When facing criminal charges in Florida, it is sometimes possible to have the charges or sentence reduced, especially for a first offense. Drug trafficking, however, is different.
Florida has strict laws regarding drug trafficking, which include mandatory minimum sentences.
Florida’s drug trafficking laws
Many people mistakenly believe that drug trafficking laws apply only to people who sell drugs. However, in Florida, you can face a drug trafficking charge simply for possessing any of the following:
- 25 pounds of marijuana or 300 cannabis plants, including seedlings
- 1 kilogram of GHB
- 200 grams of methaqualone
- 28 grams of cocaine or phencyclidine
- 14 grams of amphetamine
- 4 grams of heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, flunitrazepam or opium
- 1 gram of LSD
In a drug trafficking case, the prosecutor does not need to prove that you sold drugs, only that you knowingly possessed a certain amount of a controlled substance.
Florida’s mandatory minimum sentences
For drug trafficking in Florida, minimum penalties begin at 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Possessing greater amounts of drugs can result in up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000, depending on the amount and type of drug.
Mandatory minimum penalties limit the judge’s ability to exercise discretion in your case. The judge can not reduce your sentence based on your history; first-time offenders can face the same fines and prison time as repeat offenders. The judge also can not reduce your sentence based on the impact your imprisonment would have on your family or your need for substance abuse treatment. In Florida, only the prosecutor has the authority to waive the mandatory minimum sentence.
Drug trafficking is a serious charge in Florida, carrying penalties that can have a significant impact on you and your loved ones.