Being arrested for Possession of Cocaine can be a life-changing event. Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II narcotic and is a very serious drug that has a high risk of addiction and abuse. Law enforcement is waging a war on drugs. This means that the prosecution is willing to take all steps necessary to show they are tough on drug crimes. Our defense attorneys can assist you in negotiating the best outcome in your case and minimize the negative effects of your specific case.
There are many factors that can affect the severity of your charges in a Possession of Cocaine case. A few of the factors are:
- How much cocaine is alleged to have been in your possession;
- Was the amount enough to add intent to distribute to the charges;
- Was a minor (under 18 years of age) involved in any way;
- Was any person injured or killed in an accident involving the defendant and the cocaine;
- The defendant’s criminal history/criminal activity.
These are just a few of the factors that will affect your case.
In most cases, it takes a search by law enforcement to produce a charge of Possession of Cocaine. The main issue then becomes whether the initial stop and search were lawful. It is important to know if the stop was of your person or your vehicle. If the initial stop or search was illegal due to lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause, all evidence obtained from that search may be inadmissible in court. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can evaluate the facts of your particular case as well as the lawfulness of any stop or search by law enforcement. If the stop or the search were not done properly, we can file a motion to exclude the evidence that was obtained as a result of this illegal stop or search. This type of motion is critical because if the evidence is suppressed/excluded, the State will usually be unable to move forward with your case, meaning that the case will be dismissedor at least reduced to a lesser crime.
Another defense in a Possession of Cocaine charge involves evidence regarding the defendant’s knowledge of the illegal substance in question. In some cases there is insufficient evidence to establish that a person knew about the illegal substance or had access to the substance. Weak evidence can make it tough for the State to proceed against you in court.
In order for the State to prove that the substance in your possession is cocaine, it must be lab tested. Law enforcement’s field testing of the substance is not enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance is cocaine. Therefore, the State usually sends the substance to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for further analysis. Our criminal defense attorneys can assist you in reviewing the lab reports to determine the best defense in your case.
There are two different types of possession; Actual Possession and Constructive Possession. If you have been charged with Possession of Cocaine, the law does not take into account whether or not the illegal substance is “owned” by you or another person. Florida law is simply interested in whether or not you “actually” or “constructively” possessed the illegal substance.
Actual Possession refers to a situation where an individual has an illegal substance, such as cocaine, on their person. For example, if a person had a bag in their pocket that contained cocaine, they would be in actual possession of the cocaine.
Constructive Possession refers to a situation where an individual has knowledge of the illegal substance and the ability to access the substance.
In many cases it may be necessary to resolve your case through plea negotiations. The experienced attorneys at Brooks, LeBoeuf, Bennett, Foster & Gwartney, P.A. will assist you in determining whether extensive discovery or depositions are needed in your particular case or if you would benefit more from negotiations that will produce a more favorable outcome in your case.