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When the average person hears the term drug trafficking, they usually think of bricks of cocaine piled on top of each other, bales of marijuana wrapped in plastic and cash stacked to the ceiling. But in Florida, drug trafficking has an entirely different meaning than it does on your favorite Netflix special. The Florida drug trafficking laws are some of the strictest in the country due to the unjust mandatory minimum prison sentences. These mandatory sentences are outdated and take the power out of the hands of reasonable judges. Rather than deter future drug trafficking, these penalties are exploited by prosecutors as a means to convince defendants to plead guilty. Lawmakers have shown no sign of abolishing these outdated laws, which makes it all the more important to show up to court prepared to fight. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who specializes in drug trafficking charges in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. He has won numerous jury trials and has secured dismissals in felony drug charges throughout Florida. He is standing by to offer a free consultation about which defenses may be available in your case.
A defendant can be charged with trafficking for possessing, selling, buying or even transporting a specified quantity of drugs. The Florida drug trafficking laws under 893.135 provide various mandatory minimum penalties depending on the type of controlled substance and the amount seized. Trafficking cannabis is one of the more common charges, and applies in any drug bust where law enforcement recovers at least 25 pounds of pot or at least 300 plants. The specific mandatory penalties for cannabis trafficking are as follows: 3 years in prison for 25 pounds or 300 plants, 7 years in prison for 2,000 pounds or 2,000 plants and 15 years in prison for 10,000 pounds or 10,000 plants. The mandatory penalties must be served day for day, and the defendant cannot be granted parole. Heavy fines are also mandatory in Florida trafficking cases, with fines for cannabis coming in at $25, $50 and $200 thousand.
Trafficking in cocaine is another common trafficking offense, and the weights that trigger these charges are relatively low. Just one ounce of cocaine can trigger a drug trafficking charge. The mandatory penalties for cocaine include a 3-year sentence and a $50k fine for 28 grams and a 7-year sentence and $100k fine for 200 grams. Trafficking 400 or more grams of cocaine triggers a 15-year mandatory prison sentence and a $250k fine. The highest non-violent drug trafficking crime on the books is trafficking in more than 150 kilograms of cocaine, which carries a mandatory life sentence upon conviction. Heroin and fentanyl have the lowest trafficking thresholds, with the 3-year mandatory penalty beginning at just 4 grams. A 7-year penalty is triggered at 14 grams, and at 28 grams a defendant faces a 15-year mandatory penalty for heroin and a 25-year sentence for fentanyl. The mandatory penalties for trafficking oxycodone start at 7 grams and increase at 14, 25 and 100 grams. Trafficking more than 30 kilograms of heroin, fentanyl or oxycodone carries a mandatory life sentence.
Trafficking in amphetamine is the Florida crime associated with large amounts of meth. The penalties for this offense begin at 14 grams, increase at 28 grams and again at 200 grams. There are dozens of other drugs that fall under the Florida drug trafficking statute, and each has its own set of penalties depending on the quantity that was seized. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida drug trafficking lawyer who has defended clients in cases involving almost every commonly used controlled substance. He fights tooth and nail for all of his clients that are facing unjust and outdated mandatory penalties for drug charges. The drug trafficking laws need to change in Florida, but until they do, having a skilled an experienced lawyer may be the only thing standing between you and a prison sentence. Benjamin explores every possible option to fight trafficking cases, and has won numerous motions to suppress evidence due to illegal searches. He also never backs away from taking a case to jury trial if that is the best decision. Benjamin provides all clients with his cell phone number for access on nights and weekends, and he prioritizes being accessible and staying in touch with his clients throughout the process of the case. Call Benjamin today at (954) 543-0305 to discuss which defenses may be available in your case.