A successful defense of a drug crime allegation includes aggressive investigation and litigation. Drug crimes often involve violations of Constitutional rights that need to be challenged in court. The drug crimes attorneys at Adam L. Bantner, P.A. will zealously protect your rights. For whatever reason, the war on drugs has resulted in increasingly harsh sentences for those convicted of possession of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs.
For example, depending on the amount of drugs you allegedly possessed, certain minimum mandatory sentences could be imposed. If you possess greater than 25 pounds of cannabis, you face a minimum mandatory sentence of three years prison; possession of greater than 2,000 pounds yields a minimum of seven years prison; and possession of greater than 10,000 pounds leads to a 15-year minimum mandatory sentence. There are similar minimum mandatory sentences for possession of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Additionally, possession of large amounts of illegal substances will result in trafficking in controlled substances charges. The criminal defense attorneys at Adam L. Bantner, P.A. are experienced at handling most types of drug offenses.
Drug convictions can also cause your driver’s license to be suspended (if you are adjudicated guilty of any drug possession charge your license will be suspended for 2 years). This makes is doubly important to fight your drug charge and / or to argue for the charge to be amended or dismissed.
In their well-intentioned crusade to keep illegal drugs off the streets, police and other law enforcement agencies sometimes will walk all over the Constitution to find those possession and dealing in controlled substances. For example, if law enforcement suspects a person of dealing drugs from their home, they sometimes will try to gain access to your home without a warrant or your consent. They might do this by illegally entering your property, coercing consent into your home, or exceeding the scope of any consent that may have been given. Should this happen to you, the lawyers at Adam L. Bantner, P.A. are ready to protect your rights and to ask a court exclude any evidence illegally obtained.
Confidential informants have long been used by law enforcement to obtain arrests for a drug crimes. These informants are usually criminals who are trying to work off a charge of their own. Therefore, they might induce a person to commit a crime that they were not predisposed to commit in the first place. Depending on the methods used, they could illegally entrap a person into commission of a crime. Adam L. Bantner, P.A. will be ready to attack any methods employed by confidential informants.
Sometimes a traffic stop leads to the discovery of controlled substances. For whatever reason, the officer might have a dog sniff the vehicle for the presence of drugs. If the dog alerts, the cops will search your vehicle. Whether this is legal depends on a number of factors including (1) the time it took the dog to arrive after conclusion of the traffic stop, (2) the training of the dog and its handler, and (3) whether probable cause existed for the search. Dogs are not infallible and the possession attorneys at Adam L. Bantner, P.A. will challenge the qualifications and methods used by both dogs and handlers.
In Harris v. State, 71 So.3d 756 (Fla. 2011), the Florida Supreme Court held that the State “must present all records and evidence that are necessary to allow the trial court to evaluate the reliability of the dog. The State's presentation of evidence that the dog is properly trained and certified is the beginning of the analysis. Because there is no uniform standard for training and certification of drug-detection dogs, the State must explain the training and certification so that the trial court can evaluate how well the dog is trained and whether the dog falsely alerts in training (and, if so, the percentage of false alerts). Further, the State should keep and present records of the dog's performance in the field, including the dog's successes (alerts where contraband that the dog was trained to detect was found) and failures (“unverified” alerts where no contraband that the dog was trained to detect was found). The State then has the opportunity to present evidence explaining the significance of any unverified alerts, as well as the dog's ability to detect or distinguish residual odors. Finally, the State must present evidence of the experience and training of the officer handling the dog.”
However, one court has held that a dog’s accuracy of less than 50% was still sufficient to provide law enforcement with probable cause to search a vehicle. Blalock v. State, 98 So.3d 118 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) (dog’s success rate of 46% percent did not undermine finding of probable cause). As such, unless the dog is completely unreliable, it is difficult to challenge a search based on a dog sniff.
Drug charges are serious charges with grave consequences. Call me today at 813.416.7965 to discuss your case.
Adam L. Bantner, P.A. – 813.416. 7965 – In Your Corner