In Florida, there are different types of drug-related offenses and drug trafficking is the most serious of all. In order to fight drugs, the state harshly prosecutes drug traffickers. Thus, this offense carries severe penalties if the offender is found guilty. Due to the severity of these charges, it is important to understand what drug trafficking is in Florida.
In Florida, drug trafficking is the intentional sale, importation, manufacture, delivery, purchase or possession of a controlled substance. Drug trafficking offenses apply if the drug quantity involved exceeds its statutory limits. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Since it is considered a very serious offense, a drug trafficking charge can result in expensive fines, long imprisonment sentences, and losses of civil rights. Drug crimes may seem very similar if you are not familiar with the law. For that reason, below there is more information that will help you understand what a drug trafficking offense as well as its penalties.
What Constitutes Drug Trafficking in Florida?
In Florida, drug trafficking does not necessarily imply a large-scale operation that sells or manufactures a controlled substance. In fact, according to the Florida Statute § 893.135,
if a person is knowingly selling, importing, delivering, manufacturing, or possessing an excessive amount of drug, he or she could be charged with drug trafficking.
In other words, a drug possession offense can escalate to drug trafficking if the amount of the drug involved significantly exceeds certain thresholds. Additionally, drug trafficking is not limited to drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or marijuana, it also includes controlled substances that require a prescription.
Below there are examples of thresholds for some common drugs. If a person in Florida surpasses any of these amounts, he or she can be charged with drug trafficking:
- Cannabis: 25 pounds or 300 plants
- Cocaine: 28 grams
- Fentanyl: 4 grams
- Heroin: 4 grams
- Hydrocodone: 14 grams
- LSD: 1 gram
- MDMA: 10 grams
- Methamphetamine: 14 grams
If you have been accused of drug trafficking in Florida, you can face a mandatory minimum sentence. Due to the severity of these offenses, you should retain the help of an experienced criminal attorney. Speak to the Tampa drug trafficking attorneys at Goldman Wetzel.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Florida
In Florida, drug trafficking is classified as a first-degree felony and it is punishable up to 30 years of imprisonment. Unlike other drug-related offenses, drug trafficking carries a mandatory minimum sentence which will vary depending both on the type and the quantity of drug involved.
If the judge finds the defendant guilty of drug trafficking, she or he will face a mandatory minimum sentence which is applied no matter what the unique circumstances of the offense or the offender are. So, if a first-time offender is found guilty of drug trafficking, there is no chance to reduce the penalties imposed in the mandatory minimum sentence.
In Florida, the mandatory minimum sentence is determined by the amount and the type of controlled substance involved in the crime. According to the Florida Statute § 893.135, some common mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking include:
|25 to 2,000 pounds or 300 plants (or more)||3 years||$25,000|
|2,000 to 10,000 pounds or 2,000 plants (or more)||7 years||$50,000|
|More than 10,000 pounds or plants||15 years||$250,000|
|4 gr to 14 gr||3 years||$50,000|
|14 gr to 28 grm||15 years||$100,000|
|28 gr to 30 kilograms||25 years||$500,000|
|More than 30 kilograms||Life imprisonment||$500,000|
|28 gr to 200 gr||3 years||$50,000|
|200 gr to 400 gr||7 years||$100,000|
|400 gr to 150 kilograms||15 years||$250,000|
|14 gr to 28 gr||3 years||$50,000|
|28 gr to 200 gr||7 years||$100,000|
|More than 200 gr||15 years||$250,000|
|14 gr to 28 gr||3 years||$50,000|
|28 gr to 50 gr||7 years||$100,000|
|50 gr to 200 gr||15 years||$500,000|
|200 gr to 30 kilograms||25 years||$750,000|
In addition to these penalties, if you are convicted for drug trafficking, you will also lose your professional and driver’s license, you will not be allowed to vote or own a gun, and your properties and assets may be forfeited. Additionally, if the offense is charged as a federal crime, penalties will be harsher.
Drug trafficking is an offense with severe consequences if you are found guilty. In order to prepare a strong defense, you need to enlist the help of a criminal lawyer that has experience dealing with drug-related crimes. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers.
How to Beat Drug Trafficking Charges in Florida
Although most people assume that drug trafficking implies a big operation, in Florida, if a person possesses a large amount of controlled substance can face a drug trafficking charge. Given that the punishments for this offense are more severe than other drug crimes, the alleged offender needs to build a strong defense.
When it comes to drug trafficking offenses, there are different defenses that our drug attorneys in Florida can use. Some of them include:
- Entrapment: in some drug cases, law enforcement officers might have induced or coerced a person to engage in illegal activity (for example, buying or selling drugs). If defendants were victims of entrapment, their lawyer may be able to use it as a strong and effective defense.
- Illegal search and seizure: the Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus, any evidence collected in an unlawful search and seizure will be excluded in a trial.
- Lack of evidence: for a person to be convicted for drug trafficking in Florida, the prosecutor must provide compelling evidence that proves that the person knew about the controlled substance and that the drug weighed more than the possession thresholds. If the evidence is not compelling or insufficient, your drug crime attorney will use this for your defense.
A strong defense depends on the different circumstances of each case. If you want to explore your legal options, contact our drug trafficking lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Contact a Drug Attorney in Florida
If convicted for drug trafficking, an offender will face a mandatory minimum sentence that includes imprisonment and fines. This sentence is applied regardless if the crime was committed by a first-time offender.
Goldman Wetzel is a Florida criminal defense law firm that represents clients facing charges for drug crimes and other offenses in Tampa, Pinellas County, Bradenton, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Hillsborough County.
If you have been accused of drug trafficking in Florida, retain legal representation as soon as possible. Speak to the drug attorneys from Goldman Wetzel to know what the best strategies for your case are. Contact us via email form or call us at (727) 828-3900 to book a free no-obligation consultation.