As a major international port, Miami receives its fair share of cocaine. In fact, I would venture to guess that the majority of felony arrests in Miami-Dade County are for cocaine possession, or cocaine-related offenses.
This entry deals with the offense of possession of cocaine. Future entries will focus on possession with intent to sell cocaine, and cocaine trafficking.
Possession of cocaine, even trace amounts, is a 3rd degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison. Additionally, a conviction for this offense will cause your driver's license to be suspended for 2 years.
Due to the tremendous volume of possession of cocaine offenses in Miami, this crime is not taken as seriously as cocaine trafficking. But it is still a felony. Felony arrests mean a night in jail and having to post a bond. If you are out on bond on another charge of you are on probation and you get caught with cocaine, it means that your bond may be revoked and you will sit in jail until your cases are resolved.
As a Miami criminal attorney, and a Broward criminal attorney who represents clients charged with possession of cocaine, I always look for the best resolution. If the police did not honor your constitutional rights when they found the cocaine, your case may be ripe for a motion to suppress. In a motion to suppress, I am literally asking the court to throw away the cocaine because it was unlawfully obtained by police. If this motion is successful, your case will most likely be dismissed.
If a plea is in the client's best interest, Drug Court may be an option for first-time offenders. For first-time offenders who are not drug users but merely found themselves in a bad situation, I have been successful in negotiating conditional dismissals whereby my clients submit to a urine test and if the test comes out negative for drugs, the case is dropped by the State. Afterwards, I expunge the client's record.
If ineligible for Drug Court or for a conditional dismissal, a withhold of adjudication and a term of probation may be negotiated. However, for possession of cocaine, I rarely advise my clients to accept probation as a sentence due to the fact that a positive drug test can lead to a probation violation. In this situation, I would negotiate for my client to receive a withhold of adjudication with no probation, only the payment of court costs. A withhold of adjudication for possession of cocaine will not lead to a driver's license suspension. Also, if the client's record is clean, he or she may be eligible to have their record sealed. In addition to a criminal attorney, I am also an expungement attorney, and routinely handle the sealing and expunging of my clients' records.
Lastly, if the client has prior felony convictions, a good resolution may be simply credit for time served. It is an adjudication (felony conviction) and will result in a 2-year driver's license suspension, but it is a sentence that carries no jail or prison time. Additionally, you may be eligible for a hardship license that will permit you to drive to and from work or school.
If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of cocaine, contact a Miami criminal attorney.