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Miami-Dade Judge Declares Florida Drug Law Unconstitutional

Now don't get too excited just yet, but Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Milton Hirsch has sided with Judge Mary Scriven of the Middle District of Florida in ruling that Florida Statute Section 893.13, which regulates drug crimes, is unconstitutional on its face in that the language of the law does not require the prosecution to prove that somebody knew that they were in possession of a controlled substance.

The federal court ruling first came out a few weeks ago, prompting many criminal defense attorneys to file motions to dismiss their clients' drug cases based on the ruling.

Judge Hirsch is the first Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge to grant such a motion. Obviously, the State Attorney's Office will appeal Judge Hirsch's ruling. The Third District Court of Appeal will soon decide whether the ruling of the federal trial court will be binding on state courts in Florida.

As for me, I will be filing motions to dismiss on all of my drug cases. I believe that the law as it exists today is unconstitutional in that the prosecution does not need to prove that an accused person knew they were in possession of illegal drugs. The statute merely requires proof that the person was in actual or constructive possession of an illegal substance.

I will keep you informed as further rulings come out.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.