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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Selling Drugs In School Zones Means Additional Penalties

Selling Drugs In School Zones Means Additional Penalties


Florida takes drug offenses extremely seriously, and nowhere is this more evident than when minor children are involved in an alleged drug crime. The watchword of sorts for the state’s body of law is to always act in the best interests of children involved in the legal system – what this means is that a person who is found to be selling drugs to minors will almost always receive a harsher sentence if convicted than a person whose buyers are adults. If you find yourself in this scenario, it is important to be aware of the higher stakes facing you at trial.

‘Best Interests’ Of Children Come First

Florida’s history with illegal drugs has helped to make its drug laws among the harshest in the United States, with some of the most severe sentences for those convicted of possession, sale, or trafficking. It is also one of the handful of states that still impose mandatory minimum sentences on drug defendants, even though studies have shown them to have limited effectiveness in curbing recidivism. Between this and Florida’s focus on protecting its children, it is not a surprise that drug offenses against them are treated extremely seriously.

In order to protect minors, Florida has created drug-free zones around places where they are likely to congregate, and in some cases, up to 1,000 feet away. Examples include schools (public or private, of all ages), childcare facilities, public parks, or public ‘recreation facilities’ like a community center or pool complex. Some of these locations only ‘count’ as drug-free zones during certain times of day, but for most, the status is constant.

If You Are Charged

If you have been charged with possessing, selling, or trafficking in drugs in a school zone (or any drug-free zone), the exact crime you will be charged with depends on two factors: the nature of the substance at issue, and the amount involved. Schedule I drugs are more dangerous than Schedule V drugs, and in general, require smaller amounts to trigger more serious charges. The exception to this is cannabis, which is still a Schedule I drug as of this writing.

If you are convicted, the general result is that the offense will be augmented by one level at sentencing. For example, if you are convicted of possessing 2 grams of fentanyl, which is a third-degree felony, it would be tried as a second-degree felony if you were stopped in a school zone. This can result in a serious, long-term prison sentence if the amount of the substance involved is high enough – it is crucial to enlist the right attorney to help defend you if there are extenuating circumstances.

Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Crimes Attorney

Being arrested for a drug offense in Florida is a serious matter; being arrested for jeopardizing the welfare of minors makes it more serious still. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help to protect your rights while navigating the legal process. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney.

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