While states across the country have started to implement a more reasonable system for punishing those convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, Florida is a bit behind the times.
This is especially the case when it comes to those convicted of a Florida Drug trafficking offense.
Florida Drug Trafficking Laws
When people think of the charge of “drug trafficking”, they often envision scenes out of “Miami Vice” or “Scarface”, with car trunks full of drugs and suitcases full of cash. But the reality of drug trafficking charges in Florida is much different.
In Florida, depending on other factors, there are several drug offenses prosecutors can bring. For example, under Florida Statutes Section 893.153, a typical trafficking charge simply means that the defendant possessed an illegal drug over a certain amount or weight.
In large part, the specific charge you face depends on the amount of substance the government claims you possessed. If police witness you selling drugs, prosecutors can charge you with drug sales and drug trafficking.
The more drugs prosecutors claim you had, the more serious the offense. However, to convict you of drug trafficking, the government must show:
- You had actual possession or constructive possession of the substance (in other words, you had knowledge and control);
- The substance was controlled under state law; and
- The substance weighed over a certain threshold amount.
Under state law, each drug has its own threshold amount. For example, possession of more than 25 pounds of marijuana constitutes a drug trafficking offense. However, for some drugs, the amount required to be considered trafficking is as little as half an ounce.
In any case, if you possess over that drug’s trafficking amount, prosecutors can ask the jury to infer that your possession constitutes drug trafficking, even if there was no evidence you sold the drugs.
Most drug trafficking charges involve the following drugs:
- Crack cocaine,
- Oxycodone or hydrocodone, and
- Other prescription drugs, including Xanax.
If you face drug trafficking charges, a conviction could result in serious penalties that will jeopardize every aspect of your life.
Florida Drug Punishments
In Florida, drug trafficking charges carry minimum mandatory prison sentences and major fines.
A minimum mandatory sentence is one a judge must give you if you are convicted of that charge. The lowest minimum mandatory sentence for drug trafficking in Florida is three years, but they can go much higher.
In some cases, a conviction will result in a life sentence. However, that is only the situation in the most serious cases.
For example, possessing more than 28 grams of cocaine carries a minimum term of three years in jail and a fine of $50,000. If the quantity exceeds 200 grams, the punishment is a minimum of seven years in jail and a fine of $100,000.
In the most serious cases involving possession of more than 150 kilograms, the punishment is life in prison.
While Florida drug trafficking laws are exceptionally harsh, you are not guilty based on the fact that you were arrested. The government must prove you guilty, if it can, before you can be convicted.
An experienced Florida drug defense lawyer can help those facing drug charges understand the possible defenses, and which may apply best in their specific situation.
Consult with an Experienced Florida Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Today
If the government is bringing drug trafficking charges against you, you need an attorney who is prepared to meet the government’s allegations head-on.
At Orlando Defense, Attorney Jeffery Higgins aggressively defends the rights of clients facing all types of drug crimes.
For more than 22 years, Attorney Higgins has earned a reputation as a zealous advocate who stands up for the rights of his clients at every stage of the process.
Whether he is cross-examining police officers about the legality of your arrest or arguing your case in front of a jury, Attorney Higgins has what it takes to beat even the most challenging drug cases.
To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, contact Orlando Defense at 407-753-1126 today. You can also contact us through our online form.