Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer in Miami
Our Florida federal attorneys have decades
of experience with complex criminal cases
Miami residents accused of trafficking often feel as if they are suddenly wading through very murky, dangerous waters. These criminal cases can be very complex and should instantly prompt anyone accused of a narcotics-related crime to retain an experienced, dedicated and successful drug trafficking defense attorney in Miami. This is especially true of federal cases, which typically carry lengthier prison sentences upon conviction.
Charges: State vs. federal
The first point of confusion that surrounds drug charges is properly understanding the jurisdiction in which the case will be prosecuted. All related offenses may be charged in state or federal court. Drug trafficking, sometimes referred to as “drug distribution” in Florida, like related offenses can be charged as state or federal crimes. Multiple factors determine whether a defendant in a narcotics case will be prosecuted under federal or state law. A federal court may obtain jurisdiction over a trafficking case if:
- the crime involves crossing state lines;
- the crime occurred on federal property;
- the defendant was named by a federal informant;
- the defendant was arrested by a federal officer in connection with the crime.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Penalties could be steep
Initially, a defendant may not be sure why it matters whether the charges he or she faces are for a federal or state crime. Federal crimes tend to carry harsher sentencing. These cases are prosecuted by some of the most experienced lawyers and heard by federally-appointed judges, who tend to have very long, storied careers. Therefore, those facing federal drug trafficking charges in Miami require the expert legal counsel, advocacy and representation of a Miami criminal defense lawyer who has decades of experience representing defendants in federal court.
Proving a federal trafficking charge
Defined as the selling, transporting, or illegal import of an unlawful controlled substance. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics are usually the substances upon which a trafficking charge is based. When a Miami resident is formally accused – or charged – of a federal drug crime, the prosecution must convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime as defined under the applicable law. Similar to the crime of drug possession, conviction on a drug trafficking charge requires proof that the defendant knowingly and unlawfully possessed a controlled substance. However, in order to prove trafficking, the prosecutor must also show the defendant took part in the sale, transportation, or importation of a controlled substance or that the defendant intended to take part in the sale, transportation, or importation of a controlled substance.
There are several different arguments a drug trafficking defense attorney may argue to defend his or her client against a federal trafficking charge. All evidence that is obtained through an unlawful search must be suppressed at trial. This means neither the judge, nor the jury may consider the evidence in determining the outcome of the trial. For example, if an officer stops an individual to investigate a dim taillight and the officer demands to search the vehicle without probably cause, a Miami drug trafficking lawyer would likely challenge the admission of any evidence of drugs the officer may have found during the unlawful search. Most people are not fully aware of their constitutional rights; therefore, it is imperative that anyone who is facing a federal trafficking charge immediately obtain dedicated legal counsel. Other potential defenses against related charges include:
- the defendant was unaware he or she was in possession of a controlled substance;
- the defendant had no intent to traffic the controlled substance;
- the defendant was not in unlawful possession of the controlled substance (i.e. the person is a police officer transporting drug evidence for a legitimate purpose, etc.)
Private counsel vs. a public defender
The Constitution requires law enforcement officers to inform a person upon his or her right to obtain legal counsel when he or she is taken into police custody. This warning is included in a set of statements that is known as the Miranda warnings. Also included in the Miranda warnings is the right to legal counsel without regard to the individual’s income level. People who are unable to afford a lawyer may elect to be appointed a public defender by the court. Obtaining a public defender may seem like a simple, cost-effective solution. Public defenders have very large case loads; therefore, they tend to become very experienced very quickly. However, there are certain high-stakes situations in which a defendant should always contact a private practice attorney. Individuals who are named as a defendant in a federal case are likely to benefit much more from obtaining a private practice lawyer as public defenders typically have so many clients they often do not have the time to allocate as much time and attention as the client’s case may need. Therefore, a client may be encouraged by a public defender to accept a plea deal whereas a private counsel is in a better position to devote the time, attention, and professional resources a client may need to present the best argument for his or her defense at trial.
Reach a trafficking attorney now
Individuals who are facing related charges should immediately contact a drug trafficking defense attorney in Miami to request a free case evaluation. Conviction on a federal drug offense may result in hefty fines and prison sentences exceeding 10 years. Let Joffe Law, P.A. mount a powerful defense on your behalf.