What Is Felony Drug Possession In Florida?
January 13, 2017
Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.
Felony drug possession is very broad category, and one of the most common examples is involving marijuana. If someone is found to possess less than twenty grams of marijuana, then that is a misdemeanor, and it is classified as a misdemeanor drug possession. If someone is charged with cultivating marijuana, even though the plant is a quarter than an inch tall, that automatically becomes a felony, because cultivation, is a felony by its very nature, and if there are more than twenty grams of marijuana, that would constitute a felony. That is because the way the legal scheme is set up. Most drug possession charges are felony in nature with the exception of marijuana. There are some other exceptions, but they are very, very rare.
When there is an allegation of possession with intent to distribute, sale of drugs of any kind, and certainly trafficking, those are all three felonies with trafficking being the most serious. Trafficking charges, when it comes to drugs, generally result in mandatory minimum sentences if defenses are not found. When it comes to felony drug possession, there are many different forms of felony drug possessions; possession of cocaine, possession of prescription pills that do not belong to the individual who is allegedly guilty of possessing in any way. These are all examples of felony drug possessions, so any drug possession is felony with the exception of possession of marijuana under twenty grams.
What Should I Do If There Is An Arrest Warrant Out In My Name?
If you or someone you love has the unfortunate circumstance of discovering that there is an arrest warrant, the first thing you should do is hire competent counsel. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can often arrange for a turn in instead of being surprised at work or at home. Additionally, most arrest warrants in the modern era do not have a bond them out. In the old days, most arrest warrants, if the person was local, had a bond amount. Now, most of them are hold for first appearance despite the fact that there is a bond book with recommended bond that law enforcement officers can use in those cases.
However, judges and law enforcement agencies generally are increasingly moving towards a model, where arrest warrants do not have bonds, and this is one of the most important times to have a criminal defense lawyer. If someone does first appearance by themselves, and they get a $10,000 bond, that is a $10,000 to a bail bonding company, or $10,000 in cash. If a lawyer represents them, and that bond goes down to $2,500, that is a big difference. That frees up $7,500 in cash for the defendant, which can go towards legal representation, or whatever else is needed. If a bail-bonding agent were used, then that would outlay to the bail-bonding agent from $1,000 to $250 in this example. Generally speaking, the first thing to do is contact a skilled criminal defense attorney.
However, let me offer a caution in a caveat. One of the most common questions I get when it comes to warrants, is how can I get a bond before I turn myself in? Generally speaking, you cannot. A person is going to have to turn themselves in first, and attempt to get a bond the following day at first appearance. All across the state of Florida, first appearance is usually done within twenty-four hours of an arrest. It is not uncommon for an arrest warrant to come down for us to find out when the cut-off time is at the jail, or arrange to have our client turn himself or herself in as late as possible, without risking missing first appearance, and then the following day when first appearance is held having legal counsel present with the judge.
Most of the time when someone has an arrest warrant, and it is a first appearance, it is a video first appearance. For example, at Okaloosa County, they line everybody up, and one by one they stand in front of the double door with the top part open and they see a face on the screen. That is the judge, but what they do not see is their lawyer sitting in the conference room in the video court with a deputy clerk, with pretrial release, and the prosecutor. What happens is right before the individual is called, legal counsel is going to be sitting there reviewing the probable cause statement in order to make any objections, or motions for release that are appropriate, and most certainly, for crafting an argument in favor of the lowest bond possible.
Having legal counsel who is prepared with your information, and legal counsel having an opportunity to review the probable cause statement in order to refine their arguments, you are more likely to get a bond, and more likely to get a favorable bond when you have an arrest warrant issued. That is the most effective strategy someone can pursue if there is an arrest warrant. Immediately contact an attorney, preferably someone who is board certified, and specializes in criminal law. Arrange for a turn in as opposed to being ambushed at home or work. Then from there, a system needs to be in place so that legal counsel is present, and ready to go in order to represent the individual affectively achieving the lowest bond possible, and making sure primarily that they get a bond unless for some reason they are not eligible for one, which is rare.
For more information on Felony Drug Possession In Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 850-423-0035 today.
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