Most people associate drug trafficking with drug lords and kingpins. However, in Florida, drug trafficking charges are based on the weight of the controlled substance involved, instead of a person’s drug world connections. You could be charged with drug trafficking if you simply possessed the requisite amount of a mixture containing a prohibited drug, even if you were not selling it or using it to manufacture other drugs. Moreover, you could be sentenced to a significant mandatory minimum sentence. At Hanlon Law, Clearwater drug trafficking lawyer Will Hanlon fights for the rights of people accused of trafficking in substances such as cocaine, meth, heroin, and others.Fighting a Drug Trafficking Charge
Judges are required to impose the applicable mandatory minimum sentence if you are convicted of drug trafficking in Florida. They can impose more than the mandatory minimum, but unlike with other drug crimes, they cannot depart downward from the mandatory minimum except in an extremely narrow set of circumstances. In other words, even if you are a straight A college student who works for nonprofits in the summer and has no criminal record, if you are caught with the requisite amount of a controlled substance like GHB or LSD, you can face years in prison and substantial fines.
Each controlled substance has a minimum threshold weight for drug trafficking charges under Florida Statutes section 893.135. A drug trafficking attorney can explain to Clearwater residents which level of charge they may face. For instance, if the prosecutor can show beyond a reasonable doubt that you: (1) knowingly (2) brought into Florida, sold, delivered, made, or were in actual or constructive possession of (3) at least 28 grams of cocaine or a cocaine-containing mixture, but less than 150 kg. of cocaine, she can secure a first-degree cocaine trafficking conviction. If the charge involves 28-200 grams of cocaine, you will be sentenced to at least a mandatory minimum prison term of 3 years, and you will be ordered to pay $50,000. If the charge involves 200-400 grams of cocaine, you will be sentenced to at least a mandatory minimum prison term of 7 years and ordered to pay $100,000. If the charge involves 400 grams-150 kg of cocaine, you shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 calendar years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
There are also mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking in other controlled substances, including methaqualone, phenylethylalamine, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, phencyclidine, methamphetamine, flunitrazepam, amphetamine, 1,4-Butanediol, acid, and cannabis. The more that you have of a particular substance, the higher that the mandatory minimum sentence is likely to be and the more important it is to retain a Clearwater drug trafficking attorney immediately.
It can be distressing to be investigated for or accused of drug trafficking. The earlier that we get involved, the sooner that we can formulate a strong defense strategy. In some cases, a Clearwater criminal attorney can tell the prosecutor your side of what happened to prevent trafficking charges from being brought or to cause a reduction of the charges. In other drug crime cases, the judge has discretion over the sentence imposed, so getting the charges reduced from trafficking to simple possession or sale can make a difference.
In other cases, there may be a basis to file a motion to suppress evidence. For example, if the police did not follow the law in connection with safeguarding your Fourth Amendment rights, and the drugs at issue were illegally seized, it should be possible to get the illegally obtained evidence suppressed. Without that evidence, the prosecutor may not be able to prove trafficking beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, it may be possible to challenge the weight of the substance to get the charges reduced by arguing that the weight was not correct, given hydration.Retain an Aggressive Drug Trafficking Lawyer in Clearwater
Drug trafficking charges can result in harsh sentences, including years in prison and an enormous fine. There are also social consequences associated with spending time in prison and having a serious drug crime on your record. The loss of your reputation and stigma can make it hard to secure a job, housing, financial aid for school, and professional licenses. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has dedicated himself to protecting the rights of the accused since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form.