Over my many years of criminal defense law practice, I have represented clients on virtually every type of drug related charge. At the same time, I have seen the focus of those police investigations narrow somewhat.
More recently, the targeted criminal drug charges in Fort Walton, Destin & throughout Okaloosa County, include: Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Prescription Drugs, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of a Legend Drugs, Possession of Tobacco by a Minor, and Possession of Alcohol by a Person under 21.
While some states have legalized marijuana, and many more states have dramatically reduced their enforcement of marijuana laws, Northwest Florida has probably become far strict in comparison. This is common in state and local politics to see a “pushback” when one governmental body disapproves of what is going on in another.
That is why many southern states are going after marijuana cases with a renewed vigor. The other, less publicized reason why marijuana law enforcement is high is because police favor being able to use “the smell or odor of cannabis or marijuana” as probable cause to search vehicles. This method is preferred even over using “K-9 free air sniff and alerts” for Florida police officers.
The other big area of police focus is that of prescription drugs. Keep in mind that the list of Prescription Drugs Include: painkillers, Lortabs, Hydrocodone, muscle relaxers, as well as Adderall, Ritalin, and all other ADHD and ADD medications. These controlled “party drugs” as well as non-prescription marijuana and ecstasy (MDMA) are well investigated and frequently searched for by local police.
Many people do not realize how serious it is to be in illegal possession of a prescription drug, especially opiate derivative painkillers. Because of Florida’s strict laws, even a small number of pills could mean a potential minimum mandatory prison sentence. To many, these severe penalties are difficult to fathom because prescription drugs are so common, but make no mistake, possession of the pills in a sufficient amount equates to “trafficking” under the law, and it does not matter if you were not intending to traffic, manufacture, or sell the drugs or pills.
Drug Charges are serious business and you need a serious defense attorney. It doesn’t what type of drug charge you are facing, Shawn Lupella is a criminal lawyer that has the experience to handle any drug case.
So if you are a local resident or from out of town and are arrested in Destin, Fort Walton, or elsewhere in the area, for a drug crime while on your Florida vacation, the best thing you can do is contact a local criminal defense attorney that practices law in the specific county where you were arrested.
Attorney Shawn Lupella has practiced law for many years in Okaloosa County and Walton County and is available 24/7 to help. Offering free consultations, help is only a phone call away. (850) 362-6655.