Drug Trafficking Lawyer Jacksonville, FL
Florida Drug Trafficking Charges
What is Drug Trafficking? According to Florida law, drug trafficking is the illegal and intentional possession, manufacturing, delivery, transportation, sale, or purchase of illicit substances with the intention of selling or redistributing the substance. These illicit substances include marijuana, cocaine, opioids (such as heroin or fentanyl), ecstasy, LSD, methamphetamine, and more. The drug offenses vary greatly based on the substance in question, the quantity, the activities associated, and prior criminal history.
If you are charged with drug trafficking in Jacksonville, FL, you need to act quickly to secure qualified legal counsel. A conviction for drug trafficking nearly always comes with minimum mandatory prison sentences, in addition to other penalties, such as steep fines. At Monroe & King, P.A., our Jacksonville drug trafficking attorneys know what you are up against and we know how to mount a swift and solid defense aimed at protecting your rights, your freedom, and your future.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRUG TRAFFICKING & DRUG DEALING
An important issue to understand is what is the difference between drug trafficking and drug dealing and how it can apply to someone accused. One of the main differences is that drug dealing is the distribution of drugs on a small scale, while drug trafficking is the distribution of drugs on a large scale.
If someone is found dealing with a large number of drugs on them, he or she can be charged with trafficking instead of drug dealing. The police’s suspicion of how far up someone is in a drug organization can also determine how they are charged. Any drug conviction can deliver long and harsh punishments.
ABOUT FLORIDA DRUG TRAFFICKING LAWS
Intent is an important element in determining whether someone will be charged with drug trafficking or lesser crimes. If someone has a car with a custom-built hidden compartment that is found with a kilogram of cocaine, the police will be more likely to charge the individual with trafficking because the intent to move large quantities of drugs seems apparent.
The amount and type of drug in a case can also be crucial in determining with what crime you will be charged. For example, it might take 25 pounds or more of marijuana for an individual to be charged with trafficking, however, with cocaine, it might only take 28 grams for an individual to be charged with trafficking. Certain drugs have been determined to be more harmful by courts, and being accused of having those drugs can lead to substantially harsher penalties.
Florida Drug Trafficking Penalties
If the drugs in the case lead to severe injury or death of anyone, a mandatory life sentence could be applied. Second offenses usually result in double the penalty of a first offense.
For first time offenders, there can be “safety valves,” where nonviolent first-time offenders are given much less harsh sentences.
Making and moving drugs can lead to worse and different charges. For example, if it is determined someone moved drugs across state lines, the person could be charged with federal drug trafficking charges instead of just state charges.
Marijuana Trafficking Charges in Florida
In Florida, possession or distribution of more than 25 pounds of marijuana is a felony offense.
The possible penalties, if convicted, include:
For 25 to 2,000 pounds:
- 3 years in prison minimum
- $25,000 fine
For 2,000 to 10,000 pounds:
- 7 years in prison minimum
- $50,000 fine
Opioids Trafficking Charges in Florida
Fentanyl, heroin, morphine, and methamphetamine are some of the most common opioids. Possession of more than 4 grams of these substances can be considered drug trafficking.
Being convicted of trafficking opioids comes with stiff penalties, which includes:
4 to 14 grams:
- 3 years in prison minimum
- $50,000 fine
14 to 28 grams:
- 7 years in prison minimum
- $100,000 fine
28 grams to 38 kilograms:
- 15 years in prison minimum
- $500,000 fine
FLORIDA DRUG TRAFFICKING CASEs: What to Expect
Understanding penalties for drug trafficking is generally one of the highest priorities for someone facing an accusation. Drug trafficking convictions generally result in prison time and can result in sentences of 10 years or more. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a life sentence is a possibility for a drug trafficking case.
Plea bargains can sometimes result in just probation, but usually, in connection with a plea, the charge of drug trafficking is changed to a less serious charge.
If someone is sentenced to probation, he or she can be subject to the following:
- Random drug tests
- Monitoring by a probation officer
- Not being able to leave the state without the approval of his or her probation officer
- Probation lasts generally between 1 to 3 years
If someone receives the charge of drug trafficking, in many cases, there is a mandatory minimum sentence. A person cannot be released on parole until the mandatory minimum sentence has been completed. For example, if someone is sentenced to ten years, and there is a five-year mandatory minimum, there would be absolutely no way to be paroled before five years.
Florida Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Florida has introduced harsh penalties for those convicted of drug trafficking. One of these penalties is a minimum mandatory prison sentence as mentioned above. This sentence varies, depending on the type and amount of drug allegedly being trafficked but, in nearly every case, it is no less than three years in state prison.
Common Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Trafficking in FL
- 3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines for trafficking 25 pounds or more of marijuana or 300 or more plants
- 3 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines for trafficking 28 to 199 grams of cocaine, 14 to 27 grams of amphetamine, 1 to 4 grams of LSD, or 4 to 13 grams of oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, or opium
- 7 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines for trafficking 2,000 or more pounds of marijuana or 2,000 or more plants
- 7 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines for trafficking 200 to 399 grams of cocaine, 28 to 199 grams of amphetamine, or 5 to 6 grams of LSD
- 15 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines for trafficking 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana or 10,000 or more plants
- 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for trafficking 400 grams to 149 kilograms of cocaine
- 25 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines for trafficking 28 to 29 grams of oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, or opium
This list is not exhaustive; other amounts of the above-mentioned substances, as well as the trafficking of other types of illicit substances, will result in different (and, in some cases, longer) mandatory minimum prison sentences and fines.
Insufficient Evidence for Drug Trafficking in FL
The best defense claim to a drug trafficking case is to claim that the evidence the state has against you is insufficient. Florida has a burden of proof in every drug trafficking case, meaning the prosecutor has to prove that you trafficked drugs beyond a reasonable doubt.
A Jacksonville drug trafficking attorney knows how to explore and exploit elements of the case to spin the crime in a way that the state cannot prove your guilt.
The result? You may end up with a much shorter sentence, or the case dropped altogether.
Begin Building Your Defense Now!
Because the state of Florida takes drug trafficking charges so seriously, a conviction—or even a guilty plea—could land you in prison for years or even the remainder of your life. We cannot stress enough how important it is that you contact our firm as soon as possible to discuss your situation with our Jacksonville drug trafficking attorneys.
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