The most serious drug offense in the State of Florida is drug trafficking. Most people think of drug trafficking as a crime by a major drug dealer importing drugs. This is not normally the situation. In the State of Florida, drug trafficking occurs either by the sale of a certain quantity of a drug or by the simple possession of a certain quantity of a drug or specific substance. This substance may be a “street drug” such as cocaine or heroine or it may be a prescription type drug such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Oxycontin or brand names such as Vicodin, Demerol, or drugs known as Roxies. 

Drug trafficking, under Florida law, is a first degree felony carrying up to 30 years in State prison. All drug trafficking charges carry a “minimum mandatory” prison sentence. Even prescription drugs can be the subject of a trafficking charge. For example, Oxycodone trafficking carries the same prison term as heroine trafficking or trafficking in methamphetamines.

Drug trafficking is covered under Florida Statute 893.135. It was enacted initially to target high level drug dealers. It has come under wide use to charge users and those addicted to prescription drugs with trafficking. Doctor Shopping is a relatively new statute which is often charged. It also it a felony.

Mixtures

Drugs are not commonly purchased in their purest form. They are most often mixed with some type of additive. For street drugs, this may be a powder or liquid that will dilute the mixture. For prescription drugs, the prescription drug itself is often mixed with fillers and other substances such as anti-inflammatories. 

The drug trafficking statutes require that the entire weight of all substances be used in determining the weight for arrest and charging purposes. For example, a prescription for Oxycodone may have .025 grams of the actual substance in it and have fillers totaling .25 grams. The total weight for arrest purposes would be the two amounts totaled together. As a result, a very small amount of pills or tablets may constitute trafficking in drugs.

Defenses and Options

There are many things to be considered in a drug trafficking defense. The first is the legality of the arrest and the search. Did the scope of the search exceed the authority the law enforcement officer had? If there was a search warrant, was the search warrant properly obtained and are the facts legally sufficient for the warrant. Was the warrant executed lawfully and properly? Was any consent lawfully given and not coerced? Did the consent cover the area searched?

Often, trafficking arrests result from a traffic stop. The legality of the traffic stop regarding founded suspicion or probable cause always needs to be investigated and addressed by an experienced drug defense attorney. David Chico Law Group has extensive experience in Fourth Amendment Rights, illegal searches and seizures, and search warrant issues.
Depending on the circumstances of an individual case, other options could be explored such as “substantial assistance”. Statutes allow for cooperation and assistance to be given credit towards possibly eliminating or removing a minimum mandatory prison sentence.

Prescription Drug Trafficking and Doctor Shopping

Prescription drug trafficking and doctor shopping has become a major subject of arrest. Often people become addicted from a legitimate injury and prescriptions given to them. They become more dependent and, ultimately, an arrest may result for illegal obtaining of those prescription drugs. It may be possible for a drug trafficking charge to be amended or changed to another charge such as obtaining a prescription by fraud under certain circumstances. David Chico Law Group is familiar with the procedures for obtaining a reduction and the circumstances which may make this possible in your case to secure a reduction or change in charge and he has presented many such cases to the State Attorney.

Each case is different and each set of facts and circumstances is unique as well as each person. Please contact us so that we may sit down and talk about your case and explore options which may be available to you, including things that you can do to help your own case. The consultation is free.

Under the law, a judge does not have the authority to reduce a minimum mandatory prison sentence. That discretion lies totally with the Office of the State Attorney. As a former prosecutor, Attorney David Chico understands how the decisions are made regarding these cases and what information or actions may be important in your case. He can work closely with the State Attorney’s Office and it may be possible to negotiate an alternative for you.

Drug Trafficking Laws

Florida Statute 893.135 Provides Minimum Mandatory Penalties If You Are Convicted:

Trafficking in Hydrocodone:

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams = 3 years + $50,000 fine
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams = 15 years + $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms = 25 years + $500,000 fine

Trafficking in Oxycodone:

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams = 3 years + $50,000 fine
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams = 15 years + $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms = 25 years + $500,000 fine

Trafficking in Cocaine:

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams = 3 years + $50,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams = 7 years + $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms = 15 years + $250,000 fine

Trafficking in MDMA (Ecstasy)

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 10 grams or more but less than 200 grams = 3 years + $50,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams = 7 years + $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams or more = 15 years + $250,000 fine

Trafficking in Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB)

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 1 kilogram or more but less than 5 kilograms = 3 years + $50,000 fine
  • 5 kilograms or more but less than 10 kilograms = 7 years + $100,000 fine
  • 10 kilograms or more = 15 years + $250,000 fine

Trafficking in Marijuana

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • In excess of 25 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds, or 300 or more marijuana plants, but not more than 2,000 marijuana plants = 3 years + $25,000 fine
  • 2,000 pounds or more, but less than 10,000 pounds, or 2,000 or more marijuana plants, but not more than 10,000 marijuana plants = 7 years + $50,000 fine
  • 10,000 pounds or more, or 10,000 or more marijuana plants = 15 years + $200,000 fine

Trafficking in Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

  • 1 gram or more, but less than 5 grams = 3 years + $50,000 fine
  • 5 grams or more, but less than 7 grams = 7 years + $100,000 fine
  • 7 grams or more = 15 years + $500,000 fine

It is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Contact today David Chico Law Group at 407-933-7703.