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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Drug Offenses Remain In Florida

Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Drug Offenses Remain In Florida


Florida lawmakers take drug crimes quite seriously, seeing them as crimes against society due to the state’s high rates of addiction. Because of this, and as a leftover from the state’s days of high drug crime rates, lawmakers have consistently voted to retain mandatory minimum sentences for several drug crimes, despite data existing that points to their having little to no effect on the overall crime rate. If you have been charged with a drug offense in Florida, it is crucial for you to avoid any conviction that would result in a mandatory minimum sentence.

Disproportionate and Problematic

Mandatory minimum sentences were somewhat out of favor as late as the 1970s, with most U.S. states moving toward a more rehabilitative model for their prisons. However, the “War on Drugs” brought them back with a vengeance, particularly in states like Florida that experienced significant violence from cartel activity during this period. Ever since the 1980s, mandatory minimums have been in effect in Florida, and three main issues with their use have become apparent.

It is no secret that mandatory minimum sentences have been linked to disproportionate incarceration rates for people of color – but more specifically, they have effectively removed power from the hands of judges and juries when it comes to sentencing. With most criminal offenses, judges use sentencing guidelines to come up with a punishment that they feel appropriately fits the crime – a hard and fast minimum means that even in cases where a judge might otherwise have imposed probation or other non-carceral sentences, they must do so, effectively putting a defendant on a different life path.

If You Have Been Charged

If you have been charged with a Florida drug offense, it is crucial that you understand the potential high stakes. Not all drug offense cases are created equal, and depending on the facts of your situation, it may be possible to assert what is known as an affirmative defense (for example, arguing that the evidence in your case was improperly seized by law enforcement, or that you lacked knowledge or control of the drugs in question).

If no affirmative defenses are available to you, a plea-bargain may be an option. There are Florida drug offenses that do not carry mandatory minimum sentences, and it may be possible to bargain the charges down, or to pursue another arrangement with the state’s attorney so that a criminal conviction with a mandatory minimum sentence does not wind up on your criminal record. Either way, having an attorney on your side can be the difference between success and failure.

Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney

Drug crimes in Florida are very serious, and law enforcement tends to pursue them aggressively. If you have been charged with a crime which carries a mandatory minimum sentence, contact a West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. – we are ready and willing to try and assist you with your case. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.



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