Florida has a real problem with drugs presently, but it doesn’t just come down to the availability of drugs themselves. One of the issues is that drug enforcement is actually racist. Looking at a report from 2015, it shows that there is prejudice in the justice system, leading to Black individuals being sentenced with more severe penalties than whites who commit the same crimes or those with similar factors.
While this may not be surprising, it does point out the importance of working with an attorney. Bias, especially racial bias, can hurt your case and result in penalties you don’t deserve. A good attorney fights back against those biases, so you have a better chance of being treated fairly.
When people talk about a war on drugs, often that war involves more racial tensions than expected. Black individuals spend more time in prison than white people, even though they committed the same or lesser crimes. Interestingly, Black individuals were more likely to commit crimes in “drug-free” zones, which means they faced enhanced penalties. Why? Part of that comes down to where the Black communities tend to be. Many are in “drug-free” zones, which means that individuals are more likely to face penalties that are enhanced than if they were in white neighborhoods.
More important to understand is the extreme differences in racial bias. In Florida, 83 percent of those who died from opioid overdoses were white, yet it’s Black people facing the heaviest penalties.
As someone facing charges, you need to know your rights. Don’t let bias hurt you; your attorney can help.
Source: ACLU, “In Florida, the Racist War on Drugs Rages on,” Ezekiel Edwards, Dec. 15, 2017