Will my husband have to take the mandatory sentence for trafficking of cocaine in Florida if his motion to suppress gets denied?
My husband is fighting a trafficking cocaine charge in Hollywood, Florida and his criminal defense lawyer is telling him that if the motion to suppress gets denied that he will have no choice but to take the three year minimum mandatory sentence for criminal drug trafficking charges.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The motion to suppress is an evidentiary hearing. It is not trial, however, if the motion is ""dispositive"" it typically means that if the motion to suppress is not granted, there is no real issue in the case.
That doesn't mean he will be sentenced that day, unless he pleads guilty to the court. He may have reasons to divert from a minimum mandatory sentence through a downward departure motion.
If the facts of your husband's case are aggravating, or if he has a significant prior record, the State may be seeking more than the 3-year minimum mandatory. In fact, on a trafficking charge, the State can ask for anywhere between 3 and 30 years. Perhaps his attorney is advising him to plea to the 3-year minimum mandatory because your husband is facing a more severe prison sentence if he continues to litigate the case.
Criminal Defense Attorney
No, during the criminal court procedure your husband wouldn't be automatically sentenced if his motion to suppress the criminal cocaine trafficking charges was denied.
Your husband would have to be convicted of the drug charges in order to be sentenced and that wouldn't normally happen at a motion to suppress hearing. What this does mean is that there is a 3 year minimum mandatory which means the judge has no choice but to give him AT LEAST the three years of prison.
The State is unlikely to agree to a lower sentence after doing the suppression hearing and winning. But your husband still has a right to a trial and is presumed innocent. He could be found not guilty by a jury and therefore would not be sentenced to anything. However, your husband must review the evidence and strategies with his lawyer so he can make an informed decision about whether to take a plea or to go to trial.
This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.
A motion to suppress is a hearing to determine the admissibility of evidence at an upcoming trial. Therefore, there is no finding of guilt at the conclusion of the hearing. The grant or denial of the motion to suppress will, of course, effect the posture of the case. If it is granted, the state may very well have a more difficult time proceeding with the prosecution. If it is denied, the evidence will be admissible against your husband.
There are numerous activities which will occur between the determination of the motion to suppress and any sentencing hearing.
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