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Drug Cases

State Drug Crimes In Florida

IT DOESN’T TAKE THE DEA TO GET YOU FEDERAL TIME

Most drug offenses in the Florida criminal justice system also represent drug violations in the federal criminal justice system. While ordinarily, the federal drug law enforcement agencies and other federal agencies that have the opportunity to make drug related offenses prefer to deal only with high volume or newsworthy drug busts, they have the right and power to charge an individual for any offense that violates the federal anti-drug statutes. Although the Doctrine of Separate Sovereignty would permit prosecution before both State and Federal COURTS, as matter of policy, an accused is likely to face only one prosecution. As the “senior sovereign,” the Federal authorities have always taken the position that they have “first dibs,” or first right of refusal on cases.

Even where federal law enforcement agents were involved in the arrests, they frequently allow local law enforcement and local prosecutors to handle what they consider the smaller cases. Where the offense implicates multiple state jurisdictions, the federal prosecutors will ordinarily take the case. Where the offense implicates the importation of drugs from another country, the federal courts almost always take the prosecutorial lead.

What are the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for drug cases?

One of the most salient features of the federal government’s decision to prosecute, involves the applicability of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Although recent holdings of the US Supreme Court have cast doubt on the continued vitality of these Draconian sentencing guidelines, they remain available to the federal judiciary as persuasive of the Congressional intent. Even if not mandatory, we will for years be dealing with District Court judges that slavishly followed them in the past and are still allowed to give deference to them in fashioning the sanctions for federal offenses. It is in the area of drug prosecution that the guidelines have become astonishingly tough, including many provisions for mandatory minimum sentences.

Drug Cases Need A Strong Defense

Defense of drug cases in federal court is complicated by the limited discovery to which an accused is entitled compared to a prosecution for a similar offense in the Florida courts. There is no right to take depositions of the proposed government witnesses, including the law enforcement officers. Federal Court can be fairly said to be an unfriendly environment of the defense. Effective representation there requires experience — you need to contact an Orlando criminal defense attorney at The Defense Group. Call 1-800-INNOCENT at once to schedule your initial Free Consultation.  We can help!