What a first-time offender may expect in a drug case

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Being arrested for the first time on a criminal drug-related charge is something no one forgets.

As a first-time drug offender, you wonder what to expect. Will you beat this charge? Will you get a chance to redeem yourself? That depends on many factors, including whether the state of Florida wants to help in your rehabilitation as well as the guidance of a criminal defense attorney.

Type of drugs and amount of drugs

The main factors determining whether people get jail time are how strong the evidence is, whether they have a previous criminal record, the types of drugs, the amount in their possession and the lawyer they hire.

The severity of the charge also plays a factor for a first-time offender. While possession of a small amount of a controlled substance may not result in prison, possession of large amounts increases the likelihood of prison which is why you need a skilled advocate on your side.

Assistance through drug courts

In some cases, your attorney can help you obtain alternative outcomes to your case. Here are some examples:

  • Drug courts: In 1989, the state launched a revolutionary drug court in Miami-Dade County, combining drug treatment with aspects of the judicial system. Drug court typically focuses on small-time offenders in helping them avoid addiction, while steering them away from a life of crime. The rehabilitation program includes involvement from treatment specialists, mental health care workers, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys.
  • Federal First Offender Act: This federal law allows for a probation program for first-time offenders. The law seeks leniency for non-violent offenses such as drug possession.

Some of these programs can help you avoid the stigma of a drug conviction, but you need a strong partner in your attorney to achieve them.

Avoiding jail

Alternative programs like drug court and probation provide education, community service, and treatment and guidance related to criminal drug charges. By completing such programs, your charges may be reduced or dismissed. Contact our office today to learn about what options may apply to your situation.