Florida Court Throws Out Conspiracy Conviction

“Innocent until proven guilty” is one of the foundations of our criminal justice system. It is not just an expression, but a requirement that the state have enough evidence against defendants to sufficiently prove whatever is alleged. Therefore, in order to convict someone for a crime, the state must prove all of the elements of the crime. If there is not sufficient evidence of one or more elements of the crime then the charge (or conviction if it’s an appeal) should be thrown out. In a case heard by the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal, a defendant’s conviction for conspiracy was thrown out after the appeals court held that there was not sufficient evidence as to one of the elements of the crime. A skilled Tampa drug crimes defense attorney may be able to help you to get charges thrown out if the state does not meet their burden of proof as to all the elements of the crime.

Conspiracy in Florida

In order to prove that a conspiracy has been committed, Florida law requires the state to show that there was an agreement to commit an offense. In this instance, the state presented evidence to show that the defendant’s boyfriend met with a criminal informant to sell him cocaine. He had apparently sold small amounts of the drug to the informant in the past, but this time was planning to sell a larger amount. They planned to meet in the parking lot of a shopping center. The defendant testified that her boyfriend came to her house and asked her to drive him to the store in his car.

The state showed that the defendant drove her boyfriend to meet with the criminal informant, and while the transaction was taking place she remained in her vehicle and surveilled the parking area. There was cocaine in the vehicle with her, but it was in a bag on her boyfriend’s side of the car and the state did not present any evidence that the defendant was aware of it. The police found the cocaine when they searched the vehicle, along with money and other property that belonged to the boyfriend. They also found the defendant’s purse which did not have any illegal substances or other contraband in it.

For a conspiracy charge to stick, the state had the burden of showing that the defendant and her boyfriend had some kind of prior agreement to sell the drugs. The appeals court here held that the state did not proffer any evidence to show this element of the charge. Specifically, the court said “without the presence of an agreement, there can be no conspiracy.” Thus, the conspiracy charge against the defendant was thrown out since there was no proof an agreement between her and her boyfriend.

Contact A Knowledgeable Tampa Drug Crime Defense Attorney Today

Our criminal justice system is set up to place the burden on the prosecution to prove all of the elements of a crime. If you are charged with a drug crime you should contact an experienced Tampa drug crime defense attorney as soon as possible. They can help defend you against the charges and point out any areas where the state does not have sufficient evidence against you and potentially help you get the charges dismissed. You can contact Hanlon Law’s offices online or call us at (727) 897-5413 to speak with our experienced attorneys about your case.

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