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Alternative Sentencing in Drug Crime Cases

Experienced Defense Lawyer Based in Tampa

Florida prosecutors take drug cases seriously. Many drug crimes are charged as felonies. Moreover, harsh mandatory minimum terms of incarceration are imposed when drug trafficking is involved; judges do not have discretion when a mandatory minimum sentence applies. In certain cases, however, it is possible to obtain alternative sentencing, which is a privilege rather than a right, with the help of an experienced Tampa drug crime attorney. Florida courts recognize that there is a possibility of rehabilitation, particularly if you are a first-time offender or it is a misdemeanor charge. If you want to know more about alternative sentencing in drug crime cases, you should call Jason Mayberry.

Alternative Sentencing in Drug Crime Cases

Drug crime convictions can carry a term of incarceration in Florida. The type and quantity of the drug involved in your case will affect the prison sentence. For instance, if you are convicted of possessing less than four grams of heroin, you will be guilty of a third-degree felony and may face up to five years of imprisonment, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. On the other hand, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is a first-offense misdemeanor charge; misdemeanor crimes are punishable by a year or less in jail.

Alternative sentencing includes different ways in which the court can avoid incarcerating an offender. Judges look at these cases with an eye toward supervising and rehabilitating offenders and giving them another chance. You may be eligible for an alternative sentencing program as a first-time or non-violent criminal offender.

The court may allow an offender to attend a 12-month treatment program. You will be treated for drug dependency. You will also take routine drug tests and go to court throughout the year so that a judge can monitor your progress. Often, prosecutors and courts are amenable to alternative sentencing in a first-time offender or misdemeanor case. An experienced attorney may be able to help you seek and obtain alternative sentencing.

Electronic Monitoring

The court may impose electronic monitoring as an alternative sentence or a condition of probation. This would require you to wear a GPS-enabled device that keeps track of where you are all the time. It keeps you within certain boundaries, often your home. However, the monitoring device usually allows you to travel to and from school and work, and within a small radius outside your home.

Drug Court

If you have a long history of substance abuse and get charged with a non-violent drug crime, you may qualify for drug court. Florida passed a truth in sentencing law in 1995, which required prisoners to serve up to 85% of their sentences before becoming eligible for release. However, the state has since developed drug courts. The goal of these drug courts is deferred adjudication of the drug crime charges or a dismissal of the charges for chronic substance abusers. Drug court programs are a chance to rehabilitate. They may include regular case review before a judge, support group participation, individual counseling, and drug testing and monitoring.

Probation Guidance

The use of a criminal code scoresheet is required if you have been convicted of a felony that is subject to the Criminal Punishment Code. Judges have statutory authority to create an appropriate sentence for somebody suffering from drug addiction when the drug crime was non-violent. Under Section 948.20 of the Florida Statutes, chronic drug users and people who perpetrated non-violent crimes with a score of 60 points or fewer on the scoresheet can be given an alternative to prison. A probationary period needs to include a particular treatment plan that meets a person’s needs. Probation officers are supposed to use gradually increasing sanctions as penalties for probation violations, although your probation can be subject to revocation.

A drug offender probation program is supposed to combine treatment with intensive community supervision approaches. Offenders should be supervised in accordance with a treatment plan. Their probation status is supposed to include random drug testing, surveillance, and other conditions for monitoring.

Retain a Tampa Attorney

Alternative sentencing in drug crime cases is a matter of leniency. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer may be able to make sure that it is seriously considered in your case. If you are concerned about alternative sentencing in drug crime cases, you should consult the Mayberry Law Firm. We may be able to counsel and represent you. We assist clients in Tampa and elsewhere in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Polk, Manatee, and Hardee Counties. Call us at (813) 444-7435 or complete our online form.

Client Reviews
"...I would not have gotten my life back with out Jason Mayberry and the hard work of him and his firm. He became a friend... My wife and I highly recommend the Mayberry law firm and we will only use him in the future if we need an attorney..." JB
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