Proposed Legislation Could End Minimum Mandatory Penalties for Drug Charges

As you may know, criminal defense lawyers are faced with the particularly difficult challenge of defending clients who are accused ofdrug charges because both State and Federal statutes call for minimum mandatory penalties, based on the circumstances of each particular case (for example, the quantity of drugs, the presence of weapons, etc.).

New proposed legislation, arguably being driven by the ailing economy and the rising cost of Florida’s criminal justice system, seeks to end minimum mandatory penalties, allowing judges more latitude to decide penalties based on the individual circumstances of each case. In a March 10, 2011 article by News Service Florida, Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff draws the distinction between drug offenders who suffer from a “life of crime” versus those that are plagued by a “life of addiction”, arguing that those suffering from addiction can be helped so that they are transformed into law-abiding, taxpaying citizens.

If passed, the proposed legislation broadens the possible outcomes faced by those accused of drug charges and adds a new element to be considered by their criminal defense lawyers.

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