Beware Of Drug-Free Zones
When you were in high school, you probably saw “drug-free zone” signs posted on the doors and walls of the school. In elementary school and middle school, you took these signs for granted and barely noticed them, but when you were in high school, once you had discovered drugs, the signs were hilarious. You couldn’t stifle a smile as you walked to class after buying a pocketful of ecstasy tablets from your friend in the bathroom. The signs were by turns perplexing, scary, and devastatingly beautiful when you beheld them after dropping acid during lunch. It is easy not to take drug-free zone signs seriously, but if you get convicted of possessing or selling drugs in a designated drug-free zone, the consequences can be significantly more serious than if the arrest had taken place somewhere else. If you are being accused of buying or selling drugs in a drug-free zone, contact a Florida drug offenses attorney.
Florida Drug-Free Zone Laws
Florida law designates certain areas as drug-free zones. The penalties for offenses that involve the sale, manufacture, delivery, or distribution of illegal drugs is one grade higher if it takes place in a drug-free zone. For example, selling drugs in a motel by the side of the highway is a second-degree felony, but selling the same quantity of the same drug in a public park is a first-degree felony. Prosecutors are not supposed to upgrade the charges in simple possession cases if the alleged drug possession took place in a drug-free zone, but in practice, they sometimes try to do this.
The identifying characteristic of drug-free zones is that children or elderly people are likely to be present. The following are examples of drug-free zones:
- Elementary, middle, or high schools
- Preschools or child daycare centers
- Public parks
- Public community centers
- Houses of worship
- Assisted living facilities
- University campuses
- Public housing facilities
- 24-hour convenience stores and gas stations that also sell groceries
Criminal justice reform advocates have criticized the concept of drug-free zones as unnecessarily punitive. Selling drugs in a public park in the middle of the night endangers children much less than selling drugs in your home while your children are present, but the law fails to realize this nuance. If you get arrested for drug offenses in a drug-free zone, your cynical relatives would say that you should have been smart enough to hand off the drugs at a nightclub, trap house, or motel instead of a park or gas station. A criminal defense lawyer, however, will focus on solutions, such as negotiating to get your charges reduced or presenting evidence that casts doubt on the veracity of the accusations against you.
Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Drug Delivery Cases
A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of possession of drugs with intent to deliver and if you were arrested in a drug-free zone such as near a school or park. Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.