Any drug violation is serious, but a conviction of a federal drug offense can mean even stiffer penalties and a permanent mark on your criminal record. Police officers, prosecutors and judges are all becoming stricter with how drug crime cases are handled, from the initial search and arrest to the trial and sentencing. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the Florida justice system and understand how your choices now may affect the outcome later.
Every drug violation case is different, and it is imperative that you discuss your case openly and honestly with your attorney. Only once your attorney has all of the facts can he ensure he is presenting the pros and cons of your options accurately. Even a small detail left out can cause problems later on in the event of a trial.
In some situations, particularly those where the defendant is a first-time offender, it may be possible for the defendant to request to be assigned to the drug pretrial intervention program. In Florida, this program allows the defendant to avoid jail time in exchange for agreeing to complete an approved substance abuse recovery program. This can be an excellent alternative option for some defendants, but it is up to the prosecutor to decide if he wishes to accept this option.
While some defendants may think this is an easy way out of a harsher sentence, it is important that it be taken seriously. If the defendant does not complete the program successfully, it is possible for the judge to sentence the defendant to jail time.