Over 130,000 people are arrested in Florida for drug or narcotic offenses. Drug trafficking carries highly severe legal repercussions and is thus a charge of the highest priority. A person found guilty of trafficking in a controlled narcotic faces the possibility of serving an extremely lengthy jail term. Under the Florida Statutes, It is possible that a conviction for drug trafficking may well result in a fine that is in the six figures. Conviction of a drug trafficking charge is a life-changing event and should be taken very seriously.
If you’re facing a drug trafficking charge, you should reach out to an attorney for legal guidance. This article will detail the consequences of a drug trafficking charge and provide resources for legal help.
What is Drug Trafficking?
The Florida Statute, Section 893.135, states that drug trafficking is when any person knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into the state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of illegal substances.
More easily put, you can face a drug trafficking charge for possessing an illegal drug over a certain weight amount.
The Thresholds for Drug Trafficking
If you possess quantities equal to or greater than the following drugs or narcotics, you may face drug trafficking charges:
- Cannabis – 25 pounds
- LSD – 1 gram
- Heroin – 4 grams
- Fentanyl – 4 grams
- Oxycodone – 7 grams
- Ecstacy – 10 grams
- Hydrocodone – 28 grams
- Cocaine – 28 grams
- GHB – 1 kilogram
- Methaqualone – 200 grams
Drug trafficking differs from drug sales, in that the prosecution does not need to prove that there was an intention to sell. To achieve a conviction, the state has to prove that you understood that the substance was in your control (e.g person, vehicle, or home). The court must also receive confirmation that the drug seized by the state is over the weight threshold.
Drug Trafficking Penalties
Drug trafficking penalties differ depending on the type of illegal drug and the weight amount in possession. Drug trafficking is seen as a first-degree category of felony, which is a more serious offense than drug sales, or possession. Florida has enacted a mandatory minimum sentence for this offense. The mandatory minimum is at least 3 years in prison, and the fines can range from $25,000 to $500,000.
If you have a drug trafficking conviction, it is going to continue to impact your life for a long time after the sentence has been served. Your chances of obtaining a job will be severely reduced, you will lose any student aid, and it will impact where you can live in the future. If at some stage you are later convicted of another kind of offense, having a drug conviction on your record is going to result in more severe sentencing. In short, the consequences of your conviction will continue to impact your life for years.
Defenses Against a Charge of Drug Trafficking
Three potential defenses may include the following:
- If your defense attorney can prove that the search or seizure was illegal
- There is not enough evidence
- The stop from authorities was warrantless
The first of these three options may be the defense that is most likely to succeed. If the defense can prove that the police officers violated any of the procedures required for a successful stop of a motor vehicle, then evidence will not be admissible.
It is vital that you seek the services of a suitable criminal defense attorney at the earliest opportunity if facing a charge of drug trafficking.
What Should You Do If You Are Arrested?
You are not required to answer every question that an officer asks. You are perfectly entitled to refrain from speaking and ask for your lawyer. Know your rights. An officer cannot search your property unless they can demonstrate “probable cause.” It is wise to employ a lawyer that is experienced in such cases, instead of accepting a young lawyer with no experience. Apart from answering questions such as name, it is best not to say too much before your lawyer arrives.
Ensure that all evidence to support your evidence is gathered immediately, as it is not unusual for crucial evidence to get lost if left in place. It may also be prudent to have the drugs tested to ensure that they are actually what is being claimed. Remember, if convicted the penalties are usually harsh.
Choosing a Lawyer
A drug trafficking conviction is going to change your life, and you need to be sure that your lawyer has the experience and confidence to handle your case and achieve the best potential outcome.
Drug trafficking is a serious charge, and you deserve a skilled attorney by your side to defend your rights. At Hanlon Law, our attorneys are knowledgeable in drug trafficking cases. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug trafficking crime, contact our law office today.
Visit our website for more information on how a criminal defense attorney can help defend your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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Clearwater, FL 33755