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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Drug Possession vs Drug Trafficking Charges In Florida

Drug Possession vs Drug Trafficking Charges In Florida


Florida is notorious for having some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. This is true for a variety of reasons, but most notably due to its history – it was a cartel playground for many years, and even after that activity was brought down, its legacy of drug addiction and abuse has remained. That said, it can be an unpleasant surprise to someone in Florida caught with drugs – in some circumstances, one may be charged with drug trafficking even if no intent to sell or traffick drugs existed.

Name & Weight

The major factors in determining which Florida drug charge you will face are the nature and the amount of the substance you were caught with. For example, someone stopped with 5 grams of cannabis will generally face lighter charges than someone found with 30 grams of cocaine. In addition, a drug in a higher schedule will carry a different penalty – both the federal government and the state of Florida have schedules for drugs, based on their accepted medical usage and their possibility for abuse.

The strong majority of drug possession cases in Florida are tried as third-degree felonies, with the exception of marijuana possession under 20 grams being a first-degree misdemeanor. If you are convicted of possession, you will face a mandatory 3 years in jail, at a minimum – Florida still carries mandatory minimums for several different offenses, though in recent years there has been a concerted effort to abolish them.

Carrying Too Much

Possession charges are fairly straightforward, once all the information is known. However, if a person is carrying an amount over a certain threshold (it varies, depending on the drug), what many do not know is that they can be charged with trafficking that drug, regardless of intent to do so. The law’s rationale is that such a large amount of a drug is unlikely to be for personal use, and thus a trafficking charge is generally appropriate – but in some cases, it is not unreasonable for a person to have a large amount of a certain drug.

Regardless of the person’s intent, if one is found to possess more than the ‘threshold’ amount of a drug, they can be charged with trafficking, which can carry anywhere from 3 to 25 years in jail, depending on the amount and the circumstances in question. In addition, it is entirely possible with some drugs to be unaware that one has crossed the threshold – for example, someone on a strong dose of painkillers would only have to be stopped with a handful of pills for a trafficking charge to stick.

Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney

Florida treats drug offenders quite harshly, with few mitigating circumstances allowed. If you have been charged with a drug-related offense, you may be facing serious time, even if you had no intent to commit an offense. A West Palm Beach drug offenses attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help to protect your rights. Call our office today at (561) 721-0552 to speak to an attorney.



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