Clay County detectives were in round-up mode last week, arresting more than three dozen people after targeting 48 for arrests on various drug crimes. Charges are as minor as misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, but most of the counts involve some sort of sale of a controlled substance or crack cocaine, according to a report by News4Jax. Police arrested 29 people the first day of the sweep and arrests trickled in the rest of the week.
The group does not appear to be one massive drug ring, but the Clay County Drug Arrests are the results of various ongoing investigations into drug activity throughout the county. Drug charges in Florida, particularly charges involving the sale of narcotics, can be extremely serious charges. Many people charged with sale in these Clay County drug crimes may not even be the ones physically conducting the actual sale or the people profiting from the transaction. Anyone involved in the delivery of drugs, a “middle man” so to speak, can also be charged with selling drugs.
There are also a variety of enhanced penalties the state can use in drug cases and Clay County authorities are seeking those in several of the recent arrests, according to the television station report. For example, penalties can escalate for people charged with the sale or delivery of drugs within 1,000 feet of a church or school and at least a dozen of those brought in on the Clay County drug crimes charges have that enhanced penalty attached.
Those enhancers will move a second-degree felony up to a first-degree felony, meaning a maximum penalty of 15 years becomes a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Additionally, the charge for selling within 1,000 feet of a school brings with it a mandatory three-year prison sentence. That’s important for two reasons. Number one, the judge has no discretion in his or her sentence and the defendant be sentenced to at least three years in prison. Second, mandatory sentences must be served in their entirety. In traditional sentences, people serve about 85 percent of their sentence if they stay out of trouble in prison. Gain time is not an option on mandatory sentences, so three years means three full years.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are Clay County probation and drug court options for people that could help them avoid jail or prison time, depending on their past criminal record. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of people charged with nearly every drug crime the state can charge and knows what to look for in these cases in terms of evidence, as well as options for people should they choose to negotiate with the state.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal drug defense attorney in Clay County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.