Sale and Trafficking of Controlled Substances
Under Florida law, the sale, delivery, purchase, or trafficking of controlled substances. Popular "street drugs" such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA are considered controlled substances under Florida Statute section 893.13. Trafficking charges carry greater punishments than simple possession charges.
Often, the type and amount of drugs in possession determines what charges are filed. This means that the mere presence of a substantial quantity of drugs, or the possession of drugs coupled with large amount of cash can substantially impact the severity of the charge. Moreover, the presence of individually packaged units, or similar products suggesting trafficking, may trigger a trafficking charge, even if no transactions actually occurred.
Drug trafficking charges are serious charges with harsh criminal penalties and consequences. A person arrested for sale or delivery of controlled substances in Miami or throughout South Florida needs a criminal defense attorney with experience and knowledge of drug-related offenses to aggressively defend them against their charges. The law offices of Ralph Behr have a history of successfully defending these charges.What Types of Drugs Are Considered Controlled Substances?
Florida law forbids a person from selling or delivering a "controlled substance."
Controlled substances are regulated by both the state and federal government. The "schedule" of the drug determines the severity of the charge. For example, the law considers marijuana and heroin to be Schedule 1 drugs with no medical value and the highest potential for abuse. Schedule 5 drugs are considered least dangerous and addictive, with some accepted medicinal values.
The charge of sale of delivery of a controlled substance could involve hundreds of illegal drugs, including: cannabis, cocaine, MDMA, Xanax, methamphetamine, LSD, and more. For a list of all controlled substances and their schedules, see Florida Statute section 893.03.What the Prosecution Must Show to Convict a Defendant of Trafficking Charges
To prove the crime of drug trafficking, the prosecutor must prove two elements.
- First, the defendant sold or delivered a certain substance; and
- Second, the substance was a specific controlled substance.
If the defendant is also charged with possession, the prosecutor must also prove the defendant knew that the substance was in their possession.Penalties for Drug Trafficking Charges
Under Florida law, the penalties for trafficking are dependent on the type and amount of the drug that the defendant is in possession of. Although overwhelmingly, the crime is charged as a felony of the second-degree.
A second-degree felony carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Certain factors can lead to these penalties being enhanced. To name a few examples:
- If controlled substances are sold within 1,000 feet of a school, church, retirement home, park, or public housing complex.
- If the sale is to a minor, or if a minor is solicited to traffic by an adult.
- If the defendant has prior drug-related convictions.
- If the defendant is in possession of a firearm while engaged in the sale of drugs.
There are any number of possible defenses that can be invoked in order to protect and defend individuals from drug trafficking charges. If you were arrested for drug charges in Miami or south Florida, contact criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr for a free consultation of your case: 800-761-3446.