In Florida, possessing a controlled substance with the intention to deliver, manufacture or sell accrues a felony charge. The penalties come with a minimum mandatory sentence in addition to other dire consequences.
Definition of drug trafficking according to Florida laws
Under Florida Statutes Section 893.13(1)(a), drug trafficking occurs when a person knowingly manufactures, sells, purchases, delivers or brings a controlled substance into the state. It also includes knowingly in actual or constructive possession of a specified amount of a controlled substance. Further, the term “drug trafficking” can extend to financing or facilitating the manufacture, sale or delivery of drugs in Florida.
A “controlled substance” explained
The Sunshine State categorizes drugs based on their potential for abuse and accepted medical use. The most dangerous category, Schedule I drugs, has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses, for example, heroin, LSD and peyote. In contrast, Schedule II substances have some accepted medical benefits but also have a high potential for abuse that may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence—for example, morphine, amphetamines, methadone and cocaine.
Punishments for drug trafficking in Florida
The penalties for drug charges involving trafficking in Florida are harsh and depend on the type and amount of controlled substance involved in the offense as well as the offender’s prior criminal history. For instance, if convicted of trafficking 28 grams or more of cocaine but less than 200 grams, the court may sentence you to a minimum mandatory term of imprisonment of three years up to a maximum of 30 years plus a fine of up to $50,000. If the amount of cocaine involved in the offense is 200 grams or more, the minimum mandatory term of imprisonment jumps to 7-15 years, with a maximum sentence of 40 years and a fine ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.
When it comes to heroin, trafficking four grams or more but less than 14 grams carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years up to a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $50,000. Any amount above that can lead to fines of up to $250,000 and a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Beyond those penalties, a drug trafficking charge in Florida remains on the offender’s record forever. Therefore, it’s always important to look at some of the defenses you could use to avoid such harsh convictions.