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Tens of thousands of people are behind bars in Florida for drug-related crimes. If you have been arrested and want your best chance to avoid joining those individuals for an extended stay, you need an Orlando drug charge lawyer.
Illegal drugs are common in Florida and support an enormous underground industry. Those involved potentially face state and federal drug charges. Attorney Michael Panella may be able to help if that has happened to you.
Both state and federal laws address drug crimes. However, federal law enforcement agencies focus primarily on illegal manufacture, sales, and distribution over state lines or national borders.
Generally, these agencies and prosecutors have more resources than their state counterparts, so you should take a federal drug investigation or charge very seriously.
If your life has collided with the criminal justice system, you can protect your freedom by contacting our top Orlando drug charge lawyers who will fight for you.
If you are looking for a lawyer for drug charges in the local area, you should partner with our team. Some of the reasons why you should work with us include the following:
Expertise: Not all criminal defense attorneys have experience dealing with Orlando drug crime charges, but we do. Our lawyers have already represented countless people who have been charged with drug crimes, and we can use that experience and expertise to help you as well.
Prior results: We have a long track record of success, and we invite you to take a closer look at some of our prior case results. When you see what we have done for clients in the past, you will know that we will also go the extra mile to help you.
Client testimonials: In addition to our track record of success, we also have lots of positive reviews from prior clients. You need to work with a drug charge attorney in Orlando, FL, who will make sure that you feel as comfortable as possible, and you will see that our clients believe that we do precisely that.
Connections: We understand how to manage the narrative if you have been charged with a drug crime, and we can use our connections throughout the justice system to position your case for the best possible result.
If you would like to learn more about how our Orlando, FL, drug charge lawyers can help you, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
If you decide to partner with our team, there are several ways that we can help you. They include:
You need a reliable lawyer who understands how to position your case for a favorable outcome, so contact us today.
Your arrest may be due to drugs that have legal medical uses but are illegal if used recreationally or sold outside legal channels. Some drugs are strictly illegal, and anything involved can result in an arrest.
Florida law categorizes drugs into five schedules and includes long lists of specific drugs and substances.
Schedule 1: A substance with a high potential for abuse with no currently accepted medical use in the U.S.; its use under medical supervision does not meet safety standards.
Schedule 2: A substance with a high potential for abuse but which has a currently accepted (but severely restricted) medical use in the U.S. Misuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Schedule 3: A substance with a potential for abuse but less than those in Schedules 1 and 2. It has an accepted medical use in the U.S. Abusing the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence or, in the case of anabolic steroids, may lead to physical harm.
Schedule 4: A substance with a low potential for abuse compared to those in Schedule 3. It has an accepted medical use in the U.S. Misuse may cause limited physical or psychological dependence compared to Schedule 3 substances.
Schedule 5: A substance, compound, mixture, or preparation of a substance with low potential for abuse compared to substances in Schedule 4. It has an accepted medical use in the United States. Abuse of these materials may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence compared to Schedule 4 substances.
Controlled substances are listed in the same schedules in federal law. Therefore, a qualified drug charge defense lawyer may be able to show that the substance at issue in your case is not an illegal drug (controlled substance.)
Florida statute §893.13 states that a person may not sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess, with intent to sell, a controlled substance (unless it is used for a legal purpose). Under certain circumstances, penalties for these actions can increase when they occur on or within 1,000 feet of:
There are also restrictions on what physicians and others able to prescribe legal drugs can do.
Federal drug charges fall into three classes of “prohibited acts.” They are:
Class A: To manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance or to create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.
Class B: To break the law concerning the handling, storage, sale, inspection, and record-keeping of controlled substances.
Class C: Engaging in fraud to get a controlled substance, using a false federal drug registration number, being involved with making or selling counterfeit drugs, and trying to get around federal law by creating a new substance.
Class A crimes cover a wide range of acts involving illegal drugs. Classes B and C aim to prevent legitimate drug businesses from contributing to or profiting from unlawful and counterfeit drugs.
If you are facing federal drug charges, get help from our Orlando drug crime lawyers. When your future is at stake, you need an experienced, skilled attorney. You will find that with Panella Law Firm. Count on us to aggressively defend your rights.
Even state drug convictions can result in a penalty that costs a lot of time and money, not to mention the disruption to your life and plans. Depending on your state charge, you could look at anywhere from one to thirty years in a Florida state prison.
Fines can range from $500 to $10,000. Community service may also be part of the sentence. Depending on your past criminal record and the facts of your situation, penalties can increase, be very harsh and result in many years in prison.
Like state sentences, federal sentences are also driven by the facts of the crime and your record. Whether yours is a state or a federal prosecution, you need a savvy, experienced drug charge defense lawyer to see that your case is handled skillfully, and you receive the most lenient sentence possible under the circumstances.
Drug charges in Florida get their start in many ways. Possession charges are often the result of people being stopped and frisked by police or vehicles being pulled over and searched. In some cases, drugs or drug-related evidence may be found unexpectedly when a search warrant is executed for a different crime.
Some drug arrests occur because police receive tips that acts have been observed which appear to involve drug dealing, leading to an investigation and arrests. It is common that people involved in low-level dealing will cooperate with investigations and inform others involved. You may be implicated by someone cooperating with the police.
Undercover agents might also be used to find evidence of illegal acts. They may pose as drug buyers, dealers, distributors, importers, or someone involved in illegal money laundering (where profits from crimes are treated in a way to make them appear as if they were legitimately earned).
When this is the case, a defense may be that you were entrapped (the crime was the agent’s idea, and he induced you to engage in it).
Law enforcement officers need a well-founded, reasonable suspicion of criminal activity based on the facts and circumstances before detaining a person. If the officer cannot demonstrate sufficient grounds to justify that suspicion, the evidence obtained may not be used at trial, and your charges can be dismissed.
Before physical force is applied or the officer asserts his authority to make an arrest (and the suspect submits), the officer must have probable cause. That means that under the facts and circumstances, the officer knew there was reasonably trustworthy information to lead a prudent man to believe that you committed or were committing the offense.
An arrest can be based on what an officer sees, or other evidence developed during an investigation. If an investigation has enough evidence, it is presented to a judge, who can issue an arrest warrant.
You should be released from custody if you are arrested without sufficient legal grounds. Evidence obtained due to an illegal arrest should be suppressed, and charges dropped.
Depending on the situation, an investigation may continue until there are enough grounds to justify an arrest, and you could be retaken into custody.
To be convicted, the prosecution must prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that you committed the crime. Each drug charge has different elements or issues that must be established.
If an element is not proven, you should be found innocent on that charge, although you may be found guilty of another lesser crime. A successful trial for a defendant usually happens because the evidence and the arguments made by your attorney create more than a reasonable doubt for the jury.
After seeing the evidence, a jury member may think you might have committed the crime but still not be convinced enough by the evidence presented to find you guilty. The person may not find the prosecution witnesses’ testimony credible and may have problems with the prosecution’s evidence.
Some prosecutors’ cases are weakened when evidence is excluded from trial because of an illegal search. In other cases, statements made by a defendant may not have been used at trial because an officer failed to give the required Miranda warnings (that the defendant had a right to an attorney, had the right to remain silent during questioning, and was on notice that anything he or she said could be used against them).
A seasoned drug defense lawyer knows how to leverage the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and/or evidence to benefit a client facing drug charges in Florida.
Because of illegal searches or other mistakes made by the police or prosecutor, a judge may disallow the use of certain evidence. That may weaken the prosecution’s case to the point that the prosecutor withdraws the charges, or the judge dismisses the case.
Most drug charge cases are resolved through a plea bargain if they do not end due to evidentiary or technical issues. This means the defendant pleads guilty to the charges, or a lesser amount, in exchange for a sentence that is agreed upon with the prosecution.
A judge must approve and accept the plea. The sentence is typically lighter than what would be imposed after a guilty verdict at trial. As a part of the plea deal, the defendant may agree to cooperate in an ongoing investigation or to testify against other defendants.
Avoiding the uncertainty of a jury verdict is the main reason defendants and the prosecution agrees to plea bargains.
You can hire an experienced attorney or represent yourself if you do not qualify for a public defender. However, given the possible impact of a guilty verdict on you and your family, representing yourself is a bad idea now and in the future.
You must gain the knowledge and experience to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome. Even attorneys experienced in other areas of law should not represent themselves if they face criminal prosecution for some reason.
Whether you plan to assert an aggressive defense and go through the trial process or hope to make a favorable plea deal, you need a criminal defense attorney who knows the law, the system, the prosecutors, and the judges.
Do not take a chance with your future when expert legal help is available.
Some of the most common questions people ask about Orlando drug crime charges include:
What Types of Penalties Might I Face if I am Convicted?
The nature of the conviction varies depending on the charge, but you could face significant financial fines, jail time, and a loss of voting privileges.
What Drugs are Considered Felony Possession in Florida?
In general, any drug other than marijuana is considered a felony, but we will review your specific charges with you.
Why Should I Hire a Drug Crime Attorney if I Have Not Been Charged?
If you have not been charged with a crime, you may still need to hire a lawyer if you know the police are investigating you. The sooner we can get involved, the easier it will be for us to control the narrative.
If I Have a Clean Criminal Record, Can I Still Go to Jail?
It depends on the nature of your charges, but you may still go to jail if you are convicted, even if you have a clean criminal record prior to this incident. Even if you are convicted, you need us to stay involved so that we can also handle the sentencing process.
These may not be your only questions; our attorneys will discuss your specific concerns in your initial consultation.
If you are being investigated for or have been arrested on drug charges, there is nothing more important than getting qualified defense counsel. If you want to beat a drug charge, you need the right attorney for the job.
Panella Law Firm’s drug charge lawyers can provide you with some of the best strategies and effectiveness in Florida.
Your case matters, and the sooner we get involved, the faster we can start building a solid defense that will protect your freedom and future.