Attorney’s Guide to Trafficking in Cocaine in Florida
Under Section 893.135, Florida Statutes, Trafficking in Cocaine is committed in Florida when you sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver, knowingly possess, or bring into the state more than 28 grams of cocaine or any mixture containing cocaine.
Penalties for Trafficking in Cocaine in Florida
Trafficking in Cocaine is a first-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 30 years of prison or probation. The charge also carries a mandatory minimum sentence, the length of which depends on how much cocaine was trafficked.
|Minimum Mandatory Penalties
|At least 28 grams but less than 200 grams
|3 years prison; $50,000 fine
|At least 200 grams but less than 400 grams
|7 years; $100,000
|At least 400 grams but less than 150 kilograms
|15 years; $250,000
|At least 150 kilograms
How to Fight a Charge of Trafficking in Cocaine in Florida
Defending against a charge of trafficking in cocaine in Florida involves a comprehensive understanding of the law and the circumstances surrounding the case. Here are some potential defenses:
Motion to Suppress
A motion to suppress is a legal maneuver used to exclude evidence that was obtained through police or governmental misconduct. This could include evidence obtained without a warrant, or any evidence that was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. For instance, if the cocaine was found during an illegal search of your property, a motion to suppress could potentially result in that evidence being thrown out.
An alibi defense is used when you can prove that you were somewhere else when the alleged crime was committed. If an alibi is established, it means that you could not have committed the crime as a matter of legal impossibility. This would require evidence such as surveillance footage, witness testimonies, or other forms of proof that show you were not at the scene of the crime when it occurred.
Other Potential Defenses
There are several other strategies that can be used to challenge the State’s case or prove your innocence. These include:
- Entrapment: This defense can be used when law enforcement officials induce a person to commit a crime that they would not have committed otherwise.
- Insufficient Evidence: This defense is used when the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime.
- Lack of Knowledge: In some cases, you may be able to argue that you lacked knowledge of the illicit nature of the substance as explained in Florida Statute.
Each case is unique, and the best defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the process and help you understand your options.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What role does the quantity of cocaine play in a trafficking charge?
The quantity of cocaine involved in a case significantly impacts the severity of the trafficking charge. In Florida, trafficking charges apply when the amount of cocaine or any mixture containing cocaine exceeds 28 grams. The penalties increase with the amount, with mandatory minimum sentences and fines escalating for larger quantities.
2. Can a cocaine trafficking charge be reduced?
Yes, under certain circumstances, a cocaine trafficking charge can be reduced. This often involves plea negotiations where the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge, like possession. However, the success of such negotiations heavily depends on the specifics of the case, including the amount of cocaine involved, the evidence, and whether the defendant has any prior convictions.
3. How does the prosecution prove ‘intent to sell’ in a cocaine trafficking case?
Proving ‘intent to sell’ often involves circumstantial evidence. This could include the quantity of cocaine (large amounts are more likely to be for distribution than personal use), the presence of paraphernalia like scales or baggies, large amounts of cash, communications about drug sales, or testimony from witnesses.
4. What happens if I’m charged with cocaine trafficking but the substance wasn’t actually cocaine?
If the substance involved in your case wasn’t actually cocaine, this could be a valid defense against a cocaine trafficking charge. In such cases, a chemical analysis can be used to determine the nature of the substance. If it’s not cocaine, the trafficking charge may be dropped or reduced.
5. Can I be charged with cocaine trafficking if the cocaine belonged to someone else?
Yes, you can be charged if you were in ‘constructive possession’ of the cocaine. This means that the cocaine was in a place that you had control over, and you were aware of its presence. However, being charged does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. If you can prove that you were unaware of the cocaine’s presence, or that you had no control over the location it was found, you may be able to successfully defend against the charge.
Looking for an Attorney?
If you or someone you know have been arrested on drug charges within Central Florida and charged with the trafficking of cocaine, you could be facing a serious felony conviction that could potentially mean an extended period of imprisonment, probation and thousands of dollars in fines. Take control of your freedom today!
We at Leppard Law Criminal Lawyers, always provide a no-cost initial consultation. Our criminal lawyers will discuss your legal rights and potential penalties you could face in the event of your conviction. They will discuss strategies for defense and help you learn more about the procedure.