Charged with Drug Trafficking? What You Need to Know
There are a variety of drug charges that can be brought in Florida at both the state and federal level with varying degrees of severity. The deciding factors for which charges will be filed generally have to do with the type of drug and the quantity of drugs seized. In this article, I’ll be covering state drug trafficking charges in Florida and providing an overview regarding drug classes, charge types, and possible punishments.
Ultimately, no blog post can compare to have a one-on-one conversation with a skilled Tampa drug lawyer. If you’ve been charged with drug trafficking or another drug offense, contact the office of Mike G Law for a free consultation.
Drug Classifications in Florida
The long list of classified substances is detailed in Florida Statute 893.03. It includes the following drugs, as well as similar drugs with slight variations to their molecular arrangement (isomers). Below is a list of the most commonly seized drugs. For the full list of illegal substances, check the statute.
Florida Schedule I Drugs
Schedule I drugs are believed to have a high potential for abuse, thus they are the most heavily restricted, and trafficking or possession can lead to stiffer penalties. What separates these drugs from those in Schedule II is that they are not believed to have any medical value. In the case of cannabis, this has been disputed, but for now, it remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.
Florida Schedule I substances include (but are not limited to):
- Cannabis (marijuana)
- Ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, or Molly)
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA or Sally)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Schedule II Drugs
As previously mentioned, Schedule II drugs are believed to have medical applications. While they may be prescribed, it is illegal to sell them or be in possession of them without a prescription.
Other Scheduled Drugs
There are three more schedules which include drugs that are not believed to have as high of a potential for abuse and which have been accepted as having medical value. While these drugs (like Clonazepam and steroids) may be prescribed, it is still illegal to traffick them or to be in possession of them without a prescription.
A Note on Marijuana in Florida
Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and for recreational use in Florida. While medical marijuana has been legalized in Florida, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance and a Schedule I substance. Only those with a medical marijuana prescription have permission to be in possession of marijuana, and even then, only in particular amounts.
Types of Florida Drug Trafficking Charges
While the term “drug trafficking” may call to mind large scale operations and cartels, most charges are brought against individuals.
In Florida, drug trafficking is considered to be the sale (or intent to sell) or the possession of a particular amount of a controlled substance. That means that even if you have a personal stash of Vicodin for which you don’t have a prescription, you can be charged with drug trafficking regardless of whether you intended to sell it or not.
To be considered trafficking, you must be found in possession of a particular amount of a controlled substance, which varies by substance. If convicted of drug trafficking charges in Florida, you will be subject to mandatory minimum sentencing. This is all set out in Statute 893.135.
Trafficking in Cannabis
Trafficking in cannabis charges, a first degree felony, may be brought if an individual is found to be in possession of 25 pounds or more of cannabis or if they have 300 or more cannabis plants. Trafficking charges also apply for selling, purchasing, delivering, or growing cannabis. Additional amounts will result in stiffer penalties.
|Amount of Cannabis||Penalty (Imprisonment and fine)|
|25 – 1,999 pounds or 300 – 1,999 plants||Minimum of 3 years and $25,000|
|2,000 – 9,999 pounds or 2,000 – 9,999 plants||Minimum of 7 years and $50,000|
|10,000 or more pounds or 10,000 or more plants||Minimum of 15 years and $200,000|
Trafficking in Cocaine
Trafficking in cocaine charges can be brought for the sale, possession, transfer, delivery, or manufacture of 28 or more grams of cocaine.
|Amount of Cocaine||Penalty (Imprisonment and fine)|
|28 – 199 grams||Minimum of 3 years and $50,000|
|200 – 399 grams||Minimum of 7 years and $100,000|
|400 – 149.99 kilograms||Minimum of 15 years and $250,000|
|More than 150 kilograms||Life imprisonment without parole|
Additional or more severe charges may be filed if the alleged trafficking is believed to have resulted in a death, making the charges a capital felony.
Trafficking in Fentanyl
Fentanyl, along with alfentanil, carfentanil, sufentanil, and other derivatives, all fall under the “trafficking in fentanyl” charge. You may be charged with this first degree felony if you are found to be selling, manufacturing, transporting, or possession 4 or more grams of fentanyl or its associated drugs.
|Amount of Fentanyl||Penalty (Imprisonment and fine)|
|4 – 13.99 grams||Minimum of 3 years and $50,000|
|14 – 27.99 grams||Minimum of 15 years and $100,000|
|28 grams or more||Minimum of 25 years and $500,000|
Trafficking in Methamphetamine
“Trafficking in amphetamine” charges may be brought against those who sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver, or transfer 14 or more grams of amphetamine, methamphetamine, or its derivatives or mixtures.
|Amount of Amphetamine or Meth||Penalty (Imprisonment and fine)|
|14 – 27.99 grams||Minimum of 3 years and $50,000|
|28 – 199.99 grams||Minimum of 15 years and $100,000|
|200 grams or more||Minimum of 25 years and $500,000|
Trafficking in Heroin and Oxycodone
The sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, transfer, or possession of 30 kilograms or more of codeine, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, opium, and oxycodone will result in charges of “trafficking in illegal drugs,” which is a first degree felony. The penalty if found guilty is life imprisonment without parole. If an individual died because of the alleged trafficking, the charges will be upgraded to a capital felony.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list. For more information, speak to a skilled Tampa drug trafficking lawyer.
Seek Legal Advice for Florida Drug Trafficking Charges Now!
Florida drug trafficking charges can lead to long sentences and sometimes hefty fines. Thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing standards, judges don’t always have the ability to truly consider the individual merits of a case. That means too many people are shuffled off to prison.
Don’t let drug trafficking charges ruin your life. Fight back and protect your rights—make sure you have a knowledgeable Tampa drug lawyer by your side.