Are You Guilty Of Drug Trafficking?
In early December, a West Palm Beach man was arrested and charged with one count of trafficking hydromorphone in Martin County. The man was found with 120 pills, weighing approximately 0.7 grams, which is enough to merit a trafficking charge under Florida law. However, what some do not realize – and the arrested man may be among them – is that one can be charged with trafficking even if they had no intent whatsoever to engage in that kind of behavior. If you are charged with drug trafficking in Florida, it can be an unpleasant surprise.
Severe Penalties Possible
Florida’s drug laws carry some of the stiffest penalties in the U.S., mostly because of Florida’s past involving drug cartels and a history of prescription drug abuse. Because of this, Florida law does not require intent in order to charge someone with drug trafficking – merely possessing enough of a drug will trigger the inference that you were intending to sell or traffic it, especially if it is too much of any given drug for a reasonable person to use without causing themselves serious injury.
This can sometimes come as an unpleasant shock to a person who might expect merely a possession charge, or possession with intent to sell. The amount of drugs that will trigger a trafficking charge differs depending on the nature of the substance; for example, in order to be charged with trafficking cannabis one must be found with 25 pounds or more, while one may be charged with trafficking cocaine if one has a mere 28 grams in their possession.
Each Case Is Different
There are three factors that a State’s Attorney will use in determining how to charge someone in the position of the West Palm Beach man arrested in Martin County – that is, someone who does not appear to have any connections to organized crime or any larger organization, but who nonetheless sold or transferred enough drugs to merit a trafficking charge. Those factors are the type and schedule of drug, the amount in question, and whether or not the trafficking crossed state lines.
Be advised that drug trafficking convictions in Florida carry mandatory minimum sentences, which means that if you are convicted, the judge must sentence you to a certain term – the decision is effectively taken out of their hands. While the judge may sentence you to more than the mandatory minimum, each case is different. The best approach is, as one might imagine, to avoid conviction, and enlisting an experienced attorney can help to improve your odds.
Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Crimes Attorney
While it remains to be seen what awaits the West Palm Beach man caught with hydromorphone, if you are caught with enough of a specific drug, you may face serious penalties that you did not anticipate. The West Palm Beach drug crimes attorneys from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can ensure that your rights are protected during your day in court. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.