A 20-year-old mother and 29-year-old father were arrested on November 14, 2017 in Lakeland after their baby tested positive for methamphetamine. The parents took the child to Lakeland Regional Hospital for treatment of an infected area on the leg which had, by that time, turned black. The mother claimed that the child had received mosquito bites several days prior, and that one of those had become infected.
Drug distribution charges are serious charges which is why accused individuals facing them enjoy protections enshrined in the criminal justice system. In Florida, the sale and distribution of controlled substances is prohibited. Accused individuals can face serious criminal charges, potential penalties and possible consequences associated with possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute it.
Any type of drug charges, either possession or possession with the intent to sale, are all serious criminal charges that carry significant potential penalties and consequences. Because of this, criminal defense rights are important to be aware of. A criminal defense strategy is developed in response to the unique circumstances of the situation the accused individual is facing but may challenge the stated facts of the case; challenge procedural errors such as search and seizure violations; or offer other defenses such as a medical use for the drugs.
We’ve previously written on this blog about Florida’s drug-induced homicide law, which allows for an additional criminal charge against those who illegally supply opioid drugs to those who overdose on them. As we pointed out, it isn’t clear whether the law will be an effective deterrent against the problem of illegal opioid use, but it is the way many states are sending a strong message about the problem.
Previously, we began looking at the push to enact and enforce drug-induced homicide laws, noting that Florida recently joined a number of states which have these laws on the books. As we noted, there are various criticisms of these laws, including that they are not effective in preventing overdose deaths, they can discourage suppliers from contacting authorities when an overdose occurs, and that they can end up targeting family members and friends rather than dangerous drug dealers.
Readers may be aware that illegal opioid drug use is an epidemic across the nation, with the number of opioid overdose deaths drastically increasing over the last couple years. State and federal authorities have been working to address the problem in a number of ways.
Previously, we began looking at the basic structure of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and why it is important to work with an experienced attorney to navigate the sentencing process when the guidelines are at play. As we noted, the guidelines are not mandatory, but federal judges do generally take them seriously.
Sentencing is an important aspect of any criminal case, as it is the stage of the process where the court determines the penalties a defendant will face. Decisions made in the sentencing phase can mean the difference between hope and despair. In federal drug cases, it is particularly important for criminal defendants to work with an attorney who understands how the Federal Sentencing Guidelines work, so that they have the strongest possible advocacy at this stage.
Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to federal prosecutors nationwide in which he laid out the Justice Department’s policy with regard to the prosecution of drug crimes. The memo is a significant change from the department’s policy under former attorney general Eric Holder, who told prosecutors to avoid criminal charges involving mandatory minimum sentences, particularly for nonviolent drug offenders.
In our previous post, we began looking at the growing microdosing trend, and the fact that most psychedelics are illegal substances, while others are at least of precarious legal standing. The situation with psychedelics drugs is a bit like marijuana—while the drug holds some promise with respect to treating certain diseases and conditions, it remains an illegal substance at the federal level.