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Explaining Florida Drug Trafficking
Florida law treats drug crimes very seriously, given its history with drug offenses and its habitually high use rate (statistics from the Florida Department of Health estimate that there were 316.8 drug arrests per 100,000 people, which is in the top quarter in the United States). Drug trafficking is seen as one of the most serious offenses, given its ramifications. Trafficking in drugs is the act of selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering, or otherwise conveying unauthorized controlled substances, and a conviction under Florida law may put a defendant in jail for up to a life term.
Classification & Weight Matters
What many do not understand about Florida’s drug trafficking law is that it hinges primarily on the question of the illicit substance involved in each specific case – namely, what it is, and how much. If the amount in question (usually the weight of the substance or of any mixture containing the substance) is over a certain threshold, a person will be charged with trafficking; if it is under the threshold, a charge of simple possession will be more likely.
For example, Florida law states that if a person is found to possess 28 grams (or more) of cocaine – which includes a mixture including that amount of cocaine – they are guilty of trafficking in cocaine. Trafficking charges carry higher and higher penalties depending on the amount in question – if one is caught with over 150 pounds of cocaine, they may face up to life in prison, but if one has, say, 29 grams, the maximum sentence is most often 3 years in jail.
A Very Serious Charge
In general, if you have been charged with drug trafficking, know that the charge is extremely serious, and Florida state’s attorneys are trained to see it that way. Drug trafficking and sales are seen as crimes against society, rather than against an individual, and plea-bargains are unlikely (though possible) because of this. Three criteria must be proven in order for you to be convicted of the charge:
- You must have had knowledge of the substance’s presence;
- The substance in question must have actually been the substance alleged; and
- The substance weighed over the statutory threshold amount.
If a state’s attorney cannot establish even one of these points, a conviction is not possible. However, this is not a situation to take lightly – enlisting an attorney to help with your defense is crucial.
Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Trafficking Attorney
If you have been charged with trafficking in controlled substances, do not try to navigate the legal process alone. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney will ensure that your rights are protected in court, and make sure that you have a chance to tell your story. The firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. has experience in these cases, and we will put it to work for you. Contact our office today at 561-721-0552 to speak to an attorney.