Understanding the laws governing the possession and sale of drugs has become increasingly difficult in our connected but fragmented world. However, what is very clear is that the difference between drug possession and drug trafficking charges can mean the difference between probation or a short time in a local jail and a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 – 5 years to life in prison.
In other words, the consequences for a drug trafficking conviction are much more severe than for a possession conviction. In either case, you need an experienced defense attorney to help you obtain the best possible outcome. However, if you’ve been charged with a federal offense of drug trafficking, you need an attorney with special experience in federal criminal defense.
Florida Drug Possession Charges
A charge of drug possession means you were found in possession of an illegal drug or controlled substance (a substance for which the use and distribution is controlled by law) without the intent to distribute the drug. You could have been caught using drugs or having them on you or in place that you have control over (e.g., in your car, in a locker, in your home).
Under state law, simple possession is typically charged as a misdemeanor, with convictions usually resulting in a fine, probation, or a short jail term, depending on your history with the criminal justice system. Granted, no one wants a conviction on his record, but if you were found in possession of a specified amount of drugs and it appeared you were intending on selling them, you could have been charged with trafficking, an offense that carries a much more severe punishment.
Florida and Federal Drug Trafficking Charges
Drug trafficking entails selling, transporting or importing illegal drugs or prescription drugs sold illegally and is a much more serious charge than possession. For merely possessing a specified amount of illegal drugs, you can be charged with trafficking and face a minimum mandatory sentence. For example, in Florida, a judge must sentence a person convicted of trafficking in 28 grams, or one ounce, of cocaine to a minimum three year prison sentence, $50,000 fine, and other sanctions, including a one year driver’s license suspension.
If you have transported illegal drugs across state lines, you will most likely be prosecuted in federal court, where drug charges typically carry harsher punishments than at the state level. Sentences range from 3 – 5 years with significant fines to life in prison. In these trafficking cases, the severity of the punishment depends on the type and amount of the drugs involved, the place where you were apprehended, and your criminal record.
Defending Against Drug Charges
Whether you’ve been charged with a drug offense by the state or the federal government, you need an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights and defend your freedom. With over 18 years of experience representing clients in Orlando and throughout Florida, attorney Jonathan Rose has the knowledge and skill to build the best defense for you.
As a former Marine, Mr. Rose is not afraid to take on the most challenging cases. He believes strongly in your right to a good defense and is committed to helping protect your future.
If you’ve been charged with drug possession or drug trafficking, please don’t hesitate to get the help you need to build a strong defense. Call 407-894-4555 or submit our online form today.