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What is the Punishment for Drug Trafficking in Florida?

What is the Punishment for Drug Trafficking in Florida?

Florida has some of the toughest drug trafficking laws in the country. Even small amounts can lead to mandatory minimum prison sentences and huge fines. So what exactly are the punishments for drug trafficking convictions in Florida?

Let’s break down the key penalties based on the type and quantity of drugs involved. Understanding the harsh mandatory sentences is critical if facing trafficking charges.

Definition of Drug Trafficking

Florida statute 893.135 defines drug trafficking as knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing certain illegal drugs above specified weight thresholds[1].

You don’t have to be caught in the act of dealing or transporting drugs. Just possessing amounts over the limits can lead to trafficking charges.

Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentences

A key aspect of Florida drug laws is mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking convictions. Judges have no discretion to lower prison terms below the minimums.

Minimum sentences range from 3 years up to life in prison depending on the drug amount. Fines up to $750,000 also apply.

Marijuana Trafficking

For marijuana trafficking, minimum sentences are[2]:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
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2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
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2024-03-18
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2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
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2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • 25 – 2000 lbs: 3 years
  • 2000 – 10,000 lbs: 7 years
  • Over 10,000 lbs: 15 years

Cocaine Trafficking

Cocaine trafficking sentences include[2]:

  • 28 – 200 g: 3 years
  • 200 – 400 g: 7 years
  • Over 400 g: 15 years

Heroin Trafficking

Heroin above 30 kilograms triggers an automatic life sentence[2].

Other Drug Trafficking

Minimums for other drugs like oxycodone, fentanyl, LSD depend on the amounts and can reach up to 25 years in prison[2].

Penalties Increase with Drug Quantity

The more drugs involved, the harsher the mandatory minimum sentence becomes. Even small increases in weight can add years to prison time.

For example, 28-200g of cocaine is 3 years while 200-400g jumps to 7 years[2].

Fines Up to $750,000

In addition to years in prison, drug trafficking also carries mandatory fines in Florida. These range from $25,000 up to $750,000 depending on the quantity[1].

Asset Forfeiture

Those convicted of trafficking may also face civil asset forfeiture. This allows the government to seize property like vehicles, money, and homes tied to the drug trade.

Enhanced Penalties Near Schools or Parks

Trafficking drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other public spaces adds extra penalties. An additional 5 years is added to the mandatory minimum prison sentence[2].

Trafficking vs. Simple Possession

It’s important to note trafficking is different than simple drug possession. You can face trafficking for amounts over the threshold even if not selling.

But any amount under the limits is simple possession, a less serious felony or misdemeanor.

Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges

Because penalties are so severe, those charged with trafficking need an experienced criminal defense attorney. An lawyer can raise defenses like[2]:

  • Illegal search leading to evidence being excluded
  • Violation of rights during interrogation
  • Insufficient evidence you knowingly possessed the drugs
  • Entrapment by police

Challenging the validity of evidence or arguing you didn’t knowingly possess the drugs can sometimes lead to acquittal or reduced charges.

Providing Substantial Assistance

If evidence is overwhelming, another option is providing “substantial assistance” to police in identifying other traffickers. This allows the mandatory minimum to be waived or reduced[2].

But this cooperation agreement comes with risks and is not guaranteed.

Avoid Crossing State Lines

Trafficking drugs across state lines triggers federal charges with harsh penalties. Florida’s state mandatory minimums still apply too.

So transporting drugs from Florida to Georgia for example leads to a double prosecution – state and federal.

Getting Legal Help is Critical

Never attempt to handle drug trafficking charges without an attorney. The penalties are too severe to risk it.

An experienced lawyer can challenge evidence, raise defenses, and advise if cooperation is in your best interest. Don’t delay in getting professional help.

I hope this overview gives you a better understanding of the harsh punishment for drug trafficking convictions in Florida. Let me know if you have any other questions!

 

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