Individuals in Florida may be charged with drug trafficking when they are found in possession of significant quantities of illegal drugs. The penalties for drug trafficking vary depending on the quantity and type of controlled substance involved. Controlled substances are categorized based on their addictive properties and whether or not they have any legitimate medical uses. A Schedule I drug is a substance that has no known medical use and is considered highly addictive.
Prosecutors cannot pursue drug trafficking charges in marijuana cases in Florida unless the defendant was found to be in possession of at least 25 pounds of the drug, but a single gram of LSD is enough to meet the trafficking threshold. Drug trafficking sentences also vary widely. Trafficking between 25 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana carries a minimum custodial sentence of three years, but being convicted of trafficking between 28 and 38 grams of opioids such as heroin or fentanyl in Florida will result in a prison sentence of at least 25 years.
Individuals with previous felony convictions face even harsher drug trafficking sentences if they are deemed to be habitual felony offenders or career criminals. Custodial sentences are also more severe under Florida law in narcotics trafficking cases when controlled substances are found within 1,000 yards of a school, park, community center or child care facility.
Defenses to drug trafficking charges
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue drug trafficking charges should be reduced to simple possession when the amount of controlled substances seized could have been intended for the defendant’s own personal use and not for distribution to others. Attorneys could seek to have drug charges dropped altogether when the search that led to their discovery could have violated the right against unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.