Drug Crimes

Criminal Defense Law: Drug Crimes

The government’s fight against drug trafficking and drug use is aggressive and at the forefront of law federal and state enforcement in Miami-Dade and throughout the state of Florida. Whether those drugs (“controlled substances”) are completely illegal or if they are prescription dugs illegally dispensed at pill mills or illegal club drugs found in clubs, most of law enforcement resources are used to combat this area of crime.

A drug offense punishable by more than one year in jail is a felony. A misdemeanor punishment is one year or less.

For a Florida state court misdemeanor sentence it is common for a judge to impose probation for someone with a good criminal history. A Felony sentence of more than one year is usually served in a state prison facility. Misdemeanors are more common in state court than in Federal court.

Drug crimes in Florida and Federal courts carry penalties under sentencing guidelines and statutory mandatory minimum jail sentences. Drug offense sentences are generally higher in Federal court. In both courts, the sentence depends upon the quantity of the controlled substance.

Sentencing Guidelines are advisory

In Federal courts the sentencing guidelines were originally binding on sentencing judges. That changed in 2005 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005) which held that the mandatory imposition of the federal sentencing guidelines was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court said that sentencing judges had to consider the guidelines as advisory and consider the guidelines along with other factors listed in 18 U.S.C. §3553. Ultimately the sentencing court could vary below the sentencing guidelines as long as the sentence was reasonable.

This reasonableness standard has opened a new opportunity for offering mitigating factors at sentencing that could not be considered prior to U.S. v. Booker.

Drug offenses such drug conspiracy, drug distribution and drug trafficking have been dictated by mandatory minimum sentences. First offenders can avoid the mandatory minimum sentence under a provision that allows the court to sentence without regard to the minimum mandatory if the defendant has no priors. When the guidelines were mandatory, the judge was prohibited from lower. Now, in the post-Booker world, a sentencing court does have the option to sentence even lower.

Money laundering is another aspect of drug offenses. This charge involves using funds to promote a the operation of a drug organization or to hide the assets of a drug organization. A money laundering offense can be punished under the guidelines the as if the defendant was convicted of the drug offense itself.

Attorney Ken Swartz has experience and expertise that has enabled him to achieve sentences significantly below the federal sentencing guidelines in many of his cases.

Both federal law and state statutes provide for serious felony drug crime charges, such as:

The severity of the corresponding punishment will depend not only upon the type of drug involved, but the amount (in weight), and the intended use of the drug (personal use/possession, manufacture, distribution, sale, etc.).

Accordingly, felony drug crimes need an aggressive and detailed drug crime defense because the government is always anxious to gain a drug conviction, and investigations can unfortunately become a rush to judgment where constitutional and other legal rights of the defendant are trampled or ignored.

For example, there must be a reasonable suspicion before anyone can be stopped, much less arrested, for a drug crime or offense: this is guaranteed under both state and federal law by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Average Joe or Jane may not know when the police have illegally crossed the line. Having an experienced and aggressive drug offense Florid criminal defense lawyer on board as soon as possible is very important to anyone accused of a drug crime.

Having a criminal attorney's protection against the misuse of statements made during initial investigations of a drug offense can be particularly invaluable. It is true that exercising your Constitutional right to remain silent until an experienced criminal defense / drug crime attorney is with you in any police interrogation is usually in the client's best interests.

Plea versus a Trial

Most cases are resolved by a plea, but getting your case resolved by a skilled criminal defense attorney who is an expert in the field can result in a dismissal or a minimal or reduced sentence. A person can only negotiate a plea deal if they are guilty of the crime charges.

In some cases the best strategy is to make the prosecution prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt at trial before a jury. If a person is innocent then the best alternative is to go to trial. This should only be done with the representation of a lawyer who has the skill and expertise to conduct himself in a courtroom in front of a jury. Ken Swartz is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer who has proven abilities in the courtroom. As an expert in criminal trial work in federal and state courts he can represent a person charged with any type of criminal matter.

The Swartz Law Firm Represents persons accused of committing all types of drug crimes.

Miami attorney Ken Swartz represents persons under investigation for drug offenses and persons charged with a drug offense. Some of the many drugs cases we have represented include:

  • Ecstasy

  • Marijuana

  • Cocaine

  • Crack Cocaine

  • Amphetamine

  • Heroin

  • Cocaine Base

  • Opium

  • PCP

  • LSD

  • Fentanyl, Fentanyl Analouge

  • Hashish

  • Hashish Oil

  • DET (diethyltryptamine)

  • Peyote

  • DMT (Dimethyltryptamine)

  • Flunitrazepam

  • Methamphetamine (Meth, Crystal Meth, Ice)

  • Mushrooms (Psilocin and/or Psilocybin)

  • Mescaline

  • Illegally obtained Prescription Drugs or Club Drugs

  • Methadone

  • Xanax

  • Morphine

  • Percocet

  • Ambien

  • OxyContin

  • Ativan

  • Dexedrine

  • Codeine

  • Dilaudid

  • Ketamine

  • Lortab

  • Hydrocodone

  • Darvocet

  • Ritalin

  • Vicodin

  • Demerol

  • Ultram


If you or someone you know is accused of a drug-related charge and facing incarceration and the loss of personal assets by forfeiture, whether in federal or state court, call Swartz Law Firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced, board certified criminal trial attorney.

White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog - Drug Crimes
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