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Arrests for possession perpetuate the "War on Drugs"

The most common drug offenses leading to arrests in Florida and across the United States are related to possession of controlled substances. According to the 2016 Uniform Crime Report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the latest law enforcement trend in the U.S. involves arresting individuals for simple possession. Nearly 85 percent of the nearly 1.6 million drug arrests conducted by state and federal agencies in 2016 were for drug possession charges, and the vast majority of these arrests did not involve any violence.

Even as many states move towards legalizing marijuana dispensaries and even recreational use, the number of drug arrests does not seem to attenuate. In fact, it seems as if though the War on Drugs is intensifying. In light of this situation the Drug Policy Alliance is calling on state legislatures to adopt more relaxed measures in cases related to possession of small amounts.

Even when they are filed as a result of simple possession, drug charges in Florida always carry serious consequences. Criminal defense attorneys are aware that the current political climate may exacerbate the situation.. However, it is important to remember that possession cases may present various opportunities to present affirmative defenses, particularly when the arrest started off as a traffic stop or as a poorly executed search warrant.

Individuals who are arrested on possession charges in Broward County are often surprised to find that the police report or charge sheet includes the term "drug trafficking". This seems to be a catch-all used by many law enforcement agencies even when the case merely involves possession. When arrested for the suspicion of drug crimes, people might want to retain a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Source: The Huffington Post, "There Was One Arrest For Drug Possession Every 25 Seconds In 2016", Jag Davies, Sept. 27, 2017

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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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