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Drug dealers arrested in broward county

April 06, 2010

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During a county wide sting, the Broward Sheriff's Office in conjunction with other local law enforcement officers arrested dozens of suspected drug dealers and other offenders. Law enforcement authorities made 170 arrests for cocaine possession, cocaine possession with intent to sell, marijuana possession, marijuana possession with intent to sell, oxycodone possession, prostitution and a variety of firearm charges. The arrests came as result of what the authorities dubbed "Operation April Fool's". The police confiscated dozens of firearms, hundreds of pounds of marijuana, hundreds of grams of cocaine and pills including oxycodone and Vicodin. The majority of those arrested will be represented by criminal defense lawyers from the Broward County Public Defender's Office.

Those arrested face a wide variety of sentences if they enter pleas or are convicted after a jury trial. The Broward State Attorney's Office will inevitably extend plea offers to all of the defendants. The plea offer will be determined based on a number of factors including the charge, a person's prior criminal history, the location of the drug transaction and whether or not a defendant qualifies for an enhanced sentence. The State of Florida has promulgated sentencing guidelines based on a point system. The more severe the charge, the more points will be assigned to the offense. For example, felony marijuana possession is a level 1 offense, while cocaine possession with intent to sell within a 1,000 feet of school is a level 7 offense that carries with it a mandatory state prison sentence. Additionally, cocaine sale or cocaine possession with intent also carries a three year mandatory minimum sentence if the offense occurred within a 1,000 feet of a school.

Not only do the points for the current offense get scored under the Florida guidelines, but additional points are added for prior offenses even if an adjudication was withheld. Simply put a person with a cocaine possession charge with nor prior record will receive a much better plea offer than a person arrested for the same charge, but has prior felony convictions. The points assigned to the prior offenses are also based on the severity of the charge. The prosecutors use div score sheets to compile a defendant's guidelines. Always remember that first time offenders will always receive better plea offers than others with an extensive criminal history.

While a past arrest record can lead to an accumulation of points, a past criminal record may cause the prosecution to seek enhanced penalties under the career criminal laws. There are several categories of career criminal statutes which can double a persons sentence and add hefty minimum mandatory sentences. Examples of the various career criminal statutes are habitual offenders, habitual violent offender, violent career criminals (GORTs) and prison releasee re-offenders. Minimum mandatory sentences apply to the last two categories. Individuals can qualify as a career criminal based on two criteria, a person's past criminal history and the dates on which the previous offenses were committed. Always remember, that just because the prosecution claims a defendant to be a career criminal, they must prove it to a judge using the individuals prior certified judgements and sentences.

Suspected Drug Pushers Arrested Throughout Broward,, April 2, 2010.
Categories: Sentencing
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