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Drug & Traffic Charges"

Drug Charges

Florida law often imposes severe penalties for drug crime convictions, even in cases involving amounts only for personal use. These penalties include jail or prison, probation, house arrest, loss of driver’s license, and forfeiture of money and other assets. It is imperative that you retain an experienced lawyer to defend your drug crime case. Drug Crimes cases can be defended in many ways depending on the particular circumstances of your case. These include challenging the possession itself where the drugs are found in a car or home that does not belong to you, challenging the probable cause for the stop, challenging the legality of the search, the amount of the drugs, and other defenses. In some situations, a drug defense attorney will work with you and the prosecutors to avoid jail or prison sentences, with probation, drug counseling and treatment as alternatives. You may also qualify for a diversion program ,which could result in the charges being dismissed upon successful completion.

Possession

Pursuant to Florida Statute 893.13 it is unlawful for any person to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription. Florida Statute 893.03 lists the hundreds of drugs that are considered “controlled substances.” Drug Possession, other than marijuana, is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison and five years of probation. Marijuana possession is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and one year of probation. The amount of the drugs can have a major impact of the charge, however. Larger amounts can lead to charges of Possession with Intent to Sell or Trafficking. Drug Possession charges cases can be defended in many ways depending on the particular circumstances of your case. These include challenging the possession itself where the drugs are found in a car or home that does not belong to you, challenging the probable cause for the stop, challenging the legality of the search, the amount of the drugs, and other defenses. In some situations, a drug defense lawyer will work with you and the prosecutors to avoid jail or prison sentences, with probation, drug counseling and treatment as alternatives. You may also qualify for a diversion program ,which could result in the charges being dismissed upon successful completion.

Sale

Pursuant to Florida Statute 893.13 it is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance. Florida Statute 893.03 lists the hundreds of drugs that are considered “controlled substances.”

Drug sale charges, or possession with intent to sell charges, change in degree depending on the type of drug. Drug sales, or possession with intent to sell, of Schedule I drugs, including Heroin, and Schedule II drugs, including Opium, Cocaine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Morphine, Methamphetamines, and Methadone are second degree felonies, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. The amount of the drugs can have a major impact of the charge, however. Larger amounts can lead to charges of Drug Trafficking.

Drug Sale and Possession with Intent to Sell charges cases can be defended in many ways depending on the particular circumstances of your case. In many cases an undercover officer allegedly made the transaction weeks before the arrest, in which case the officer’s ability to provide proper identity can be challenged. In other cases, the use of confidential informants can be challenged. In some situations, a drug defense attorney will work with you and the prosecutors to avoid jail or prison sentences, with probation, drug counseling and treatment as alternatives.

Trafficking

Florida Statute 893.135 provides the guidelines on Drug Trafficking Charges. Trafficking includes knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering, or bringing into this state, or knowingly possessing the drugs. Trafficking does not require selling the drugs. In some cases, possession of just a handful of pills could lead to a Drug Trafficking charge. Some common Drug Trafficking charge examples are:

Cocaine

  • 28 grams to 200 grams: 3 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $50,000 fine
  • 200 grams to 400 grams: 7 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams or more: 15 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $250,000 fine

Morphine, Hydrocodone, Opium, Heroin, Oxycodone

  • 4 grams to 14 grams: 3 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $50,000 fine
  • 14 grams to 28 grams: 7 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams to 30 kgs: 15 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $250,000 fine

Methamphetamines

  • 14 grams to 28 grams: 3 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $50,000 fine
  • 28 grams to 200 grams: 7 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more: 15 years minimum prison – up to 30 years, $250,000 fine

Trafficking of other drugs leads to similar penalties. Additionally, larger amounts can lead to more severe penalties including life in prison without possibility of release, or even the death penalty.

Drug Trafficking charges cases can be defended in many ways depending on the particular circumstances of your case. In some prescription pill cases, you may have a valid prescription. In many cases an undercover officer allegedly made the transaction weeks before the arrest, in which case the officer’s ability to provide proper identity can be challenged. In other cases, the use of confidential informants can be challenged. In some situations, a drug defense attorney will work with you and the prosecutors to avoid the required prison sentences through substantial assistance programs.