Drug trafficking cases: the basics
When it comes to drug trafficking, it’s not always situations like cocaine or heroin possession that most people think of. While those are certainly prevalent and lead to lengthy prison sentences, there are some lesser-known circumstances that lead people to prison for drug trafficking.
See four insights below on the basics of drug trafficking and why having an experienced attorney is crucial in the event of a trafficking charge.
Trafficking has to do with a minimum set amount
In order to be charged with drug trafficking, you have to be in possession of at least the minimum quantity of a controlled substance, which is set by Florida Statute 893.135. The minimum amount required to constitute a trafficking charge depends on the controlled substance in your possession. Most trafficking cases involve cannabis, cocaine, crystal meth or oxycodone/oxycontin.
But the possession of many other controlled substances can warrant a trafficking charge as well, and because of the high correlation between drugs and criminal activity, the Florida legislature has made penalties for a drug trafficking crime severe.
Prescription medication abuse, like oxycodone, can lead to a trafficking flag
Just because you may be taking prescription medication but not trying to move or sell pills doesn’t mean you’re immune from a drug trafficking charge. Since trafficking is based on weight of pills, a prescription of painkillers can easily weigh in at more than a trafficking amount. People addicted to painkillers that are taking two to five pills per day run a high risk of a trafficking charge or a prison sentence, especially if they’re purchasing pills on the street.
Trafficking minimum amounts vary by drug – from cannabis to crystal meth
Not all drugs follow the same minimum amount to constitute a trafficking charge. For example, marijuana has to weigh in at 25 pounds, while cocaine must weigh in at 28 grams. Prison sentences also depend on how much of the substance is being trafficked. For instance, if you’re charged with trafficking oxycodone/oxycontin, it will carry a minimum prison sentence of 3 years and a $50,000 fine for 4-13 grams (the minimum amount). However, in all cases, the judge can impose a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for any trafficking.
An experienced drug trafficking defense attorney can help defend against charges
If you find yourself or someone you know facing a drug trafficking charge, an experienced attorney can craft potential strategies to build a solid defense. Your defense will be tailored to the specific facts of your arrest and charges. Some defenses could include an illegal stop and search, invalid search warrants, the type of drug possession or unwitting drug possession. In fact, a good criminal defense attorney may even attend court dates on your behalf. At the office of attorney Joseph Knape, we work diligently to resolve these cases —hopefully with a dismissal or an alternative prosecution agreement that may eliminate the need for court attendance entirely.
If you’re considering a criminal defense attorney to assist you in your defense, call us at 850-225-5563 or set up a consultation online.