When Florida law enforcement agencies conduct drug sweeps, they're often done at random and with no warning to those caught up in them. When a drug raid occurs at a residence or place of business, it can impact everyone who happens to be on the premises.
According to a story in News4JAX, law enforcement officers in Clay County have begun conducting neighborhood walks — which have led to several drug raids within the past year.
Raids Conducted Based on Neighborhood Tips
These neighborhood walks entail going door-to-door and asking residents if anything in the neighborhood is in need of attention from law enforcement.
"We were receiving a direct impact on getting information on drug houses, drug dwellings, some narcotics investigations that we could pass along to our narcotics and street crimes unit," said one law enforcement officer involved in the walks.
Raids are carried out by a SWAT team, who enter the homes of suspected drug dealers and traffickers. Due to the impact these walks have had on law enforcement drug crackdowns, officers say they continue to receive repeat tips from residents.
How A Raid Can Result In A Conviction
Sometimes, innocent people are arrested and charged in drug sweeps — including felony drug charges, weapons charges, and charges from any other evidence found during a raid. Sometimes, these arrests are the result of inaccurate tips that lead to raids.
In many cases, innocent bystanders or those who are just associates of suspected drug dealers end up getting themselves in trouble simply by talking. Drug charges in Florida carry harsh consequences, including:
- Possession: Penalties for possession include up to 5 years incarceration, up to 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine
- Distribution and/or trafficking: Depending on the type of drug and amount, penalties for distribution or trafficking can range from 5-15 years incarceration (even up to 25 years), as well as fines ranging from $5,000 - $500,000.
- Prescription drug charges: Illegal possession of prescription drugs can result in 5 years incarceration, 5 years probation, and a $5,000 fine. Trafficking penalties include up to 30 years incarceration, up to 30 years probation, and fines of up to $10,000.
How A Defense Lawyer Can Help You
Should you be caught up in a police raid and placed under arrest, your best course of action is to refrain from answering any questions officers have. Anything you tell them can later be used to convict you. Be aware, however, that police can lie to get you to speak.
Turning a bad situation into something much worse can be avoided by consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. can do the speaking for you in court. As former prosecutors, we know exactly what to expect in the courtroom and how to help you build a strong legal defense.
Even if you were already arrested in a drug sweep, we urge you to consult with our legal team. You can do so by contacting us online, or calling our Jacksonville law office at (904) 264-6000.