaking these procedural rules may be excluded from court.Contact a Cocaine Crime Lawyer in St. Petersburg or Surrounding Cities
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we fight drug and other criminal cases head-on, working aggressively to pursue all available options for our clients. We understand how law enforcement officers and prosecutors often approach these cases, and we know what judges and juries usually find significant when deciding them. Our firm has a strong track record of success for people in cocaine possession, trafficking, and other criminal cases. Our offices are conveniently located in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and our St. Petersburg cocaine crime attorneys serve people in Tampa, Sarasota, Brandon, and Bradenton, as well as other areas of Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with an attorney.