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Some charges dropped in Florida drug bust

Drug trafficking charges are prosecuted aggressively in Florida and carry serious consequences. Unlike simple possession cases, it is more difficult to avoid prison time in trafficking cases by steering a defendant into a drug diversion program. Individuals facing charges of drug distribution, or possession with intent to distribute, need an aggressive defense.

Recently several defendants in a sting operation in Hendry County saw some of the drug charges against them dismissed for insufficient evidence. The defendants were among a group of people targeted in a sting operation police called the "Dirty Dozen."

A judge in Hendry County dismissed some charges against two of the defendants because the evidence was insufficient. In both cases, video surveillance evidence was corrupted, and prosecutors acknowledged they did not have enough evidence to prove the defendants' guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Both defendants will go to trial on the remaining charges against them. One of the two is probably breathing a big sigh of relief. He saw a charge of methamphetamine possession with intent to sell dropped; the only remaining charge against him is driving on a suspended license.

When a client is facing multiple drug charges, defense counsel will often work to chip away at the prosecution's evidence with the goal of getting some of the charges dismissed before trial. Sometimes the prosecution will agree to dismiss or reduce charges as part of a plea agreement. Sometimes, as in this case, prosecutors have overcharged defendants or they lack sufficient evidence to prove their case. Either way, the result can be a significant reduction in the potential sentence.

Source:, "Clewiston's 'Dirty Dozen' see charges dropped as cases move through court system," Melissa Beltz, Feb. 24, 2014

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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