Criminal Defense Attorney - Drug Offenses
To successfully defend against criminal charges in St. Johns County you need a St. Augustine criminal defense attorney with courtroom experience. Attorney Christy Opsahl is a former prosecutor with extensive trial experience. She handles a variety of criminal offenses including misdemeanors, felonies, and juvenile delinquency.
Ms. Opsahl has experience handling cases with a variety of sentencing enhancements, such as Habitual Felony Offender (HFO), Habitual Violent Felony Offender (HVFO), Violent Career Criminals, 10-20-Life, and Prison Releasee Reoffenders (PRR).
Drug offenses can expose you to jail time if a misdemeanor or significant prison time if a felony. Drug offenses can also result in the suspension of your driving privileges in addition to court costs and fines. Most drug offenses are a result of a search and seizure and require legal analysis to ensure that your constitutional rights were upheld. A violation of your constitutional rights may require the drugs to be suppressed in court and can greatly impact the disposition of your case. The disposition that you obtain can also allow you to expunge your record at a later date, or it can hinder you from expunging your record. It is crucial to hire a local, experienced attorney to appropriately analyze and litigate your case to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
Whether you are a first time offender or have a lengthy criminal record, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the criminal court process for your individual needs. Diversion programs can result in charges being dismissed to avoid a criminal record. An attorney can negotiate a withhold of adjudication that can reduce the restriction of your constitutional rights such as voting or owning a firearm. A withhold of adjudication may also prevent a suspension of driving privileges. It is important to consult an attorney to determine if you qualify for a diversion or a withhold of adjudication.
A conviction for a drug offense can result in a wide range of penalties depending on the severity of the charge and your criminal record. The outcome can be anything from outright dismissal of charges, completion of a diversion program and dismissal of charges, fines, probation, rehabilitation, jail, or prison up to life in prison. The sufficiency of the evidence and individual facts of each case will greatly impact your disposition. It is important to hire a local attorney who knows how the individual state attorney’s office handles drug offenses to be able to adequately negotiate the outcome or effectively take the case to trial.
The criminal justice system has implemented many resources to deal with substance abuse and the impact it has on the individual as well as those affected. These can range from substance abuse counseling in a diversion program, detoxification, jail-based rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, inpatient rehabilitation, drug court programs, mental health programs, and many more. An attorney with experience in our local courts and community partnerships can help guide you to the appropriate remedy for your substance abuse struggles to better your life and obtain the best outcome for your criminal case.
There are many factors that can enhance the potential sentence of a drug offense conviction. Multiple convictions; the weight or amount of drug; and proximity to many public places such as schools, parks, or churches can increase exposure to incarceration. Each of these enhancements will require the State to prove separate and distinct evidence aside from the possession and/or sale of the drug. You should hire an experienced attorney to analyze this evidence and potentially decrease your exposure.
Sale of drugs constitutes a felony offense punishable by prison time. These are typically law enforcement initiated investigations based on information from confidential sources. Confidential sources often have criminal records that can be used to impeach their credibility. The information obtained from confidential sources can be used to initiate the investigation or the sources themselves will facilitate the sale of drugs. Confidential sources are often the State’s main witness and it is imperative to hire an attorney to determine whether the credibility of the source is so questionable that it could prove beneficial to the outcome of your case. Be sure to hire a local attorney who has experience with these types of investigations in your jurisdiction and how confidential sources are utilized by local law enforcement to ensure the best disposition for you.
Christy has experience on both sides of the law as a former prosecutor and defense attorney to guide you through the risks and rewards of plea negotiations, motion practice, and taking your case to trial. Drug offenses have unique legal and factual issues that need to be analyzed by an attorney familiar with these investigations, constitutional issues, discovery, and jury trial experience in this area of law.