Former State Prosecutor
The Morris Law Firm has specific knowledge and experience in drug crimes defense. Melinda Morris, managing partner of The Morris Law Firm, is an experienced criminal lawyer and former state prosecutor. As a prosecutor in Pinellas County, she was responsible for prosecuting a range of very serious drug offenses, from investigation through trial. As a drug lawyer, this inside knowledge is of critical importance and can benefit the defense of your case, whether you are facing charges in a Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Sarasota County, or Manatee County Courtroom.
Read more specific information about the following drug-related offenses in Florida:
Act now to consult with a lawyer and find out how to best protect your rights and future opportunities. A conviction for any drug offenses can cause far reaching consequences, including but not limited to:
The Morris Law Firm is a full service criminal defense firm that will:
Strive To Minimize Your Court Appearances:
Investigate, Assess & Analyze Your Case:
Negotiate on Your Behalf:
Prepare Your Defense:
Conclude Your Case:
In the State of Florida, there are various drug offenses which are prosecuted in state and federal court. An individual arrested for a drug offense can be charged with simple possession, sale or distribution, importation, trafficking or cultivation (including marijuana or cannabis cultivation and grow house cases).
The severity of the punishment for the charged offense ranges from relatively minor sanctions associated with the mere possession of an illegal substance to severe sanctions mandated by law for offenses such as sale or trafficking. The punishment also depends on the type of drug for which an individual is arrested. For example, the penalties for cocaine trafficking and heroin trafficking are much more severe than that of cannabis trafficking.
The charges brought and the penalties sought by law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney for drug offenses will vary depending on the type of drug, the amount of the drug, how the illegal substance was used or packaged, whether the individual was armed and if the individual is charged in state or federal court. Similarly, the penalties or sentence for a drug offense can range from a diversionary drug program to probation and in severe cases, state or federal prison time.
Commonly found illegal or controlled substances for which arrests are made throughout St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, and the Tampa Bay Area include:
Less commonly found illegal or controlled substances include:
It is also illegal to possess or sell prescription painkillers or stimulants without a prescription such as:
In St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, drug offenses are aggressively prosecuted in state and federal court. The State of Florida is well aware of the large number of drug offenses committed on a daily basis. They are also aware of the residual crimes that occur due in large part to the drug trade in Florida (FL). Anyone charged with a drug offense, whether cocaine possession or marijuana trafficking, will be well served by hiring The Morris Law Firm.
Due to the serious and severe consequences of being charged with and convicted of a drug offense, the decision to hire a criminal defense attorney can become a life altering decision. The Morris Law Firm is well-equipped to represent a client in defending drug offenses ranging from simple possession to sale or distribution to armed trafficking. The Morris Law Firm has consistently obtained outstanding results for our clients charged with drug offenses.
The best defense to a drug possession, drug sale or drug trafficking charge is challenging how the evidence was obtained by the police. Law enforcement authorities and prosecuting lawyer build their possession, sale and trafficking cases based on evidence obtained through search and seizures. Law enforcement must comply with the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and well-established search and seizure laws to legally obtain evidence.
Evidence obtained by an illegal search and seizure, which violate an individual's rights is inadmissible and will be suppressed. In a nutshell, any illegally obtained evidence cannot be used to convict you of the drug charge for which you were arrested. The Morris Law Firm is well-versed in challenging illegal searches and seizures by filing motions to suppress, and has vast experience in representing clients as a drug lawyer. If the judge grants the motion to suppress, the evidence is inadmissible against you, the prosecutor cannot proceed and we win your case.
One of the most common examples of how law enforcement authorities violate an individual's rights is obtaining an involuntary consent to search an automobile or home. Always remember, you have the right not to consent to the search of your property. Make the police get a warrant. If the police threaten you in any way to get your consent (i.e. taking your child away or having you deported), the consent is not voluntary and the search is illegal. Any drugs found as a result of an illegal search are inadmissible.
Entrapment is another defense that the Morris Law Firm utilizes to defend our client's rights. An individual is entrapped if he or she is induced or encouraged to engage in criminal conduct such as drug trafficking. To utilize an entrapment defense, an individual must be able to show that he or she engaged in the trafficking as a result of the inducement, that inducement came from a law enforcement official or his agent, and that he or she was not ready to commit the crime. Contact the Morris Law Firm, to inquire whether you have an entrapment defense.
Potential Defenses include:
Drug possession offenders in the St. Petersburg area are arrested on daily basis for cocaine and marijuana possession. Convictions for simple drug possession cases may carry what seem to be insignificant penalties, but the consequences can be severe and life-altering. The Morris Law Firm has vast experience in representing clients as the lawyer in drug possession cases. Although cocaine and marijuana possession are the most common drug offenses, individuals are arrested for possession of several other types of illegal or controlled substances.
Other illegal substances that people are arrested for include: heroin, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD and methamphetamines. Others are arrested for possessing legal drugs without a prescription such as: Xanax, Vicodin, Hydrocodone or OxyContin.
In Pinellas County, mere possession of an illegal or controlled substance in most circumstances is a felony, both in state and federal court. An exception to this rule is possession of a minimal amount of cannabis (marijuana), which is currently a misdemeanor. Another distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor charge is the amount of incarceration an individual is subject to upon a conviction. A misdemeanor in the first degree carries a maximum punishment of 364 days in the county jail, while a felony in the third degree carries a maximum punishment of 5 years in state prison. Examples of the crimes and accompanying punishments are set forth below.
In order to be convicted in court for possession of an illegal or controlled substance, the prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual either actually or constructively possessed an illegal substance, and that the individual knew the substance was illegal. Actual possession means that a person physically possessed the illegal substance in his/her hand or carried on his or her person.
Constructive possession means that a person had the illegal substance in such close proximity that it is considered to be under that person’s dominion or control. Everyone arrested for possession of cocaine or possession of marijuana or other illegal and controlled substance should know that merely being in close proximity of cocaine, marijuana or other illegal substance without more evidence is not sufficient to prove that a person possessed any one of those items.
Cannabis (the following represent "Trafficking in cannabis", all of which are First Degree Felony Charges):
Cocaine (the following represent "Trafficking in cocaine", all of which are First Degree Felony Charges):
Heroin (the following represent "Trafficking in heroin", all of which are First Degree Felony Charges):
Additionally, other administrative penalties can affect a person convicted of certain drug offenses. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend an individual's driver's license for two years, as a result of a conviction or guilty plea. Furthermore, law enforcement officers and their supporting agencies can seek forfeiture of your personal property, such as your home, car, boat, money or jewelry.
A conviction for a felony drug offense will also result in the loss of civil rights, such as the right to vote, own a firearm and hold certain public offices. Individuals should also be aware that entering what is seemingly a simple plea with limited penalties can cause severe immigration consequences such as deportation.
|What is a drug crime?|
|A drug crime is a criminal offense that involves the use, possession, production, or sale of an unlawful controlled substance.|
|What is an unlawful controlled substance?|
|Unlawful controlled substances are illegal narcotics which include, but are not limited to: marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, LSD, and Ecstasy.|
|What should I do if I have been charged with a drug crime?|
|If you have been charged with a drug crime, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, you should consult with a drug crime defense attorney immediately. You will want to work with a drug crime lawyer who has handled cases that are similar to yours and who is very familiar with drug crime law.|
|Will I go to jail?|
If you are convicted of your drug crime charges, there is a possibility that you may have to go to jail. However, your chances of avoiding jail time will increase immensely if you obtain the services of a qualified and experienced drug crime defense attorney.
If you are convicted of a drug crime in Florida, you face a vast array of possible legal penalties. Common legal penalties for drug crime convictions include, but are not limited to: jail time, fines, community service, probation, mandatory drug treatment programs, and driver’s license suspension.
|What is drug court and how is it different from regular criminal court?|
|Drug courts combine criminal justice and medical treatment models to deal with drug crimes. They recognize that imprisonment is sometimes not the most effective method for breaking the cycle of drug addiction and related crime, especially for first-time and low-level offenders. Drug courts stress a cooperative approach between the prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, defendant and court, and they prefer rehabilitation over jail. Successful completion of drug court programs can often result in reduced charges or sentences, or dismissal of charges altogether.|
|Do I need a drug crime defense attorney?|
|If you have been charged with or arrested for a drug crime, the answer is "yes". Once you have been charged with a drug crime, you will be up against jail time, fines, probation, and other life-altering legal consequences if you are convicted. For this reason, you will want a criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled numerous other drug crime cases on your side.|
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Defending Drug Charges
Morris Law Firm represents clients who are facing misdemeanor, felony, or federal drug charges. No matter the severity of the charges face, each client receives the full benefit of Melinda Morris' experience and dedication. Ms. Morris represents adults and youth in St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Clearwater, Seminole, Gulfport, Bradenton, and nearby areas. If you are facing charges related to any drug crimes, contact us for more information about fighting your drug case.
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