Attorney’s Guide to Trafficking in Fentanyl in Florida
Under Section 893.135, Florida Statutes, Trafficking in Fentanyl is committed in Florida when you sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver, knowingly possess, or bring into the state 4 grams or more of fentanyl, a fentanyl derivative, or a mixture containing fentanyl.
Penalties for Trafficking in Fentanyl in Florida
Trafficking in Fentanyl 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 fentanyl was trafficked. Florida passed a law in May 2022 increasing the minimum mandatory sentences for trafficking in Fentanyl.
|Minimum Mandatory Penalties
|At least 4 grams but less than 14 grams
|7 years prison; $50,000 fine*
|At least 14 grams but less than 28 grams
|20 years; $100,000
|At least 28 grams
|25 years; $500,000
*Prior to 2022, the minimum mandatory was 3 years in prison.
How to Fight a Charge of Trafficking in Fentanyl in Florida
When facing a charge of Trafficking in Fentanyl in Florida, it’s crucial to understand the defenses that can be used to fight the charge. The following are some of the defenses that can be employed:
Actual or Constructive Possession
If your charge is based on possession of a controlled substance, the State must show either actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession is when the controlled substance is on your person (such as in your hand or in your pockets) or within your ready reach and control. Constructive possession is when the controlled substance is located somewhere you have control over, and you are aware that the controlled substance is within your presence. If the State fails to prove either type of possession, then you cannot be found guilty of Trafficking in Fentanyl based on possession.
Proving Amount of Controlled Substance
Part of the State’s burden in a trafficking case is proving the amount of the controlled substance beyond a reasonable doubt. The State doesn’t have to prove an exact figure, but it does have to show that there was enough of the controlled substance to support a trafficking charge. Likewise, if the State seeks a higher mandatory minimum sentence, then it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the amount of the controlled substance met the threshold for that sentence.
Entrapment is a defense that argues the defendant was induced or persuaded by law enforcement to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. If it can be proven that the law enforcement officer used coercive or persuasive tactics to induce the crime, the entrapment defense can be used.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Any evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure can be thrown out of court. If it can be proven that the law enforcement officers violated your Fourth Amendment rights by conducting an illegal search and seizure, any evidence obtained during that search cannot be used against you.
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. If there is not enough evidence to meet this standard, the charges may be dismissed. This could include a lack of evidence linking you to the crime, or the evidence may not be strong enough to convict you.
Substantial assistance is a defense that can be used if you provide significant help to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of others involved in the crime. If you provide substantial assistance, you may be eligible for a reduced sentence.
No Drug Paraphernalia Found
If no drug paraphernalia was found at your home or the location of the arrest, it could be argued that you had no intention to distribute or sell the Fentanyl in your possession. This could potentially reduce the charges from trafficking to possession.
Control Over the Fentanyl
If someone else could potentially have had control over the Fentanyl, it could be argued that you were not the one in possession of the drugs. This could potentially lead to a dismissal of the charges if it can be proven.
These defenses can be complex and require a deep understanding of the law. It’s essential to have an experienced Orlando, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney on your side to navigate these defenses effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between trafficking and possession charges?
Trafficking charges typically involve the sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, or bringing into the state of a controlled substance, such as Fentanyl. Possession charges, on the other hand, typically involve having a controlled substance on your person or within your control. The penalties for trafficking are generally more severe than those for possession.
2. What is the role of a criminal defense attorney in a trafficking case?
A criminal defense attorney can provide crucial assistance in a trafficking case. They can help understand the charges, navigate the legal system, develop a strong defense strategy, negotiate plea deals, and represent you in court. They can also work to ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
3. What is the Fourth Amendment and how does it relate to illegal search and seizure?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. In the context of a drug trafficking case, this means that law enforcement must have a valid warrant or probable cause to search your property. If they conduct a search without these, any evidence they obtain may be considered illegally obtained and may be thrown out of court.
4. What does it mean to provide ‘substantial assistance’ in a trafficking case?
Substantial assistance refers to providing significant help to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of others involved in the crime. This could involve providing information, testifying in court, or other actions that help law enforcement. If you provide substantial assistance, you may be eligible for a reduced sentence.
5. What is entrapment and how can it be used as a defense in a trafficking case?
Entrapment is a defense that argues the defendant was induced or persuaded by law enforcement to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. This could involve coercive tactics or deception by law enforcement. If it can be proven that entrapment occurred, it can be a powerful defense in a trafficking case.
If you are accused of Trafficking in Fentanyl and need a skilled Central Florida criminal attorney to assist you in your case, get in touch with the experienced lawyers of Leppard Law. Your initial consultation is free of charge and we are willing to answer your calls at any time of the day. Call us at 407-476-4111. We look forward to fighting for you!