Florida Drug Trafficking Statutes

Orlando Drug Arrest Attorneys

What are Florida’s Drug Trafficking Laws?

Despite the common perception and its depiction in the media, drug trafficking charges are not reserved for criminal masterminds, armed drug dealers or career criminals. A person does not even have to sell a drug to find oneself accused of breaking Florida’s drug trafficking laws.

Trafficking charges in Florida focus on the sale or possession of controlled substances. Each drug has specified penalties that correlate with the total weight of the trafficked drug. However, every trafficking charge in Florida carries a requirement of a mandatory prison sentence. Those convicted also face governmental seizure of their homes, vehicles, or cash that law enforcement believes to be proceeds from drug sales.

Legal Definition of Drug Trafficking in Florida

Drug trafficking is defined as the intentional sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession or transporting a specific amount of a controlled substance. The minimum amount needed to warrant trafficking charges differs for each drug. For example:

Keep in mind that these amounts are only the minimums to justify trafficking charges. As the amounts increase, the mandatory minimum fines and prison sentences do the same. According to Florida Statute 893.135, the mandatory minimum penalty for these drug offenses in 2018 are as follows:

Cocaine Trafficking Penalties:

  • 28 to 200 grams:
    • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $50,000 fine
  • 200 to 400 grams:
    • 7-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams to 150 kilograms:
    • 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $250,000 fine
  • More than 150 kilograms:
    • First-degree felony: Life Imprisonment without parole eligibility

Cannabis Trafficking Penalties:

  • 25 to 2,000 pounds or 300 to 2,000 plants:
    • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $25,000 fine
  • 2,000 to 10,000 pounds or 2,000 to 10,000 plants
    • 7-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $50,000 fine
  • 10,000 pounds or more:
    • 15 years mandatory minimum prison sentence; $200,000 fine

Heroin Trafficking Penalties:

  • 4 to 14 grams:
    • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $50,000 fine
  • 14 to 28 grams:
    • 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams to 30 kilograms:
    • 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $500,000 fine

Hydrocodone Trafficking Penalties:

  • 14 to 28 grams:
    • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $50,000 fine
  • 29 to 49 grams:
    • 7-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $100,000 fine
  • 50 to 200 grams:
    • 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $500,000 fine
  • 200 grams to 30 kilograms:
    • 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence: $750,000 fine

Oxycodone Trafficking Penalties:

  • 7 to 14 grams:
    • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $50,000 fine
  • 14 to 25 grams:
    • 7-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $100,000 fine
  • 25 to 100 grams:
    • 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $500,000 fine
  • 100 grams to 30 kilograms:
    • 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $750,000 fine

LSD Trafficking Penalties:

  • 1 gram or more, but less than 5 grams:
    • 3 years prison; $50,000 fine
  • 5 grams or more, but less than 7 grams:
    • 7 years prison; $100,000 fine
  • 7 grams or more:
    • 15 years prison; $500,000 fine

MDMA/Ecstasy Trafficking Penalties:

  • 10 grams or more but under 200 grams:
    • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $50,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams:
    • 7-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams or more:
    • 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $250,000 fine

Methamphetamine Trafficking Penalties:

  • 14 to 28 grams:
    • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $50,000 fine
  • 28 to 200 grams:
    • 7-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $100,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more:
    • 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $250,000 fine

Defense Strategies for Drug Trafficking in Florida

Evidence Suppression

As a citizen of the United States, you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of your person and property, meaning that constitutional protections restrict the actions of law enforcement.

If law enforcement abused their constitutional authority in obtaining evidence against you, the evidence has been obtained illegally and is subject to suppression by the court. In order to challenge the constitutionality of law enforcement’s actions, your lawyer must file a motion to suppress the illegally obtained evidence. Without the illegally obtained evidence, the State may be unable to prosecute your case.

Entrapment Defense

When conducting sting operations or using confidential informants, the police often go too far and coerce a person into committing a crime they would never have otherwise. This is called entrapment. The burden of proving entrapment lies upon the defendant, but if it can be established it can lead to either dismissal or acquittal of your charges.

Drug Trafficking Charges as a Youthful Offender

When a person is charged with a crime that is not punishable by life, and they have not reached the age of 21 at the time of their sentencing, they may qualify for youthful offender sentencing. The youthful offender option is available only once in a person’s lifetime.

If a defendant qualifies, and the judge agrees to sentence that person as a youthful offender, it allows the judge to disregard the minimum mandatory sentence for trafficking illegal drugs in Florida. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that deciding to sentence someone as a youthful offender rests solely with the judge

Substantial Assistance in Drug Trafficking Cases

The judge can sentence a defendant without imposing the minimum mandatory sentence under the statute if the defendant is providing substantial assistance to law enforcement. Substantial assistance means working for law enforcement as a “snitch” or an “informer” in order to help the police arrest others. This is rarely the first option, as most defendants do not want to help the police to arrest their friends or acquaintances. However, in some cases, it is the only way to ensure a chance to avoid prison.

If a defendant decides to provide substantial assistance to law enforcement, his lawyer will set up a meeting where the client will speak to the police and “proffer” the information he can provide. Law enforcement and the office of the state attorney will then decide whether or not they are interested in working with that individual.

If they are interested, the defendant will be presented with a substantial assistance agreement, or contract, for him to sign. The agreement will spell out what is expected of the defendant. Typically, the contract will specify a certain sentence if a defendant assists in a certain amount of arrests or prosecutions, and the more the defendant provides, the lighter his sentence.

Are You Facing Drug Trafficking Charges? Find Out How We Can Help

Many individuals who DO NOT make their living dealing drugs get charged and arrested for trafficking, including housewives, students, tourists, and addicts who happen to carry a decent amount of pills on them.

Some people just want to work out a deal, avoiding the harshest of penalties and want their rights protected from the powerful government entities, such as the State Attorney’s office.

For example, we represented a woman who went to a pharmacy and fraudulently obtained Oxycodone and Hydrocodone without a valid prescription. She was caught by the police red-handed and because Florida measures the weight of the pill, our client was facing drug trafficking charges when she had no desire at all to sell the drugs but rather obtain them for personal use.

In many of these cases, we’re able to convince prosecutors not to pursue prison time through legal defenses, deposition negotiation, and a number of other tactics. If you’re subjected to any of the penalties under Florida’s drug trafficking statutes, contact our Orlando drug offense attorneys for a free case evaluationAs former prosecutors, attorneys of the Umansky law firm have tried hundreds of cases in courtrooms across Florida, offering unique benefits that most other local law firms cannot and over 100 years of experience combined between our team of attorneys. Call us today at (407) 228-3838.