In Florida, it is illegal for people to possess controlled substances other than those prescribed by a doctor. Additionally, it is unlawful to sell or distribute such drugs, and people caught with a certain quantity of illicit substances may be charged with drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is a serious crime that carries substantial penalties, and it is critical for people charged with such offenses to understand their rights. If you are accused of drug trafficking, it is in your best interest to meet with a Sarasota criminal defense attorney to evaluate your options for seeking a just result.
What is Drug Trafficking?
Under Florida Statute 893.135, it is unlawful to knowingly purchase, manufacture, sell, deliver, or bring in to the state or to knowingly possess certain amounts of controlled substances and constitutes drug trafficking. The amount varies depending on the drug in question. For example, a person who is caught with more than 25 pounds of cannabis or 300 or more cannabis plants may be charged with trafficking in cannabis, which is a felony of the first degree.
Similarly, a person who possesses 28 grams or more of cocaine may be charged with trafficking in cocaine. People may also be charged with drug trafficking for possessing a certain amount of morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, opium, hydrocodone, or any salt, isomer, derivative, or salt of an isomer of such a substance, including heroin and many other drugs. In addition to state charges, people accused of drug trafficking are also frequently charged with federal offenses.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Trafficking?
Some drug trafficking crimes are punishable by up to life imprisonment, and mandatory sentences will be imposed in certain cases. Generally, sentences are imposed according to the amount of the drug in the defendant’s possession. Mandatory sentences are typically 3, 7, or 15 years imprisonment, with each increase in jail time corresponding to an increase in the amount of drugs a person was convicted of trafficking. People convicted of drug trafficking may also face substantial fines.
What are Defenses to Drug Trafficking Offenses?
In some instances, a person charged with drug trafficking may be able to argue that the investigation or arrest that led to the charges constituted an illegal search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore, the evidence obtained during the process should be precluded. Additionally, the prosecution is required to prove the defendant acted intentionally or knowingly. Thus, if the prosecution is unable to establish that the defendant possessed the required state of mind at the time the offense was committed, the defendant should be found not guilty.
Speak to an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
A conviction for drug trafficking can result in jail time, fines, and lifelong harm to a person’s reputation and rights. If you are faced with drug trafficking charges, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about your possible defenses. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is an experienced Sarasota drug crime defense lawyer and if you engage his services, he will work tirelessly to help you fight for a favorable result. You can reach Mr. Hanlon via the form online or at 941-462-1789 to schedule a meeting.