Florida imposes severe consequences on individuals who the state convicts of possession, distribution, and trafficking. In this article, we will familiarize you with Florida cocaine laws; penalties for possessing, distributing and trafficking cocaine; and possible defenses to the charges you face.
First Things First – Get Legal Help
Facing cocaine-related charges is undoubtedly a frightening experience. Let the drug charge defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel in St. Petersburg help you build your defense. We will be with you every step of the way, educating you on the laws as they apply to your case and what options you have available.
Give us a call as soon as you can so we can begin working on your case: 727-828-3900.
How does Florida classify cocaine?
Florida law classifies drugs by schedule according to each drug’s potential for abuse and accepted medical uses. These schedules range from Schedule I (most dangerous) to Schedule V (least dangerous). Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse with no accepted medical use, while Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse and widely accepted medical use.
Florida Statute § 893.03 classifies cocaine as a Schedule II drug, only one level below the most restricted drug types. This means the state views cocaine as having a high potential for abuse with severely restricted medical uses and benefits. Given this classification, Florida law punishes cocaine-related crimes very severely, laid out in detail below.
What are the penalties for cocaine possession?
Possession is just what it sounds like: an officer found cocaine on you and determined that you were in control of it. Actual possession means that the drugs were on your person. Constructive possession means the drug was not on your person, but you knew of it and it was within your control.
At a minimum, according to Florida Statute § 322.055, any person who the state convicts for possession of cocaine will lose his license for one year.
Charges for cocaine possession vary depending on the amount in the person’s possession. Possession of less than 28 grams is a third-degree felony. [Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(a)]
If the state convicts you of cocaine possession, you can receive a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
What are the penalties for cocaine distribution and trafficking?
Possession of less than 28 grams of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver is a second-degree felony. [Florida Statute 893.13(1)(a)] It is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the amount in your possession is 28 grams or more, then you face drug trafficking charges, a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. But defendants face mandatory minimum fines in these cases. [Florida Statute 893.135(1)(b)]
- At least 28 but less than 200 grams: Mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years and a fine of $50,000.
- At least 200 but less than 400 grams: Mandatory minimum prison sentence of 7 years and a fine of $100,000.
- At least 400 grams but less than 150 kilograms: Mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years and a fine of $250,000.
- 150 kilograms or more: Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Cocaine Possession or Sale Near Certain Places
If the offense took place within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, place of worship, or public housing, the defendant faces first-degree felony charges, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. In the case of a school, park or community center, it brings a minimum sentence of three years. [Florida Statute 893.13(1)(c), (d), (e)]
What are possible defenses I may be able to use against cocaine charges?
As is evident from the information described above, each case is unique. To analyze viable defenses, schedule a consultation with Goldman Wetzel in St. Petersburg.
Based on the facts of your case, we can determine if any of the following defenses apply to your situation:
- Illegal search and seizure
- Lack of knowledge
- Overdose defense, i.e., if you are assisting someone who needs medical help, or you yourself need medical help, after an overdose, officers cannot use anything they found on you at the time as evidence. [Florida Statute 893.21]
- Unlawful canine search
- Improper search warrants
- Absence of a warrant
Secure representation from Goldman Wetzel in St. Petersburg as soon as possible so we can get started on your case and protect your rights. Contact us today at 727-828-3900.