Have you been charged with a Drug-Free Zone Violation by Possession with Intent to Sell?
When it comes to drugs, Drug-Free Zone Violation by possession with intent to sell is a very serious crime. State prosecutors in Miami, Florida take these charges very seriously as they want to protect children and school zones in general.
In Miami, Florida drug dealing is a major issue and is of course frowned upon. Drug possession in a school zone is especially frowned upon by law enforcement. If charged and found guilty with a drug-free zone violation it is likely that an individual will face sentencing enhancements. If you or someone you know has been charged with drug possession in a drug-free school zone it is going to be necessary to obtain the services of a defense attorney.
Being found guilty of a drug-free zone violation comes with minimum mandatory sentences that are severe. In 1986 college basketball great Len Bias died unexpectedly. His drug-related death prompted law enforcement to promote drug-free school zones throughout the entire country. In 1987 the Florida Legislature passed a law that increases the felony charges and penalties that an individual will have to face if they are found guilty of selling or possessing with the intent to sell within 1000 feet of a school.
Found guilty of possession with intent to sell within a school zone, the guilty party will be sentenced to a mandatory three years in prison. Depending on the circumstances the penalties an individual faces can be more severe.
What scenarios influence how serious the penalties will be if found guilty of a Drug-Free Zone Violation?
Some scenarios that play a role in an individual’s punishment handed down from the court of law are:
- What type of drugs did they have on them?
- The amount of drugs that the charged individual has in their possession?
- Whether or not the defendant has a past criminal record?
- Did the defendant have proper legal representation?
What must a prosecutor prove in order for a defendant to be found guilty?
In order to be found guilty of drug possession with intent to sell within a school zone a Miami, Florida state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. It is going to be necessary for the state prosecutor to prove that the charged party was within 1,000 feet of a public or private school as it states in the existing drug laws. It is not essential for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant knew that they were in the range of a school zone. All that matters is whether they were or weren’t.
What defense may an attorney develop to help defend their client against the existing drug laws that they allegedly violated?
In Miami, Florida a state prosecutor is going to work very hard and diligently to prove that the defendant is guilty, as the state wants to ensure the safety of all the children and individuals who are in school. It is necessary to retain the services of a defense attorney who has vast experience in defending individuals who have been charged with a drug-free zone violation. Some defense strategies that a seasoned defense attorney may develop are:
- Their defendant did not have the intent to sell drugs. The drugs on hand were for personal use only.
- The defendant was not within 1000 feet of the school zone.
- If the defendant was not arrested on the site of the crime a defense attorney may be able to form a defense of mistaken identity.
A defense attorney will do all the research and investigation necessary to give their client the best chances at having their charges dismissed or reduced. In the case that an individual is found guilty, a defense attorney will make attempts to work with the judge and prosecutor to get their client reduced penalties. Do not risk fighting charges of a drug-free zone violation without a defense attorney.