If you have been arrested for trafficking in illegal drugs in Sarasota or Manatee, Florida then you need experienced Sarasota drug trafficking lawyer, Anthony G. Ryan. The State of Florida relentlessly prosecutes suspected drug dealers in possession of large amounts of illegal drugs or controlled substances. Trafficking charges carry harsh criminal penalties, severe fines, and, even if this is a first offense, minimum mandatory prison sentences. If you or someone you know has been charged with drug trafficking, call now to schedule a free consultation.Drug Trafficking Defined
In Florida, drug trafficking does not necessarily mean that you are a drug dealer engaged in the sale of large amounts of narcotics, although that is probably the image that first comes to mind when you think of a drug trafficker. In Florida, trafficking can be committed by sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, bringing into this state, or actual or constructive possession of a certain volume of drugs. That is right, you can be convicted of drug trafficking in Florida just by being in possession of a certain amount of illegal narcotics or a controlled substance without a prescription.Minimum Mandatory Prison Sentences for Drug Trafficking in Florida
Even a first-time offender is subject to harsh minimum mandatory prison sentences if found guilty of trafficking in illegal substances. The length of the minimum mandatory prison sentence depends on which drug and how much is trafficked. Here are the minimum amounts necessary, of some common drugs, that can subject you to a trafficking charge and a harsh minimum mandatory sentence for even simple possession:
- Marijuana: 25 pounds or 300 plants – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- Cocaine: 28 grams – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- Fentanyl: 4 grams – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- GHB: 1 kilogram – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- Hydrocodone: 14 grams – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- Heroin: 4 grams – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- LSD: 1 gram – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- Ecstasy (MDMA): 10 grams – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
- Oxycodone: 7 grams – 3 years prison and $50,000 fine
You guessed it, as the amount of the drug increases so does the minimum mandatory prison sentence that is required by law. For example, if you have more than 200 grams of cocaine but less than 400 grams, you are subject to a 7 year minimum mandatory prison sentence and a $100,000 fine. And if you have 400 grams or more of cocaine, but less than 150 kilograms you are facing a 15 year minimum mandatory sentence and a $250,000 fine. All of the above drugs have corresponding 7 year and 15 year minimum mandatory prison sentences, depending on the amount of the illegal substance.The Weight of the Substance Includes Everything, not Just the Illegal Drug
Remember, trafficking means many things under Florida law, including simple possession of a certain amount of any illegal substance. Under Florida’s drug trafficking statutes, you can be found guilty of trafficking for possessing either a threshold amount of the actual drug or any mixture containing the drug. This means that you are charged with the gross weight of the pill or total substance, not just the amount of the drug in your possession.
Take hydrocodone, for example. You can be found guilty of trafficking in hydrocodone by possessing either 7 grams or more of 100% pure hydrocodone, or 7 grams of any mixture containing only a small amount of oxycodone. This means that for Florida’s trafficking statute you weigh the entire pill, you don’t just add up the actual amount of the illegal substance.
So, if you are caught in possession of ten pain pills that contain just 10 mg of hydrocodone, but the total weight of each pill is 700 mg (say the pill also contains 690 mg of acetaminophen and other fillers) you could be charged with trafficking in 7 grams or more of hydrocodone. Under this example, you are only in possession of 70 milligrams of the illegal substance, less than one gram, but because you weigh the entire pill you are facing three years in prison. To highlight the unfairness of this statute, if another person is in possession of one pill that contains 80 milligrams of hydrocodone but only weighs a total of 700 mg, she will not be charged with trafficking, even though she is technically in possession of more of the illegal substance than the other person. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced drug trafficking attorney in Sarasota and Manatee counties.Avoiding the Harsh Minimum Mandatory Sentences for Drug Trafficking in Florida
An experienced Sarasota drug trafficking lawyer, like Anthony G. Ryan, may be able to help you avoid the harsh minimum mandatory prison sentences associated with drug trafficking. Depending on the facts of your case, a trafficking attorney may file a motion to suppress evidence if there was an illegal search and seizure by law enforcement or challenge the state’s case by building an entrapment defense if the police or a confidential informant illegally induced you to commit the crime. In other cases, it may be in your best interest to try to negotiate a plea agreement with the state whereby you give up your right to a trial in return for a more lenient sentence. Sarasota drug trafficking lawyer Anthony G. Ryan is also prepared to take your case all the way to trial if necessary and if you, the client, want to exercise this valuable constitutional right. Call now to discuss Anthony G. Ryan’s experience and see how he may be able to help you today.