NBC Miami is reporting that Boca Raton Police arrested a man from Boynton Beach for smoking crack cocaine in his car. The man was smoking with another female inside of the car.
The man was distinguishable because his face is covered in a large tribal-style tattoo.
Police observed the man in a gas station parking lot. He was also found to be in possession of a crack pipe, which constitutes the misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Having observed drug activity in plain view, the officers were justified in searching the entirety of the car. Officers found needles, baggies of heroin, baggies of crack cocaine, and some pills.
The female was charged with multiple counts of possession, including possession of cocaine, possession of heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Possession of cocaine less than 28 grams is a third-degree felony in Florida.
The man with the distinguishable facial tattoo was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with physical evidence. Tampering with physical evidence is also a third-degree felony.
If police officers observe drugs or drug activity inside of a car, Florida law permits the officers to search the entire car, including the trunk.
This encounter is common when stopped by police for a traffic infraction and the officer claims to smell marijuana. This detection of drugs permits a warrantless search of the entire vehicle.
Penalties for simple felony-level drug possession can range from Drug Court to prison time.
If convicted of any offense under Florida’s drug possession statute - Chapter 893 - your driver’s license will be suspended for 2 years.
Drug charges are the most common criminal offenses in Miami-Dade and Broward courts.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal attorney and Broward criminal attorney representing clients charged with misdemeanor and felony-level drug offenses.