As a whole, America’s attitudes toward certain illegal drugs are recently changing — especially toward substances such as marijuana. Yet cocaine and other, harder drugs still remain in a negative spotlight. Sometimes, an individual is simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, and is in possession of a hard drug that could result in penalities that remain on their record forever. This stain on a record can inevitably wreck a person’s career, prevent them from finding new jobs and can even worsen their overall quality of life. In Florida, there are clear laws that state the varying penalties attached to the possession of cocaine, but penalties can entirely depend on each individual drug arrest.
The Miami Herald covered the recent story of Rodolfo Blanco, a Cuban man who immigrated to America in 1980 and was later arrested for the possession of cocaine. The Herald points out that Florida courts have little sympathy for those arrested on such charges, as the possession of any amount of cocaine constitutes as a third-degree felony in the state. Yet through the advice of his attorney, Blanco pleaded no contest to two counts of attempting to sell cocaine. Although Blanco faced minimal repercussions, he later discovered that this plea threatened his eligibility to continue living in the United States. Due to a number of reasons, including the overall strengthening relationship between the U.S. and Cuba in recent years and Blanco’s judge’s ruling that he had received ineffective legal counsel after his charge, Blanco was cleared of his drug conviction that threatened his future.
Findlaw adds that Florida’s geographical location has long made it an ideal spot for importing drugs. Yet the possession of over 28 grams of cocaine is considered trafficking, and can result in a first-degree felony. The penalties, of course, depend on the amount of cocaine in possession and whether the individual intended to distribute the drug. First-degree felonies regarding cocaine are extremely serious, ranging from 3 years’ prison time to life imprisonment.