Non-violent drug offenders in Jacksonville and throughout Florida are being sentenced to much higher prison terms than before. I’ve witnessed this first hand as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. According to a recent study cited by huffingtonpost.com, Florida inmates spent 194 percent more time in prison in 2009 than in 1990. The study, conducted by the Pew Center looked at trends in 35 states over the last couple of decades. Florida was one of the states where increased sentences were noted. In Jacksonville, non-violent drug crimes, particularly sales, are often targeted for prison time. Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers know that sales in Jacksonville are often recorded on audio or video equipment, which makes defending these types of crimes more difficult in most cases.
Selecting the right Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, one that is familiar with successful strategies in defending and negotiating sale of cocaine and related drug offenses, is critical. The success of any drug offense defense, or negotiations for that matter, put on by a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer is highly controlled by the facts of the case. Successful defenses or negotiations are the key to preventing a drug offense defendant from becoming part of Florida’s increased sentences statistics.
All sales of controlled substances in Florida are felony offenses, which are punishable time in Florida State Prison. Possession, of most controlled substances also will result in a felony. Florida law does not require prison in most drug offense cases, but the State’s position in most instances to push for prison time. The most important factor in whether a particular set of facts create weaknesses in the State’s case that can be exploited by a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. The next most important factor is the Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer that is handling the case and whether the criminal defense lawyer has the knowledge as skills necessary to recognize and take advantage of any available weaknesses in the State’s case.