The criminal charge of drug trafficking is an often-misunderstood concept. You do not have to sell anything to pick up a trafficking charge, because all that is necessary is possessing a certain amount of the drug. The threshold amount varies depending on the drug. For instance, if you possess 7 – 14 grams of oxycodone, a trafficking charge becomes likely, but it takes 28 grams or more of cocaine and just four grams or more of heroin to get the same charge.
Proving the charge
To prove a charge of trafficking in cocaine, the state attorney must prove:
- You knowingly bought or possessed a substance.
- That substance was cocaine.
- You possessed at least 28 grams.
- You knew that the substance was cocaine.
Sentences for cocaine trafficking in Florida
Florida has minimum mandatory sentences for drug trafficking charges. This means that if you plead guilty or a jury returns a guilty verdict on a trafficking charge, the judge must impose a certain sentence. The legislature has predetermined that sentence, and no judge has the authority to impose a lesser sentence for any reason. For cocaine, the sentences are:
- 28 – 200 grams has a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a fine of $50,000
- 200 – 400 grams carries a seven-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a fine of $100,000
- 400 grams – 150 kilograms has a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a fine of $250,000
- Over 150 kilos is a first-degree felony that carries a prison term of life in prison with no opportunity for early release
As you can see, trafficking offenses come with steep penalties. What that all boils down to is that if you get arrested for trafficking, do your research. You would do well to make yourself well-informed about your legal rights and any defenses that may be available to you to help you avoid maximum penalties.