Marijuana smuggling is a serious violation of both state and federal law. Cannabis is still a Schedule I Controlled Substance and, according to Florida Statute 893.13, “a person may not bring into this state any controlled substance.” Importing cannabis products is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, plus probation and a fine of up to $5,000. Bringing in large amounts of marijuana can trigger “trafficking in cannabis” or marijuana smuggling charges, with mandatory minimum prison sentences of three to 15 years in prison, up to a maximum of 30 years.
The only way to legally obtain marijuana in Florida is with a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card. And the only legal place to purchase cannabis products is from a licensed dispensary. While some states may have relaxed enforcement of marijuana laws, cannabis is still illegal under federal law. Moving large amounts of marijuana across state lines is marijuana smuggling and can lead to federal charges of interstate marijuana trafficking. And the federal government vigorously prosecutes cases of marijuana smuggling into Florida from other countries.
The importation of cannabis can have very serious consequences. If you’ve been charged with drug crimes in Florida, you’ll want the best criminal defense attorney you can get. Consider the Orlando criminal defense team at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.
Marijuana Smuggling Charges
Depending on the amount of cannabis involved, state charges may include “possession with intent to sell” or “drug trafficking.” Possession with intent to sell up to 25 pounds of marijuana is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors bring trafficking charges in cases involving more than 25 pounds of marijuana. A conviction carries mandatory minimum sentences:
• 25 pounds up to 2,000 pounds: a 3-year minimum mandatory sentence and a $25,000 fine.
• 2,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds: a 7-year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000 fine.
• Over 10,000 pounds: a 15-year minimum mandatory sentence and a $200,000 fine.
If your marijuana smuggling arrest involves federal law enforcement, they may charge you with violating the Controlled Substances Act or the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. Mandatory minimum sentences for federal charges can range from one year in prison to a life sentence.
Both state and federal sentences may be much more severe if the crime involves violence, injuries, or guns.
Florida Drug Crimes Defense
Federal and state drug charges are serious and call for the best defense possible. If you are arrested and charged with drug crimes, prosecutors must be able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer will challenge every element of the case against you.
For example, if the police didn’t have a proper search warrant or follow proper procedures, your lawyer may be able to have evidence suppressed. Your lawyer may be able to prevent prosecutors from using statements that you made if they did not inform you of your rights.
Prosecutors often pile on, filing extra charges hoping to pressure defendants into pleading guilty. And most people arrested on drug charges in Florida do plead guilty, hope for the best, and just take the consequences. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When charged with a crime, it’s always best to have a seasoned, experienced trial lawyer fight for your rights.
The first step in your defense will be a thorough evaluation of the evidence against you. Your attorney will examine every aspect of your case, scrutinizing the legality of the search and seizure that led to your arrest. If any constitutional rights were violated during the investigation, your attorney will fight to have the evidence excluded from trial. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation with a tough and aggressive Orlando criminal defense attorney at the Rivas Law Firm.