Florida drug laws are ruled constitutional

Any dwindling hope that Florida drug laws (found in Florida Statute 893.13) would be found unconstitutional took a major (fatal) blow with the Adkins ruling. State of Florida v. Adkins (No.SC11-1878) dealt with the constitutionality of the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. This act provides that knowledge of the illicit nature of a controlled substance is not an element of any offenses under the chapter but that the lack of such knowledge is an affirmative defense.

A court in the 12th circuit ruled it was unconstitutional and began dismissing drug charges such as possession of cocaine or trafficking in oxycodone.

Here in Pinellas County, many St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers filed what has become known as a Sheldon motion, named after the case. Sheldon, 6:07-cv-00839-MSS-KRS, was a federal case from the middle district court. Sheldon had appealed his earlier drug conviction and argued the changes Florida made to Statute 893.13 in May of 2002 made the statute unconstitutional. By making this change, Florida became the ONLY state in the country to eliminate mens rea, or intent, for drug charges! The court ruled in favor of Mr. Sheldon and these Sheldon motions to dismiss became rather common in the Pinellas and Hillsborough criminal courthouses.

After the middle district case ruling and the subsequent Sheldon motions,
there was a brief time when the courts were not sure how to rule. A few drug cases in Manatee county were dismissed but no Sheldon motions were granted in Pinellas or Hillsborough counties. With this most recent ruling, it appears the Supreme Court in Florida has spoken.

Have you or a loved one been arrested for a marijuana or a possession of a controlled substance charge? Then hire the experienced Pinellas Criminal Defense lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A.. As former state prosecutors and now criminal defense attorneys, they have the knowledge and commitment to fight for you! They handle cases all throughout the west coast of Florida including St. Petersburg, Largo, Seminole, Gulfport, Clearwater, Indian Shores and the beach areas.
Call them at 727.286.6141 or contact them via email at www.info@blakedorstenlaw.com. Don’t wait, lawyers are available 365/24/7 to help you with your legal problems.

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