Drug cases are still a major part of my criminal defense practice. Most are possession cases. And, although many states, if not most, are lightening up on possession offenses, Florida seems to be holding back. More drug possession defense cases come from a search of a vehicle after a traffic stop than any other type of drug arrest. Most people allow the police to search their car after an ordinary traffic stop even knowing that they have drugs in the car. What I hear most often is that the police have the right to search any how, or if I agree to a search they will think I have nothing to hide and they will not search. Both ideas are wrong. Unless the police have independent grounds to arrest someone, such as for DUI, a person has the right to refuse a search. If an officer claims that he or she can see contraband in plain view from outside of the car, then they may be allowed to search under an exception to the fourth amendment which prevents illegal searches and seizures.
A simple drug possession can turn in to a drug trafficking offense simply by the weight of the substance. A person does not need to sell or even intend to sell a controlled substance for it to constitute drug trafficking. Of course, there are things an experienced drug defense attorney or drug trafficking defense attorney can do to get a trafficking charge lessened, or to challenge either the stop or the search of the vehicle or of the person. Any person charged in Florida under statute 893, regarding controlled substances and drugs should contact an experienced a drug possession defense attorney or drug trafficking lawyer to review their case. A conviction of a drug offense can result in harsh penalties including a two year license suspension and in the case of a trafficking amount there may be a minimum mandatory prison sentence unless the drug defense attorney you select is able to get the evidence suppressed or is able to work out a plea agreement which eliminates the suspension and the jail or prison time.
Perhaps some day Florida will be a little more liberal minded toward certain drug offenses, and in the case of addictions, concentrate more on treatment instead of criminalization, but as for now enforcement of drug laws in Florida is in full force.