Drug trafficking is a concern throughout the entire country, but it seems to be especially prevalent in the State of Florida. Drug trafficking is one of the most serious offenses one could be convicted of in this State, as it is considered a First Degree felony with possible prison sentences of up to 30 years.
There are defenses possible for these charges, but it is crucial that accused individuals speak to a West Palm Beach drug trafficking lawyer as soon as they are aware that they are being suspected of this activity or indeed arrested and charged. A skilled drug lawyer can help them to build the best defense and get positive results.
Possession vs. Trafficking
In Florida, possession (actual or constructive) of an illegal substance is enough to warrant a possession charge, and it typically does not matter how much of the illegal substance an individual had in their possession. The substance does not need to be transported or sold to another person; a person simply has to have the illegal substance on their person (actual possession) or within an area of their dominion or control (constructive possession).
Trafficking on the other hand, is a separate issue. A charge of drug trafficking may be possible if an individual has a specific illegal substance on them, and they do have the intent or in the act of moving it, selling it, or distributing it. Typically, in order to pursue drug trafficking charges, there has to be a large amount of a specific drug and the amounts vary by weight, quantity or dosage (if pills).
The differences between simple possession of narcotics and drug trafficking can be significant in the state of Florida. In some instances, one could be considered a misdemeanor while another is considered a first-degree felony. It mostly depends on the type of drug, quantity and sometimes the packaging of same.
In instances in which an individual is being charged with or investigated for either drug trafficking offense, it is important that they speak to an experienced lawyer in West Palm Beach.
Most Common Florida Drug Trafficking Cases
In Florida, any substance that is considered to be a controlled substance under Schedule 1 through V in the Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations can be punished under Florida’s drug trafficking laws. However, the most common drugs found in Florida drug trafficking cases are:
- Cannabis (marijuana)
The type of drug or substance found in possession of the individual accused of trafficking as well as the circumstances surrounding it typically has a great impact on the penalty those found guilty are sentenced to.
Penalties for Distributing a Controlled Substance
If an individual is found guilty of drug trafficking in the state of Florida, the penalties they face vary depending on the type of drug in their possession at the time, and the amount they were carrying. Some charges have minimum mandatory prison sentences which means that if one is convicted, the Judge would have no choice but to sentence you to a fixed term in Prison.
The least possible term is three years if you are subject to this and there is no gain time or time off for good behavior. You would have to serve the entire sentence “day for day” unless a better result is negotiated for you by an experienced lawyer. The maximum fines for drug trafficking are:
- Marijuana: Maximum of 15 years in prison and $200,000 in fines
- Cocaine: Maximum of 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines
- GHB: Maximum of 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines
- Hydrocodone: Maximum of 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines
- LSD: Maximum of 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines
- Ecstasy: Maximum of 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines
In some cases, charges can be reduced for lower sentences or dismissed altogether. Individuals must speak to a West Palm Beach attorney in order to get their drug trafficking charges and sentences reduced.
Drug Trafficking Defenses
While the circumstances may seem impossible at first, there are several possible defenses to drug trafficking charges that a West Palm Beach lawyer may use. In most cases, there are four possible defenses:
- The accused has a valid prescription for the controlled substance
- Accused possessed the narcotics or controlled substances for personal use and it was never intended for distribution or sale
- Entrapment by local police or other authorities
- Fourth Amendment violations, unlawful search and seizures
Contact a West Palm Beach Drug Trafficking Attorney Today
Facing a drug trafficking charge is very serious in the state of Florida and if convicted, it can carry serious consequences that can affect your ability to earn a living and have a decent lifestyle for the remainder of your life. Criminal convictions remain on your permanent record forever.
If you or a loved one has been charged with selling and distributing a controlled substance, contact a West Palm Beach drug trafficking lawyer that can give you the best possible chance of success at beating the charges, or at the very least minimizing the consequences.