What’s Drug Trafficking Really Like in Florida?

The term drug trafficking often makes people think of Miami Vice with cigarette boats, gun battles in the streets and mountains and mountains of drugs. This is very rarely the case. In fact, there does not even have to be an allegation that you are trying to sell drugs to find yourself charged with drug trafficking. Simply possessing an illegal drug in excess of specified quantities is drug trafficking in the State of Florida, even if it is for personal use.

What makes this so frightening is that the charge of drug trafficking carries mandatory prison sentences and enormous monetary fines. The amount of prison or fine depends on the drug and the amount possessed. These mandatory prison sentences and fines apply even if a person has no prior criminal history. In addition, they include the entirety of the substance and not just the weight of the active ingredient. This means that it takes very few pills of Oxycontin for example to rise to the level of trafficking.

There are a limited number of ways to get the courts and the State to deviate from the mandatory prison time. If a person is under 21 at the time they are sentenced they may qualify as a youthful offender, giving rise to the possibility of a lesser sentence. Often in these cases the State and local law enforcement agency will approach a defendant to see if he or she wants to provide substantial assistance or “snitch”: to set up other defendants in sting operations. Should a person choose to do this and become a confidential informant, the State will often agree to lessen the sentence depending on how much assistance the defendant can and will provide.

Other than those two reasons, a defendant charged with drug trafficking needs to get the State to agree to amend the charge to something that does not include mandatory prison, or win the case through litigation. Because there is so much riding on these cases, it is crucial that you hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys. Contact the Orlando lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm today – (407)228-3838.