The Florida legistlature considers the buying of cocaine to be just as bad as selling it.
In Miami-Dade and Broward, people accused of purchasing cocaine are usually caught through surveillance operations (or reverse stings when the undercover cops are the sellers) conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Departments Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT) or the Broward Sheriff's Office.
A typical purchase of cocaine case exists when an officer watching a suspect drug seller (called an "eyeball") observes the accused buyer exchange what appears to be money for drugs. The accused buyer is then "taken down" by a team of police officers, who upon searching the accused buyer, may find a baggie of cocaine. If the seller is taken down and is discovered to have cash on his person, the accused buyer may be charged with purchase of cocaine.
Purchase of cocaine is not an easy charge for the State to prove in that situation. A better situation for the State may be if the seller was actually an undercover cop. But reverse stings (where the undercover cop poses as a seller to bust drug buyers) are rare as police are more interested in arresting drug dealers than drug users.
If you are arrested for purchase of cocaine, you will be taken to jail and given a $5,000 - $7,500 bond, depending on your priors and ties to the community. If you have no priors, you may be released to pretrial services (PTS) without having to post a monetary bond. If you have no priors, you may be ROR'd (released on recognizance).
From the date of arrest the State has 21 days to file charges. If they do not file on the 21st day, they may be able to reset up to the 40th day, should they have good cause. As a former Miami-Dade prosecutor, I can tell you that most drug possession-type cases that are not filed by the 21st day are usually no actioned.
I always tell my clients that this 21 - 30 day period is a crucial time to hire a criminal defense attorney. That is because during this period of time, the case is being processed through the State Attorney's Office. Officers are being interviewed, reports are being reviewed. A criminal defense attorney can intervene during this time and speak with a prosecutor before the charges are formally filed. A good defense attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to simple possession of cocaine (a third-degree felony) or even dismissed, if the police violated the client's rights.
If the charge of purchase of cocaine is filed, there are many options available. For a client with no prior record, Drug Court may be an option, although not always in purchase situations. That is why getting the charge reduced to possession will help greatly, since possession of cocaine always qualifies for Drug Court if the client has no prior history.
If the client successfully completes Drug Court, the charge will be dismissed and the client will be eligible to have his or her arrest expunged.
If the client is not eligible for Drug Court, the State may offer a withhold and probation, with conditions that include drug testing and community service hours. If the client has numerous priors, the State may seek a conviction and jail time.
Drug crimes in Miami-Dade and Broward are taken seriously. Whether possession or trafficking, the State Attorney's Office wants to see drug offenders prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I am a criminal defense attorney who handles cocaine possession, purchase, sale, and trafficking cases in Miami and Broward.
Call me to discuss your case.