Drug Charges in Miami
Whether it is so-called "street drugs," such as marijuana, cocaine, or ecstasy, or prescription drugs with trade names such as OxyContin, Vicodin or Valium, drugs, narcotics and controlled substances account for more arrests than any other crime category. According to the FBI, more than 1.5 million drug-related arrests were made across the U.S. in 2013.
South Florida, particularly the Miami area, remains on the front lines of the national "War on Drugs." The penalties in Florida for a conviction on drug, narcotics or controlled substances charges — even possession of a small amount — are often severe. In additional to the possibility of jail or prison, a person convicted on a drug charge may also be required to pay expensive fines.
Additional penalties for a drug conviction include probation, community service hours, drug counseling and/or treatment, random drug testing, as well as the potential suspension of driving privileges. Many drug crimes also involve the forfeiture of money or property connected with drugs.
A person convicted of a drug charge may also find that certain opportunities for employment, education, and housing are diminished.
Attorney for Drug Charges in South Miami, Florida
Hubbs Law is experienced in defending clients arrested in North Miami, South Miami and throughout Miami-Dade County who face misdemeanor or felony charges for the possession, sale, manufacture, delivery, or trafficking in drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances.
E.J. Hubbs is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in the practice of criminal trial law. Certification is the highest level of evaluation by the Florida Bar of competency and experience within an area of law, and reflects the highest professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.
Attorney E.J. Hubbs uses his extensive knowledge of Florida drug laws to fight drug charges. He is experienced in filing and litigating motions to dismiss based on insufficient evidence, motions to exclude unduly prejudicial evidence, and motions to suppress illegally-obtained evidence.
Florida's Drug and Narcotics Laws
The “Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act” is found in Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes. The Drug Act regulates the manufacture, distribution, preparation, and dispensing of controlled substances. Under Florida law, controlled substances, prescription drugs, and other narcotics are classified into one of five different schedules.
The classification system is based on legal assumptions concerning whether the substance has a currently accepted medical use as provided in Section 893.03, F.S. A second reason for the ways drugs are classified is based on legal assumptions made about the substance’s “potential for abuse.”
Section 893.035(3)(a), F.S., defines “potential for abuse” to mean that a substance has properties as a central nervous system stimulant or depressant or a hallucinogen which create a substantial likelihood of its being:
- taken on the user’s own initiative rather than on the basis of professional medical advice;
- used in amounts that create a hazard to the user’s health or safety of the community;
- diverted from legal channels and distributed through illegal channels.
The controlled substance schedules are as follows:
- Schedule I substances have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the United States (includes substances such as cannabis and heroin). See Section 893.03(1), F.S.;
- Schedule II substances have a high potential for abuse and a currently accepted but severely restricted medical use in the United States (includes substances such as raw opium, fentanyl, and codeine). See Section 893.03(2), F.S.
- Schedule III substances have a potential for abuse less than the substances contained in Schedules I and II and a currently accepted medical use in the United States (includes substances such as stimulants and anabolic steroids). See Section 893.03(3), F.S.
- Schedule IV substances have a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III and a currently accepted medical use in the United States (includes substances such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates). See Section 893.03(4), F.S.
- Schedule V substances have a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule IV and a currently accepted medical use in the United States (includes substances such as mixtures that contain small quantities of opiates, narcotics, or stimulants). See s. 893.03(5), F.S.
Penalties for Drug and Narcotic Crimes in Florida
Chapter 893, F.S., contains a variety of provisions criminalizing behavior related to controlled substances. Most of these provisions are found in s. 893.13, F.S., which criminalizes and provides the penalties for:
- manufacture; and
- delivery of controlled substances.
Under 893.13, F.S., the punishments for drug crimes in Florida are generally more serious depending, in part, on the classification of the drug in one of the five schedules. The penalties can also be enhanced for other reasons such as the quantity of the controlled substance involved or the location where the violation occurred.
For drug trafficking crimes, Florida Statute Section 893.135, F.S., contains the most serious penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences and fines, which dramatically increase the punishment as the quantity of the controlled substance involved increases.
Florida law also first created an Analog Statute in 1987 in order to regulate emerging substances that are not yet listed as a controlled substance in one of the five schedules. Read more about the Analog Drug Statute in Florida.
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Types of Drug Crimes in Florida
Attorney E.J. Hubbs is experienced in fighting a variety of drug crimes throughout the greater Miami area, including:
- Possession of Cannabis (Marijuana) under 20 grams
- Possession of Cannabis, 20 grams or More
- Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Sell
- Introduction of Contraband into a Detention Facility
- Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell
- Possession of Methamphetamine
- Possession of Synthetic Marijuana ("Spice" or "K2")
- Possession of LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide or "Acid")
- Possession of Adderall or Amphetamines
- Possession of Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Possession of Hydrocodone
- Possession of Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Possession of Flakka (alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone or "Gravel")
- Other Drug-Related Charges
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Avoiding Harsh Penalties for Narcotics Crimes in Miami, FL
Miami's reputation was tarnished during the 1980s when drug cartels used the city as a major hub for drug shipments coming into the U.S. The alarming murder rates associated with drug trafficking during that time have diminished, but with its waterfront location, Miami remains a major location for drug trafficking and drug use.
Any criminal charge for narcotics, controlled substances, or drugs is a serious matter, but a capable, effective defense may lessen the severity of the charge. A skilled attorney who is experienced in defending drug charges may be able to find issues related to the legality of how the arrest or search was conducted, resulting in a reduction or dismissal of the charge.
Many narcotics charges are eligible for disposition in Miami-Dade County Drug Court. Alternatively, a skilled criminal defense attorney can often find a way to qualify a first-time offender for a pre-trial diversion program, which helps to minimize the adverse circumstances that might otherwise occur.
Hubbs Law proudly serves clients who face charges for narcotics, controlled substances or drugs throughout Miami-Dade County, including North Miami, South Miami, Doral and Kendall to the south of downtown Miami, and Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Kendale Lakes and Tamiami to the north and west.
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Statistics on Drug Crimes in the United States — Visit the website of the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), to learn more about Florida drug crimes statistics. The BJS summarizes U.S. statistics about drug-related crimes, law enforcement, courts, and corrections from many sources. It updates the information published in Drugs and Crime Facts, 1994, (NJC 154043) and is revised as new information becomes available. The data provide the general public, researchers, criminal justice practitioners, and policymakers with online access to understandable information on various drug law violations and drug-related law enforcement.
Drug Crime Statistics in Florida — Visit the website of the U.S. Department of Justice national Drug Intelligence Center to find a study entitled "South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area." The article provides an overview of crimes for controlled substances in Florida. Of the 904,135 arrests that occurred in Florida in 2013, 126,137 were for drug-related charges. According to these statistics, approximately 14 percent of all arrests in Florida are for drug crimes. The only states with more drug charges than Florida were the more populous states of California and Texas. On a per capita basis, Florida had more drug charges than any other state. More than 22 percent of the 32,578 people sentenced to prison in Florida in 2014 were convicted on drug charges, according to the Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
Find an Attorney for Drug Charges in Miami-Dade County, FL
If you are facing any kind of charges for controlled substances or narcotics, including trafficking, sale, or distribution, possession with intent to sell, or simple possession in Miami or throughout Miami-Dade County, or if you are named in an arrest warrant for a drug crime, then you should contact Hubbs Law for a confidential review of your case.
At Hubbs Law, we always offer a free initial consultation for potential clients. When we meet, we can discuss your drug case and explain the charges, as well as the possible penalties that may be imposed. Talk with our attorney about possible defenses that may be pursued — before you make a decision to hire us as your legal criminal defense counsel.
Some first-time drug, narcotics, or controlled substance offenders are eligible for a pre-trial intervention program, which could mean avoiding a trial. The attorney that you hire may be able to find mistakes made by the police during an arrest or errors by the prosecutors that may result in a reduction or dismissal of charges. Our goal in every drug-related case is to avoid a conviction. We are always prepared to confront drug charges at trial if necessary.
Call Hubbs Law today at (305) 615-5945
to schedule an appointment to discuss your drug charges. We are prepared to fight for you.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 19, 2017.