Drug trafficking is one on the most serious drug offenses in Fort Lauderdale Florida; often resulting in a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor. Trafficking is a first-degree felony charge and includes the possession, sale, purchase, manufacture or delivery of controlled or illegal substances. In recent years, enforcement priorities have shifted toward the illegal distribution of controlled medications as it is seen in epidemic proportions in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area, from arrests for the possession of marijuana for instance. This does not mean that you cannot be arrested for possession of marijuana, but police department law enforcement resources are focused on keeping the deadlier drugs from being sold on the streets in direct alignment with efforts to fight the negative trends that they have caused on members of the community.
Penalties sought after in drug trafficking cases in Florida can impose a 30-year prison term. Charges are stricter based on enumerated schedule 1 controlled substances. If you have certain weights of drugs that are more than personal use amounts, there is a possibility you may be charged with attempted delivery or delivery of product, increasing charges toward trafficking. Criminal laws in South Florida impose 30-year to life sentences for trafficking cocaine, heroin or any controlled substance. The distinguishing factors toward sentencing for trafficking vary between 4 grams and 20 grams, 20 grams and 200 grams, and more than 400 grams.
Even professional doctors who have been prescribing these medications and distributing pharmacies have been caught in the crosshairs of this movement to reduce deadly and addictive drugs on the streets of Fort Lauderdale. In November of 2018 CBS News Reported that “Until a law enforcement crackdown at the beginning of the decade, Florida was known for its so-called pain mills. Drug dealers from throughout the country would send associates to storefront clinics where unscrupulous doctors would write opioid prescriptions for bogus injuries and illnesses. At one point, 90 of the nation’s top 100 opioid prescribers were Florida doctors, according to federal officials.” The latest crack down action is to decrease drug purchase and trafficking in Fort Lauderdale and to reduce the possibility of the drugs being supplied here and sold in other regions of the United States. A recent Florida law went into effect imposing some of the tightest opioid prescription restrictions in the country. Physicians are limited to a three-day supply for patients with acute pain. Only those who meet certain criteria will be allowed to receive the drug for up to seven days. Physicians and pharmacists also must consult with the state’s database and review patient history on prescribing and will be required to take continuing education courses on responsible opioid prescription. Michigan and Tennessee enacted similar measures at the same time, though Florida’s new statute is the strictest.
Drug trafficking in the Florida Statutes is defined by the intentional sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession or transport of specific amounts of Hydrocodone at 14 grams, Oxycodone at 7 grams, and Methamphetamine at 14 grams regarding the target drugs to remove from the streets. If a person is found to have these numbered weights of these three substances on their person, it may carry a trafficking offense along with the possession charge. The difference between these referenced amounts in grams to one less can be the difference in a felony charge or a misdemeanor charge being imposed. Florida Statute 893.15 establishes a mandatory minimum for these amounts at three years in prison with a $50,000 fine.
Defenses for Drug Trafficking Charges.
Since the burden of proof is on the prosecutors in cases of drug trafficking, you need to utilize defense strategies-based claiming:
- There is a lack of proof necessary to actions taken by defendant that directly align with each element of the crime charged with as outlined by the Florida law;
- Illegal search and seizure were conducted whereby the police did not have probable cause to initiate a search;
- Police did not have a warrant to conduct a search which led to the confiscation of illegal substances;
- The defendant was in the wrong place at the wrong time;
- There was no intent to distribute;
- Defendant was not aware drugs were in possession for trafficking activity.
Building a strong defense is the best action to a drug trafficking charge. Smuggling rings have even been known to use innocent people to move their merchandise. If you or someone you know has been arrested for any drug crime in Fort Lauderdale, contact drug crime attorney Gabriela C. Novo immediately for a confidential free consultation. The Law Offices of Gabriela C. Novo, P.A. will review your case and work with you for the best outcome.
200 S.E. 6th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301