If you have been arrested or charged with the possession of a controlled substance then you need an experienced drug defense lawyer in Sarasota, Florida. Anthony G. Ryan is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer who has personally handled thousands of possession cases over his twenty-year legal career.Florida’s Drug Possession Laws
Florida heavily regulates the possession of controlled substances like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, opium, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. In Florida, section 893.13, Florida statutes, makes it illegal to sell, manufacture, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance. Penalties can range from probation, county jail all the way up to mandatory prison, depending on the substance and the amount possessed.Penalties for Possessing Controlled Substance
Penalties for being found guilty of possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances can be severe. For example, possession of less than twenty grams of marijuana, or cannabis is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a one thousand dollar fine, even for a first offense. If you possess more than twenty grams of marijuana or you are accused of possessing marijuana with the intent to sell, then the crime is a third degree felony which is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine.
Likewise, if you are found in possession of other illegal substances like cocaine, LSD, and heroin or if you are in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, like oxycodone or hydrocodone, you are also facing a third degree felony. Plus, if you are adjudicated guilty of possession any controlled substance you will have your driver’s license revoked for up to a year. However, an experienced Sarasota drug attorney like Anthony G. Ryan will work hard to convince the judge or the state to withhold adjudication of guilt to avoid the otherwise mandatory license revocation or, at a minimum, will request the judge to authorize you to get a business purposes only license so you can still go to work.Defenses to Possession Charges
One of the best ways to defend against a possession charge is by filing a motion to suppress evidence. The Fourth Amendment protects all citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. One of the most important things Anthony G. Ryan does on his drug cases is to try and determine if your constitutional rights were violated by the police. If they were, then he will file a motion to suppress and try to convince a judge to throw out all evidence the state intends to use against you. If the judge grants the motion, and excludes the evidence, it is devastating to the state’s case and makes it all but impossible for the state to get a conviction.
The most common possession cases occur after the police find drugs on or near people after a warrantless search, frequently in a car after a traffic stop. In cases like this, Mr. Ryan will investigate if the search was done under one of the many exceptions to the warrant requirement, like consent, exigent circumstances, plain view, or after a dog sniff search. Because the courts look at the totality of circumstances on a case by case basis to determine if the search was legal, be prepared to discuss every single detail about the circumstances of your case. Mr. Ryan is very detail oriented when it comes to protecting his clients’ rights.
Another defense to a possession charge is by arguing lack of knowledge. To prove possession, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew of the existence of the substance and intentionally exercised control over that substance. But what if the drugs were found inside a jointly occupied vehicle? What if the drugs were concealed in the glove box or in a container inside of the vehicle? What if you share the vehicle with other people or if you recently lent the vehicle to another person? What if you were not aware the substance was illegal? These are just a few of the many hundreds of different ways an experienced Sarasota possession lawyer like Anthony G. Ryan might be able to question the state’s case to your benefit.Alternatives to fighting the charges in court
Although it is important to get a drug lawyer who is experienced in fighting drug charges, it is also important to know about the alternatives. Florida offers first time drug offenders an opportunity to enter a pretrial diversion program that is treatment based and results in the charges being administratively dismissed upon successful completion of the program. Sarasota and Manatee also have drug court programs that offer intensive group and individual therapy, education and counselling with the goal of breaking the cycle between addiction and crime. In addition, Mr. Ryan has also helped his clients enter into residential treatment programs while their cases are pending where appropriate.
Call now to speak to Sarasota drug charges attorney Anthony G. Ryan and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. He has the knowledge and experience to help you through this difficult experience.