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The Misperception of Drug Trafficking Laws

We are all aware of the way drug trafficking crimes are depicted on the silver screen. Movies like Scarface and Blow may be entertaining, but hardly portray a realistic perspective for the great majority of people that are charged with the crime of drug trafficking. There are a lot of common misperceptions about how a person is charged with the crime. In the following article, we will cover the basic requirements the authorities need for a person to be charged. If you are in need of a drug trafficking defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact us today.

Federal Law’s Definition of Drug Trafficking

In the federal legal context, a drug trafficking crime is defined as “an offense under federal, state, or local law that prohibits the manufacture, import, export, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit substance) or the possession of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit substance) with intent to manufacture, import, export, distribute, or dispense.” Although the perception is that these laws are designed to prevent drug trafficking activities involving the transportation of large amounts of controlled substances into the state, in reality, you do not need to be selling or transporting an illegal drug to be charged. In other words, you don’t need to be Tony Montana or Pablo Escobar to be considered a drug trafficker. You could simply have too much of a controlled substance in your possession to be classified as for “personal use” which is considered “intent to distribute.”

The Weight of the Drug

It’s important for civilians to understand that any drug trafficking charge results in a mandatory prison sentence. If any assets (home, vehicle, cash) are believed to be associated with the crime, a government seizure may be performed as well. Penalties for drug trafficking charges are dependent on the amount (by weight) of the controlled substance in possession. With a minimum 3 year incarceration and $50,000 fine, the possession of any of these illegal drugs and their weight may result in imprisonment. Of course, if the amount exceeds this weight, the prison sentence can be increased accordingly as well.

  • Marijuana: 25 pounds or 300 or more cannabis plants
  • Cocaine: 28 grams
  • Hydrocodone: 14 grams
  • MDMA: 10 grams
  • Oxycodone: 7 grams
  • Heroin: 4 grams
  • LSD: 1 gram

For a free consultation with an experienced drug trafficking defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 712-8736 or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.