Sometimes, one might find oneself in an uncomfortable encounter with law enforcement. The officer suspects you of a crime. The officer is questioning you. The facts look bad, and you do not have a clear reply to dispel the officer’s suspicions. You have a couple of options at this point. You can invoke your right to legal counsel and refuse to explain anything, or you can go for a “far-from-run-of-the-mill” explanation. More often than not, if an officer is questioning you toward the end of possibly arresting you, the less you say the better. Instead, retain counsel and let your experienced Florida drug crime attorney handle the interactions with the police.
A woman recently stopped by police in Fort Pierce went with a long shot of an explanation in her interaction with police, according to a news report from Local10.com. Law enforcement officers allegedly noticed her vehicle driving erratically and made a traffic stop. According to the police report, the officer detected an aroma of marijuana upon approaching the vehicle. The officer searched the woman’s car. The officer also searched the woman’s purse. Inside the purse, the officer found marijuana and cocaine in separate bags inside the purse.
The woman informed the officer that the marijuana was hers, but the cocaine was not. What’s more, she professed not knowing for sure how the bag of cocaine found its way into her purse. Instead of leaving it there, she attempted to offer a possible alternative theory of the case. “I don’t know anything about any cocaine. It’s a windy day. It must have flown through the window and into my purse,” the woman theorized, according to the police report.
While this woman’s initial interaction with law enforcement may elicit some laughs for her “million-to-one shot” explanation, there are some very serious and beneficial things you can learn from her story. First, if you are questioned by police, don’t panic and don’t lie. If the police are able to prove that you lied, and the state is able to submit that lie as evidence in your case, it could hurt your credibility and make you less believable by the jury (or the judge if it’s a non-jury trial).
Second, even if the police have uncovered facts that seem very bad for you, don’t give up and don’t talk to the police without counsel. Get a skilled criminal defense attorney and defend your rights. Cocaine penalties in Florida are quite severe. If you have less than 28 grams (roughly an ounce) of cocaine on you, even if it is just the tiniest amount, a conviction on that basis is a third-degree felony, carrying penalties of up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. More than 28 grams is considered a drug trafficking offense, which is a first-degree felony. That carries mandatory minimum prison time and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
All of those penalties only matter if you’re convicted, though. Depending on the facts of your case, the cocaine the police found on you may not even be admissible against you at all. If, for example, the judge in the Fort Pierce woman’s case found that the police didn’t have the required level of legally mandated suspicion to conduct a search of the woman’s purse, that could possibly make the purse search an illegal search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. If the court made such a determination, that could mean that the cocaine evidence could be declared inadmissible, which obviously would vastly increase the defendant’s chances of avoiding a conviction.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges or is suspected of a crime, act promptly. Retain skilled counsel to protect the rights of your loved one or you. The experienced Tampa Bay cocaine crime attorneys at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. have been providing their clients with knowledgeable criminal defense representation for many years. Call us today at (727) 286-6141 to schedule your FREE initial consultation and get the information you need.
More blog posts:
Proximity Doesn’t Equal Control, Florida Appeals Court Says in Drug Conviction Reversal, Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, Feb. 14, 2017
Drug Charges in Florida: Part one of four, Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, June 2, 2016
Photo Credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, [CC0 License], via Wikimedia Commons