Orlando Drug Trafficking Lawyer

As leading drug crimes lawyers in Central Florida, we understand how to navigate the complexities associated with serious drug crimes, including drug trafficking. If you’ve been charged with a drug offense in Florida, time is of the essence. Schedule a consultation today. 

Florida takes drug crimes extremely seriously. If convicted of a drug offense, even just a drug possession charge, you could face jail time, steep fines, and a permanent criminal record. As the seriousness of the drug crime escalates, the penalties increase sharply, and Florida reserves some of the most severe punishments for drug trafficking offenses. 

If you or a loved one were charged with drug trafficking in Orlando, you may be feeling confused, scared, or even hopeless. Don’t give up — Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense is here to help you navigate your defense strategy options. One of our aggressive Orlando criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. 

This article will explain everything you need to know about drug trafficking charges, including key elements of the crime, possible penalties, common legal defenses, what the prosecution must prove to secure a conviction, and how an Orlando drug trafficking lawyer can help. 

The Crime of Trafficking a Controlled Substance in Florida

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In the State of Florida, the charge of trafficking a controlled substance is defined by Florida Statutes Section 893.135. It refers to the illegal sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance at specified quantities. It is considered a severe crime, and conviction results in various harsh penalties.

Here are a few of the key elements of drug trafficking charges, according to Florida law:

  • Possession or involvement. To be charged, the individual must have been found in possession of or involved in the sale, manufacture, purchase, delivery, or transportation of a controlled substance.
  • Specific quantity. The amount of controlled substance must meet or exceed certain quantity thresholds specified by Florida drug law. These thresholds vary, depending on the type of drug.
  • Knowledge. The individual’s involvement can’t be accidental; they must knowingly possess or be involved with the controlled substance.

To be charged with trafficking a controlled substance, individuals must meet various threshold amounts. Here are a few examples for the most commonly trafficked drugs:

  • Marijuana or cannabis trafficking: possession of 25 pounds or more, or 300 or more plants
  • Cocaine trafficking: possession of 28 grams or more
  • Heroin trafficking: possession of 4 grams or more
  • Methamphetamine trafficking: possession of 14 grams or more
  • Fentanyl trafficking: possession of 4 grams or more

Drug trafficking is one of the most serious drug crimes in Florida, and the punishments associated with conviction go beyond legal penalties. They include life-long consequences with the power to devastate social, personal, and professional relationships, which is why working with a trusted drug crimes lawyer from the get-go is critical.

What to Do if You’ve Been Arrested for Drug Trafficking in Orlando

Make no mistake: If you’ve been arrested for drug trafficking in Orlando, your freedom hangs in the balance. Your actions during and after your arrest will play a tremendous role in determining the final outcome of your case. The best way to protect your rights and ensure your drug crimes attorney can build a rock-solid, strategic defense is by doing the following:

  • Remain silent. Exercise your Fifth Amendment rights by staying silent. Politely refuse to discuss your case, actions, or involvement with police or anyone else. Simply state that you wish to speak with your drug trafficking attorney and remain silent until they arrive.
  • Ask for an attorney. You have a right to legal representation, and our criminal defense law firm is here to make sure you have top-tier legal guidance. Don’t discuss your case with anyone before speaking with your lawyer — not even your friends, family members, or cellmates.
  • Document your arrest. As soon as you’re able, write down everything you remember that happened during and after your arrest. The circumstances of your arrest, including details about the time, place, interactions with police officers, and witnesses, may end up playing a crucial role in your defense strategy.
  • Follow your attorney’s legal advice. Your lawyer has the expertise, knowledge, and experience needed to navigate the legal system efficiently, so follow their lead. Adhere to advice and instructions, attend all scheduled court appearances, comply with bail conditions, and try to provide any information your attorney requests.
  • Understand your charges. The first step in beating your charges, getting them reduced, or pursuing a dismissal is understanding the nature and the implications of your criminal charges. Your attorney can help you navigate these complexities as you develop a strategic legal defense.

Remember: Just because you’ve been charged with drug trafficking doesn’t mean you are guilty of committing it — or that you will be found guilty. The most important thing to do at this point in the process is securing top-tier legal advocacy and assisting them to the best of your ability.

What Must a Prosecutor Prove for a Drug Trafficking Conviction?

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In any criminal case, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. In order to convict you of drug trafficking, the prosecutor will need to prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt, including the following:

  • The defendant knowingly possessed, sold, purchased, manufactured, delivered, or transported a controlled substance, having actual knowledge of the substance and its illegal nature.
  • The defendant had actual possession or constructive possession of the controlled substance, meaning it was either found on the defendant’s person/in their immediate control or found in a location the defendant controls.
  • The amount of the controlled substance found in the defendant’s possession exceeds the threshold amounts for trafficking.
  • The defendant intended to sell, purchase, manufacture, transport, or deliver the controlled substance, as evidenced by large quantities, packaging materials, ledgers, large amounts of cash, or by testimonies or surveillance footage.

The prosecution may present various types of evidence to support their claims. This may include direct evidence, such as witness testimonies and defendant’s statements/admissions, or circumstantial evidence, such as suspicious behavior or financial records. They will also utilize physical evidence collected from the scene, such as the controlled substance itself and any paraphernalia that was seized.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Orlando?

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Due to the sheer volume of controlled substances involved in these cases, drug trafficking penalties in Florida are almost always severe. However, as with other types of drug charges, the specific penalties depend on the type and amount of drug, as well as factors like prior convictions and involvement of minors.

Here are some of the base penalties for drug trafficking in Florida:

  • Marijuana: 
  • Penalties for 25 to 2,000 pounds or 300 to 2,000 plants are a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
  • Penalties for 2,000 to 10,000 pounds or 2,000 to 10,000 plants are a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and fines up to $200,000.
  • Penalties for over 10,000 pounds or 10,000 plants are a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years of prison time and a fine up to $200,000.
  • Cocaine: 
  • Penalties for 28 to 200 grams are a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
  • Penalties for 200 to 400 grams are a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Penalties for 400 grams to 150 kilograms are a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
  • Heroin:
  • Penalties for 4 to 14 grams is a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
  • Penalties for 14 to 28 grams is a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Penalties for 28 grams to 30 kilograms is a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000.
  • Methamphetamine:
  • Penalties for 14 to 28 grams is a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
  • Penalties for 28 to 200 grams is a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Penalties for 200 grams or more is a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Keep in mind that these are just base penalties — the presence of aggravating factors can lead to enhanced sentences. These factors include prior convictions of repeat offenders, the use of deadly weapons in trafficking activities, the use of minors in the sale of transport of illegal drugs, and exceptionally large quantities of controlled substances.

How Can I Fight Drug Trafficking Charges?

Here’s the good news: There are several effective legal defense strategies for fighting drug trafficking charges in Florida. The best approach for you depends on the specific details of your case and your individual circumstances. Here are a few of the arguments we may be able to make on your behalf:

  • Police misconduct. Misconduct on the part of law enforcement officers, such as planting evidence, falsifying reports, or using excessive force, undermines the integrity of the prosecution’s case against you.
  • Lack of knowledge. You didn’t knowingly possess or traffick controlled substances, and you were unaware of the presence of the drugs.
  • Absence of intent. Although you possessed the controlled substances, you had no intent to sell or distribute them; they were for personal use only.
  • Entrapment. Police officers persuaded or coerced you into committing a trafficking offense that you wouldn’t have otherwise committed.
  • Unlawful search and seizure. Law enforcement officers violated your Fourth Amendment rights, and the evidence they obtained was from an illegal search and seizure and should be inadmissible in court.

After a thorough review of the details of your case, we will guide you to the best defense strategy to ensure the most advantageous case outcome.

Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense: Orlando Drug Trafficking Lawyers

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Oftentimes, the final outcome of a criminal case is determined by more than the evidence and the prosecution — it depends on the quality of criminal defense lawyer, too. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime in Orlando, you need to act fast to protect your future. So don’t wait! Contact Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense to speak with a top-quality Orlando drug trafficking lawyer today.

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