Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a)
Of all the drug crimes prosecuted in Florida, possession of cocaine is probably the second most common offense after possession of marijuana.
If you have been arrested for possession of cocaine, do not worry – it is one of the most common criminal offenses in our courts. In fact, possession of cocaine is probable the most common felony offense prosecuted in Florida. Nonetheless, it is still a serious matter that must be dealt with professionally. Before we discuss defenses to possession of cocaine, it first necessary to understand the Drug Court option and the law behind possession of cocaine.
For most people facing a possession of cocaine charge, this is likely their first offense. If that is the case for you, there is good news… you may qualify for drug court.
If you can complete drug court for your possession of cocaine charge, that is generally the best option because it will result in the possession of cocaine being dismissed. Getting accepted into drug court for a possession of cocaine charge is very simple. This is especially the case for first time offenders. However, even if you have a minor criminal record, it still pays to apply. Sometimes even those with minor criminal records are still admitted into drug court.
That said, if you enter drug court with a possession of cocaine charge, you can expect to have a very rigorous experience. Let me be clear – drug court is not easy. For those with a possession of cocaine charge, drug court will last a minimum of 18 months before the case is dismissed.
During that time, you will be evaluated for a substance abuse problem, you will participate in narcotics anonymous, random drug testing, group therapy, and other forms of counseling. You will also be required to perform community service. Possession of cocaine is a felony and the courts take it very seriously.
That said, possession of cocaine is also considered a social crime. For this reason, the courts use a social remedy aimed at deterring future possession of cocaine. This is done by forcing people into treatment and by making the process annoying and time consuming.
The message is simple of you have been arrested for possession of cocaine:
Don’t come back!
Here’s the good news – if you successfully complete drug court, the judge will dismiss your possession of cocaine charge at the end of the 18 months! This is very good because you will not have any criminal record for possession of cocaine. It would be the same thing as if the possession of cocaine charge was dismissed in regular felony court.
Fighting a Possession of Cocaine Charge
If drug court is not an option in your possession of cocaine case, then traditional criminal defense options are your next best choice. Such approaches target four specific aspects of your possession of cocaine case. They are:
1) Did the police conduct a lawful stop of your person or vehicle?
If not, then any evidence discovered as a result, such as cocaine, cannot be used against you in your possession of cocaine case. For instance, traffic stops based solely on racial profiling would be unlawful.
2) Did the police conduct a lawful search of your person, vehicle, or other private area?
Like an illegal traffic stop, if the police conducted an illegal search, any evidence they seized as a result, such as cocaine, cannot be used against you in your possession of cocaine case. Remember – police cannot just search your belongings for no reason. They either need consent from you, an exigent circumstance, a warrant, or probable cause. However, police are allowed to pat you down for officer safety.
3) Did the police read you your rights before custodial interrogation?
If they did not, any statements you made to police cannot be admitted against you at trial or other hearing in your possession of cocaine case.
4) Can the prosecution prove the substance was cocaine?
Most fundamental of all, if the prosecution cannot prove the substance in question was cocaine, then they will not be able to successfully prosecute you for possession of cocaine. This should be obvious, but is often times overlooked by some criminal attorneys.
To determine if any of these issues present a defense in your possession of cocaine case, a criminal defense attorney must conduct an independent investigation, which will likely include the taking of depositions. If hired to represent you, we will perform all necessary investigations and research as part of the service we provide.
If any of these do present an issue in your possession of cocaine case, we would ultimately file a motion to suppress evidence on your behalf. If successful, odds are the prosecution will be forced to dismiss the possession of cocaine charge. If not successful, we will then proceed to the next step.