Facing Drug Trafficking Charges In Florida?
Florida has some of the harshest drug laws in the nation, with some of the most stringent penalties if they are violated. One of the areas where this is most visible is in discussing drug trafficking charges – unlike in some other jurisdictions, one does not require intent to commit the offense of drug trafficking in Florida. If you have been charged with this offense and are not quite sure why, it is crucial to consult an experienced attorney before proceeding.
Intent Is Irrelevant
In many states, one can only be charged with drug trafficking if they have the specific intent to sell, distribute or otherwise market a certain drug. In Florida, the definition is different, because the primary factor that distinguishes a charge of drug possession from a charge of drug trafficking in Florida is the amount of the drug in question. If someone is in possession of more than 7 grams of oxycodone, for example, they will automatically be charged with trafficking, even if they had no intent to sell or otherwise distribute the drug. This is because the amount is seen as such a large one that it is not likely to be for personal use.
It is important to keep in mind that even if you did have a plausible reason to have a large amount of a drug in your possession, it is irrelevant under law. Florida’s drug trafficking laws are a relic of the state’s tumultuous past in the 80s, 90s and 2000s, designed to be a harsh reply to an almost-unfettered supply of drugs available in Florida cities. Mandatory minimum sentences were imposed in order to act as a deterrent to individuals choosing to engage in drug dealing – and despite evidence showing that these sentences have little deterrent effect, they are still on the books in Florida.
Seek Experienced Legal Help
Because intent does not matter in terms of drug trafficking offenses, an individual may find themselves facing this type of criminal charge when they have little or no idea they are culpable. There is a threshold amount for each drug where a standard possession charge will turn into a trafficking charge, and some of these thresholds are so low that it is possible to be over the mark without doing so intentionally – for example, a chronic pain patient may pick up a 3-month supply of their medication from their pharmacy.
If you find yourself facing a charge of drug trafficking, having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make all the difference. It is possible to defend against such a charge – for example, your attorney may argue that you did not know you had a controlled substance in your possession, or that the substance is another person’s property. A conviction for drug trafficking can cause significant issues for you later on in life, in addition to any jail sentence you may incur. The stakes are too high to go it alone.
Call A West Palm Beach Drug Trafficking Attorney
Drug trafficking is an extremely serious offense, but the stakes are arguably even higher in Florida because its laws are so harsh. If you have been charged with trafficking in one or more drugs, calling a West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can be the first step in asserting your innocence. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney.