When people hear the phrase “drug trafficking” they usually think of the illegal manufacture and sale of illegal drugs or the movement of drugs in some way. The United Nations defines drug trafficking as the global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of prohibited substances. Florida law, however, does not require movement or sale of illegal drugs for one to be charged for drug trafficking. Whether or not drug trafficking has occurred depends on the amount of illegal drugs possessed and the intent of the holder to distribute it.
The minimum amount in possession for a drug trafficking charge to apply depends on the type of drug involved. For example, actual or constructive possession of in excess of 25 pounds of cannabis, or 300 or more cannabis plants, is a first-degree drug trafficking felony. For other drugs, the threshold amounts for first-degree felonies are as follows:
- Cocaine — 28 grams
- Methamphetamine — 14 grams
- Oxycodone — 7 grams
- Opioids, including heroin and morphine — 4 grams
Florida law imposes mandatory minimum penalties for drug trafficking, which increase with the amount of drugs possessed. For example, a prison sentence for a marijuana trafficking conviction can range from three years and $25,000 fine for up to 2,000 pounds to seven years and a $50,000 fine for up to 10,000 pounds.
Actual distribution of certain drugs also carries stiff penalties. Selling or delivering of 10 grams or more of heroin is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fine of upon to $10,000. Distributing lesser amounts of heroin or any amounts of cocaine or oxycodone carries a potential sentence of 15 years and a $10,000 fine.
Florida law allows individual judges to increase mandatory minimum sentences for habitual felons — those with several prior convictions. Defendants convicted of any drug charge in Florida also face mandatory loss of their drivers’ licenses.
If you or someone you know is facing a drug trafficking or any other drug crime charge in Florida, the experienced attorneys at Largey Law can help. We have offices in Tavares, Clermont and Inverness. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced lawyer, contact us online.