The Florida legislature and court system have some of the harshest sentences and legal punishments for drug trafficking in the United States.
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.
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:
One of the primary ways that a Tampa drug trafficking defense attorney can help reduce your sentence is by negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecutor. A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor that typically involves the defendant pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. In some cases, a plea bargain may result in the charges being dropped altogether. An experienced drug trafficking defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Drug trafficking cases often involve complex legal and scientific issues, and an experienced attorney can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and challenge the admissibility of evidence in court. For example, if the police conducted an illegal search or seizure, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of that search or seizure. Without this evidence, the prosecution’s case may be weakened, and they may be more willing to negotiate a reduced sentence.
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.
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.
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.
Mitigating factors are circumstances or factors that may reduce your level of culpability or your sentence. For example, if you have no prior criminal record, your attorney can argue that you are less likely to reoffend and may be eligible for a reduced sentence. Additionally, if you have a history of drug addiction or were coerced into trafficking drugs, your attorney can argue that these circumstances should be taken into account when determining your sentence.
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.
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.