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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Sentences For Drug Crimes Harsher In Certain Locations

Sentences For Drug Crimes Harsher In Certain Locations


In Florida, there are certain physical locations that the legislature has designated ‘drug-free zones.’ While the state regulates possession of illegal drugs severely everywhere, possessing or selling them in drug-free zones is seen as a greater crime against society, and because of this, courts tend to impose much harsher sentences on those who are convicted of such crimes. If you have been charged with selling drugs in one of these zones, consulting an attorney quickly can be crucial to your case.

Drug-Free Zones 

There are several places that have been designated as drug-free zones in Florida, the most common being schools, childcare facilities, municipal parks, and places of worship, among others. In general, a person convicted of drug possession, sale, manufacture, or distribution in any of these locations (or within 1,000 feet of them) will be tried for an offense one level higher than they normally would be. For example, selling MDMA on school grounds would normally be a second-degree felony; it will be charged as a first-degree felony.

In addition, the relevant statutes will almost always impose a mandatory minimum 3-year prison sentence on anyone who is convicted of a drug offense on these premises. Mandatory minimum terms for drug offenses are common in Florida, but depending on the situation, one may be imposed if your crime occurred in a drug-free zone, when otherwise, the sentence would have been shorter.

Extremely Serious Offenses

If you have been charged with one of these crimes, it is important that you be aware that intent is not an issue when dealing with many Florida drug offenses. In other words, it is not a defense that you were unaware of being in a drug-free zone. Florida sees drug offenses as crimes against society, and given its persistent drug problems as a state, its laws are drawn up in a more punitive fashion.

There are defenses to this type of charge, but they have more to do with trying to establish irregularities in procedure – for example, arguing that law enforcement violated your rights during your arrest or during a search of your person or your home. Enlisting an attorney to represent you in this type of case is important, simply because the average person may not be familiar with the finer points of such arguments.

Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney

Being involved with drugs in Florida can always be a risky proposition, but drug-free zones make the potential consequences even more severe than they otherwise would be. If you have been charged with an offense that occurred in a drug-free zone, you need an experienced West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. to ensure your rights are protected in court. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.



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