If you’re trying to figure out how to beat a drug trafficking charge in Florida, you’d better start by looking for the best criminal defense lawyer you can get. That’s because Florida drug laws can be pretty harsh, and prosecutors enjoy racking up long prison terms for anyone caught with large amounts of controlled substances.
The laws are vague, and that can make it easy for police and prosecutors to turn an offense of simple possession into possession-with-intent-to-sell or even drug trafficking. The government loves drug convictions because they are politically popular, and they make a lot of money at it. Florida takes in hundreds of millions of dollars from asset forfeitures every year, more than any other state. Drug convictions make up 3 of the top ten offenses at admission to Florida prisons.
If you face drug charges in Florida, the stakes for your freedom are extremely high. Often the only thing that stands between you and possibly decades in prison is a sharp and aggressive criminal defense lawyer who knows how to make an overzealous prosecutor back down. You can go with the family lawyer and hope for the best, or you can call 407-644-2466 to get a free consultation with an expert criminal trial attorney at the Rivas Law Firm.
Possession with Intent to Sell
Getting busted with a small amount of drugs is commonly known as simple possession. The charge can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. If, for example, you get caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana, it’s a first-degree misdemeanor. But if they got you with more than 20 grams of any Schedule I pharmaceuticals, you’re looking at a first-degree felony.
You don’t have to actually sell – or even intend to sell – any drugs to be charged with possession with intent to sell. It mainly comes down to quantity. Prosecutors can charge you with intent for simply having over a certain number of pills or marijuana over a certain weight. They assume you’ve got that much because you intend to sell it. If that’s all they have to go on, it may be that the prosecutor was just throwing in the “intent” count for good measure. An effective criminal defense lawyer may be able to get the charge dismissed. Of course, they may have a stronger case if the haul includes a scale, branded envelopes, or other evidence of retail entrepreneurship.
What Amount of Drugs is Considered Trafficking?
Florida law lays out specific amounts for a long list of controlled substances. Moving a lot of contraband – drug smuggling – is really risky. It’s a first-degree felony that comes with mandatory minimum prison sentences and staggering fines. If someone gets killed in connection with the crime, you could be facing a capital felony – the death penalty.
The trafficking law has a lot of components that prosecutors have to prove. But an aggressive criminal defense lawyer can challenge the evidence, police procedures, and other aspects of the case. There’s not much the defense can say for the guys who got caught driving into Florida at 100 MPH with a package marked “Bag Full of Drugs,” but in many cases, there may be legitimate questions as to knowledge and actual possession. Along with due-process considerations, your lawyer can challenge search warrants, evidence handling, and crime lab procedures.
For example, an appeals court threw out the trafficking conviction of a Florida man. Police arrested him after finding 9 bags of suspected cocaine in his garage. The man admitted that the bags contained cocaine. Police field-tested each bag on the scene but mixed them all in one container before sending it to the lab for analysis.
The man’s defense lawyer pointed out that field-testing is notoriously unreliable. She said that some of the bags may have contained powder that wasn’t cocaine, but some other white substance used to cut the drug. If that were the case, there wasn’t enough of the drug to charge trafficking. The judges agreed. They set aside the fifteen-year sentence for trafficking and ordered the man re-sentenced for possession.
An experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney will challenge the police and prosecutors at every turn. When your life or liberty is on the line, you need the best criminal defense you can get. Consider the Orlando criminal defense team at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.