Thirty-one people were arrested last month on Nassau County drug charges after police specifically targeted illegal drugs in a series of undercover drug operations. Police dubbed the measure “Operation Clean Sweep” and arrested people on a total of 46 counts – 37 of which were felonies in Nassau County, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police recovered a variety of illegal drugs – from marijuana and opiates to prescription narcotics and crack cocaine.
Charges and sentences vary greatly in Nassau County Drug Crime cases. There are two determining factors: the type of drug a person is alleged to have and the amount of the illegal drug the person is charged with possessing. There are three main types of charges in Jacksonville drug crime cases: possession, possession with intent to sell and trafficking. The amounts needed for each of these thresholds is based on the type of drug. Trafficking in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties is by far the most serious and, in many cases, brings with it minimum mandatory sentences, should prosecutors choose to seek them. And not all drugs are created equal in the minds of the American legal system. If a person has 28 grams of cocaine, they can be charged with trafficking – a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years. To reach the trafficking threshold for marijuana, a defendant would have to have at least 25 pounds of cannabis. That’s 11,325 grams, more than 400 times the amount of cocaine that qualifies as trafficking in Nassau County drug crime cases.
With the exception of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, most drug charges are felonies immediately – starting with a single pill or a small amount of powder or crack cocaine. But the state also may offer some sort of pretrial diversion especially if it’s a person’s first offense. The negotiated punishment is called Pre-Trial Diversion, and if the defendant meets a series of conditions, including passing drug tests, attending classes and staying clear of any arrests, the Nassau County Drug Crimes charges are dropped. There is also a similar program that is connected to probation in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties. In many cases, the person pleads guilty to the charge, but the judge withholds the adjudication, meaning the person would not have a conviction on their record if they complete the program. But, if the defendant fails to finish the program, the conditions of the guilty plea, including potential prison time, would kick in. Drug crimes can have serious consequences, even for what may seem like a minor amount of drugs. Our Nassau County Drug Crimes lawyer is well-versed in the laws regarding drug possession and has represented hundreds of clients facing similar charges.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.