Florida Cocaine Laws
Florida’s location at the southern tip of the country has made it somewhat of a popular spot for the importation of drugs, particularly for cocaine. The 1980s in Florida saw kilograms of cocaine drifting into Miami, along with finances and kingpins that eventually helped build the skyline of the city. And while the presence of cartels has decreased, cocaine remains the drug of choice in many areas of Florida.
Of course, possession of cocaine is a crime in the state of Florida, and a crime that Florida takes fairly seriously, given the history of cocaine sale and commerce in the state. Here are some details of Florida’s prohibition on cocaine.
Types of Offenses
Florida prohibits activities involving cocaine, and divides these activities into three categories: possession, sale, and trafficking. Possession, even of a small quantity, can net an offender a felony charge. Possession of over 28 grams is considered trafficking, a first-degree felony punishable by imprisonment and hefty fines, while the sale of cocaine is a second-degree felony.
The possession, sale, and trafficking of cocaine is punishable by fines and imprisonment, and the sentences are hefty. Possession of cocaine itself is a felony charge, and in larger quantities, jail time can top decades and fines can rise above $50,000. Possession of 28-200 grams even without other evidence of intent to sell constitutes trafficking, with a potential sentence of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Possession of 200-400 grams could result in fines of up to $100,000 and jail time of up to seven years. Possession of between 400 grams and 150 kilograms can send an offender to prison for up to 15 years and result in fines up to $250,000. And possession of over 150 grams can lead to potential life in prison.
Relevant Factors in Sentencing
Although Florida law sets sentencing guidelines for cocaine-related activities, the law permits variance in which charges and what sentences should apply in individual cases. Convictions for drug offenses involving cocaine can depend on an offender’s criminal history and whether he or she has any prior drug convictions, extenuating circumstances like whether and to whom the drugs were actually sold or transferred, whether additional offenses were committed in the process, and whether the drug offense was committed in or near a school zone. Some offenders may be eligible for plea bargains or for diversion or treatment programs.
In addition to prohibitions on the possession, sale, and trafficking of cocaine, Florida law also lists offenses involving cocaine including manufacturing and cultivation as well as distribution. These offenses are even more serious under Florida law than possession, and can easily lead to the massive fines and long jail times previously discussed.
Have you been accused of a drug crime, including an offense involving cocaine? At Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian in Tampa Bay, our experienced criminal defense lawyers are prepared to advocate for your rights, and may be able to assist you in lowering or dismissing the charges against you. If you have been accused of a crime or have already been arrested, call toll-free at 1 (800) 227-2275 for a consultation today.