Defenses and Options That May Be Available to You in Drug cases

We can help – Proof and Defenses : Florida Drug Defense


Defenses: Lack of knowledge of the nature of the substance or lack of knowledge of its presence is a defense to a possession charge. Having a valid prescription for substance is also a defense. Other defenses may include entrapment by the police or a police agent. Entrapment means that someone was coerced to do something by the police that they would not have done, or a police agent or the police or their agent did something to cause a person to commit a crime that they would not otherwise have committed. The Fourth Amendment regarding unlawful searches and seizures is always a consideration in any drug defense and arrest.

There are many things to be considered in a drug trafficking defense and in any drug possession or sale accusation. Usually, the first is the legality of the arrest and the search. Did the scope of the search exceed the authority the law enforcement officer had? If there was a search warrant, was the search warrant properly obtained and are the facts legally sufficient for the warrant? Was the warrant executed lawfully and properly? Was any consent lawfully given and not coerced? Did the consent cover the area searched? Was the possession constructive or actual, what proof do they have?

Often, trafficking arrests as well as other drug charge arrests result from a traffic stop. The legality of the traffic stop regarding founded suspicion or probable cause always needs to be investigated and addressed by an experienced pinellas county drug defense attorney. Larry Sandefer has extensive experience in Fourth Amendment Rights, illegal searches and seizures, and search warrant issues. In drug cases it is especially important to obtain the services of an  experienced Fourth Amendment defense attorney familiar with stop and search and seizure issues.

Depending on the circumstances of an individual case, several options could be explored such as “substantial assistance” or presentation of legal mitigating circumstances. Trafficking Statutes allow for cooperation and assistance to be given credit towards possibly eliminating or removing a minimum mandatory prison sentence.  A person’s existing addiction To a controlled substance or  a previous accident where drugs were prescribed which led to an addiction may be very valuable information for us to explore and talk with you about.

Make Larry Sandefer one of the drug defense attorneys that you see when considering who you want to defend you against your accusations of drug posession or drug sale. He was the first attorney awarded Board Certification as a Criminal Trial Specialist in the 6th Circuit of Florida.  The  Sixth Circuit is the area covering Pinellas County, Pasco County and the Courthouses in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Dade City.  He is one of only a few defense attorneys who served as  a Lead Trial Attorney and as a Division Director at the State Attorneys Office in the Sixth Circuit.  Let him assess your case and your options and defenses with you. Consultations are free, no obligation, and confidential.

Although trafficking cases may seem insurmountable to you at times, we have extensive experience in these cases and can discuss, with you, many alternatives to a conviction or a guilty plea on a drug trafficking case.  We will be with you every step of the way.  Our motto is “when experience counts, count on experience.”

Constructive Possession

Many people do not realize that you can be charged with possession of a drug or a controlled substance without having it on your person. Florida has what are called constructive possession laws. This means that a person is in possession of something if they know it is present and they have the ability to control it.

A good example of this is where someone is stopped for a traffic infraction and on the console between the driver in the passenger is a baggie of marijuana. Because it is visible to both people and either one of them could reach it, both of them can be charged with possessing the same bag. It does not matter who the actual owner is.

However, in that same scenario, if there is nothing visible but there is a baggie of marijuana under the passenger seat or some other substance under the passenger seat, then it is the states burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that whoever they charge knew that the baggie was there and knew what it was. If the driver is the only occupant of the vehicle, it is presumed that the driver knows whatever is in the vehicle wherever it may be. This would allow the state to charge someone and then the defense would have to raise the issue of lack of knowledge of the substance. The burden then shifts to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person actually knew it was there and what it was.


Contact Florida Drug Defense Lawyer

Most common arrests are for sale of cocaine in Pinellas County, sale of crack cocaine in Pinellas County, sale of a controlled substance in PInellas County, Sale of Heroin in Pinellas County, sale of oxycodone or hydrocodone in Pinellas County, and Trafficking in illegal drugs in Pinellas County.

If you need a lawyer to help you on a drug charge in Pinellas County including Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and anywhere in Tampa Bay, call Sandefer Law Firm for a free and confidential evaluation of your case and defenses available to your particular situation.

  • Larry Sandefer
  • Over 30 Years Courtroom Experience
  • Former Lead Trial Lawyer & Division Director
  • Over 5000 Criminal Cases Handled
  • Hundreds of Jury Trials as sole or lead counsel