Traffic Stop Leads to Massive Drug Bust

June 9, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drug Charges

Getting stopped by the police is already a high-stress situation. It’s always important to remember to stay calm and know your rights.

In some instances, when a police officer stops you for one offense, it can lead to several more serious offenses if they find something illegal on you. Florida is known for being extremely strict when it comes to controlled substances. If a police officer finds controlled substances in your possession, you can face drug charges that result in expensive fines and jail time.

For one Florida man, a suspended driver’s license led to several serious drug charges. We will cover the details of the case, along with an overview of the different drug charges and their penalties and defenses.

What was the Incident?

On June 4th, 2022, a Leon County Sheriff’s deputy arrested a man for several drug charges. According to Leon County Sheriff’s Office’s press release, the deputy noticed a man sitting in the driver’s seat of a car outside of a convenience store. After running a license plate check, the deputy found that the driver was a habitual traffic offender.

The man was 31-year-old Maxwell Collins, who was not permitted to drive, as he currently had a suspended driver’s license. The deputy approached Collins to verify his identity and placed him under arrest due to the suspended license.

The officer noticed that there was a specific odor coming from inside the car, that he believed to be marijuana. Collins allowed the deputy to search his vehicle, which resulted in him uncovering a large number of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.

The following is a list of items that were found in Collins’ car:

  • 1 grams of Fentanyl
  • 8 grams of Cocaine
  • 5 grams of Methamphetamines
  • 5 milliliters of THC Oil
  • 30 Suboxone Pills
  • 6 pounds of Marijuana
  • Scale and Grinder

After finding the illegal substances and drug paraphernalia, Collins was then transported to Leon County Detention Center and charged with the following offenses:

  • Trafficking in Fentanyl
  • Trafficking in Methamphetamines
  • Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell
  • Possession of Cocaine
  • 2 counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Driving while License Suspended or Revoked

Drug Charges in Florida

Collins was hit with several very serious drug charges after getting arrested by the LCSO deputy. We will briefly cover the different drug charges and their penalties.

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance – It’s true that being in possession of almost any controlled substance can result in a felony charge. Florida is extremely strict when it comes to possessing illegal substances that are not from a valid doctor. Possession of a controlled substance is either considered actual or constructive possession, which defines whether the substance was actually on your person or if the defendant was just aware of the substance’s location. The penalties for possessing a controlled substance fall under Florida Statute section 893.13, and varies depending on the level of schedule the substance ranks on the official Drug Schedule. For a Schedule V possession, the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, resulting in up to a $1,000 fine and potentially one year in jail. If the substance is through Schedule I, II, III, or IV, then it is a third-degree felony. This can result in up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
  • Possession with Intent to Sell – Florida has been working towards cracking down on the use of illegal drugs, which means possession of substances with the intent to sell has severe consequences. The differences between possession of a controlled substance and possession with the intent to sell include the following factors:
    • Large quantities of illegal substances;
    • Presence of packaging or paraphernalia including scales or baggies;
    • The way the substances were packaged;
    • Admitting to the police that you had been selling or planning to sell the illegal substances; and
    • Large amounts of cash or weapons

Just like with the possession of a controlled substance, the penalties for possession with the intent to sell depend on where the illegal substances fall on the Drug Schedule. For a Schedule V substance, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail. For a III or IV Schedule drug, it is a third-degree felony, resulting in up to a $5,000 fine and five years in prison. If the illegal substance falls under a Schedule I or II drug, it is a second-degree felony which is punishable with up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

  • Drug Trafficking – Under Florida Statute Section 893.13, an individual can be charged with drug trafficking if they have been caught delivering or selling a controlled substance. In addition, someone can also be charged with drug trafficking if they have traveled into Florida from another state while possessing illegal substances. The severity of the drug trafficking charges depends on the illegal drug and where it is classified on the Drug Schedule. The two most common drugs trafficked in Florida are marijuana and cocaine. To read about each of the substances’ penalties associated with a trafficking charge, read our informative page here.

What are the Potential Defenses?

If an individual gets caught with illegal substances and receives a drug charge, they may feel like there is no hope for them. However, in some cases there are defenses to drug charges that could still apply to the specific facts of the case. For one, if the officer has conducted an unreasonable search and seizure, your constitutional rights may have been violated.

In the event that the authorities have conducted an illegal search of your car or home, a skilled defense attorney may be able to file a motion to suppress. This means that anything found in an illegal search is deemed inadmissible, which would prevent the prosecution from using the evidence against you in court. This may even result in the charges getting dismissed altogether.

There is also the protection of self-incrimination from the Constitution. This means if there was information received from you that violated your rights, the information you disclosed cannot be used against you by the prosecution. A good example of this is if an officer fails to read you your Miranda Rights before finding drugs on your person.

The important thing to remember is that a skilled defense attorney will have a good understanding of the case and will figure out which defenses work best. In the best of scenarios, the defense attorney can file a motion to dismiss on your behalf.

To find out more information on defenses to drug charges and drug resources in Florida, find our page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime resulting in a drug charge, you may feel like there is no hope and that you are out of options. Although getting charged with a drug offense is intimidating, that does not mean you should give up on yourself or your case. With the help of a Tallahassee criminal defense attorney, you can work towards strategizing a strong defense and gaining your freedom. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients all across the state of Florida for various drug charges. Our team will strive to ensure your freedom, and help you navigate the legal process along the way. If you want a strong defense team fighting in your corner, call us at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation.

Written by Karissa Key

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