Friday, November 8, 2013

What to Do When You Are Arrested For A Crime Involving Drugs

 How To Avoid Prison Penalties For Drug Related Crimes

Florida recognizes that there are complex issues other than criminal behavior that contribute to the taking of illegal substances. Some people have not had a brush with the legal system at all until drugs lead them to be convicted felons, earning stays in jail and prison along the way. With this in mind, Florida has carved out an exception in the law of felony sentencing where a person whose life has been ruined by drugs may be better served by a long term of treatment and rehabilitation rather than a term of incarceration.


Photo Credit flickr.com
Florida felony sentencing is largely based on the Criminal Punishment Scoresheet. For each offense that you currently have pending, and each offense that is on your prior criminal record, you will be assigned a number of points by the prosecutor. If the total number of points is greater than or equal to 44, then a mandatory stay in prison in indicated. The only ways around mandatory prison in a felony case in Florida where you score prison is: a) beating the case at trial; b) convincing the prosecutor that they should ignore the law and agree to a lesser sentence; or c) plead open to the Court while filing a Motion for Alternative Sentence or Motion for Downward Departure from the Sentencing Guidelines.

If you are not likely to prevail at trial, and the state is unwilling to disregard the law to give you a break, then your last chance to avoid prison is to plead open to the Court and either file a Motion for Alternative Sentence or a Motion for Downward Departure from Sentencing Guidelines. To prevail on a Motion for Alternative Sentence, a person must convince the Court to exercise leniency. Eligibility for receiving the sentence, which would typically involve a long term of probation and drug treatment, rather than incarceration, requires that a person a) is charged with an eligible drug-related offense; b) has had a history of incarceration or other problems due to drug abuse; and c) desires treatment for their addiction. The Court must find, in order to grant a Motion for Alternative Sentence, that a person not only has a drug problem, but is amenable to supervision and treatment. The goal, of course, is recovery and rehabilitation from the problems that caused by addiction to illegal substances. A willingness to engage in long term treatment is crucial.

Your ability to avoid prison penalties in these circumstances is dependent on the following:

  • The nature of the charge(s) against you
  • The availability of treatment programs
  • Your prior criminal history
  • Your attorney's ability to successfully negotiate or advocate an alternative course of action

The followign article from the Sun Sentinel is a great example other behavior that often goes hand in hand with sunstance abuse.

Detective hurt as cops subdue drug suspect

4:18 p.m. EDT, October 31, 2013
A Fort Lauderdale detective suffered a broken hand and other injuries when police fought with an accused drug dealer who wanted to sell $700 worth of heroin in a supermarket, authorities said.
He never made it to aisle six as planned and was instead confronted by police on his way to the store.
When the dust settled after a violent struggle, drug suspect Ricco Cintron, 21, also bruised from the altercation, was taken to Broward's Main Jail where he was being held without bond.
Cintron was charged with trafficking heroin, distributing/delivering ecstasy and other drug offenses, two counts of battery on an officer and obstructing or depriving that officer with means of protection or communication.

Along with the broken hand, the detective was taken to Holy Cross Hospital with a bruised leg and neck that was hurt when Cintron slammed it with his elbow so hard that it made the detective vomit, according to the arrest report filed in the case.

During the struggle, Cintron yelled "I ain't going to jail," the report said.
According to the report, Cintron sold undercover detectives cannabis on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17. About a week later, Cintron agreed to sell the undercover detective marijuana again.
Later that day, Cintron sold the detective $100 worth of heroin at the intersection of State Road A1A and Oakland Park Boulevard.

On Wednesday, Cintron agreed to sell the detective $700 worth of heroin—about 7 grams of the drug—and six ecstasy pills worth $100, police said.
According to the report, Cintron told the undercover detective he would sell him the heroin and ecstasy in aisle six of the Winn-Dixie supermarket along the 3800 block of North Ocean Boulevard.
But while en route to conduct the transaction, detectives in a marked police cruiser stopped Cintron, who was riding a bicycle.

While holding his hands on top of his head, he tried to sneak a hand into his pants pocket to pull a video game disc box that was later found to contain drugs, the report said.
That's when detectives moved in for the arrest and the struggle began.
Cintron swung his arms and struck one detective, while elbowing the other in the throat.
During the altercation, Cintron managed to remove a radio from the police belt of one of the detectives, police said. The other detective's radio was damaged during the incident.

They finally got handcuffs on Cintron and found heroin and ecstasy pills hidden in the game box, the report said.

The injured detective was treated for his injuries at Holy Cross Hospital, police said.
epesantes@tribune.com or 954-356-4543 or Twitter @epesantes

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