When I was a prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, I remember the bulk of my cases being possession of cocaine cases. Statistically, this is one of - if not the most - common third-degree felony in Miami-Dade County.
Broward County has more prescription pain clinics, which is why I believe you tend to see more prescription drug crimes - such as possession, sale, and trafficking in controlled substances such as oxycodone (OxyContin), alprazolam (Xanax), and hydrocodone (Vicodin).
Possession of cocaine in Florida is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If convicted, you will lose your driver’s license for two years as an adjudication to a possession, sale, or trafficking offense under Florida Statute 893 will do that.
Unlike marijuana, cocaine does not have a distinctive smell. In powder form, a baggie of cocaine can be small, flat, and easily concealable inside of a pocket or even your wallet. This is why cocaine possession arrests may entail more intrusive police action than your ordinary possession of marijuana arrest. That’s because the smell of marijuana alone gives the police probable cause to search in Florida. Since cocaine does not have that smell, police usually locate cocaine by witnessing hand-to-hand transactions or by seeing cocaine in plain view.
In situations where cocaine is on a person but in a concealed fashion, the police encounter should be scrutinized by your criminal defense attorney. Many drug cases are not filed or are later dismissed due to bad searches.
The officer must have a reason to stop you and a reason to search you. If you are being placed under arrest for another crime, an officer can legally pat you down and empty your pockets incident to an arrest. If drugs are in your car and your car is being impounded, the drugs may be lawfully discovered as part of an “inventory search.”
Cocaine arrests occur in all fashions, but the instances named above seem to be the most common.