Are You A Drug Dealer? Florida Law May Say “Yes”
To many, the persona of a drug dealer conjures up images of a poorly-dressed, unkempt, strung out social pariah selling crack cocaine in the dark alleys of Fort Lauderdale or other metropolitan areas in South Florida. While this sensationalized image of a drug trafficker is something straight out of old episodes of Miami Vice, it is far from the truth in most cases. In fact, a drug dealer could be someone you know – or even someone staring back at you from the mirror. Many people do not realize that their conduct actually falls within Florida’s drug laws until they are arrested for a violation. Because this is a mistake that can lead to serious consequences, you should talk to an experienced drug trafficking defense lawyer about how to fight the charges.
Florida’s Drug Trafficking Laws
The statutory definition of drug trafficking is intentionally selling, buying, producing, distributing, or transporting a designated amount of drugs listed on Florida’s schedule of controlled substances. However, note that even mere possession of a certain quantity can be trafficking. The statute assumes that having a great amount under your control is an indication that you plan on engaging in a prohibited transaction.
The statute mostly refers to amounts by weight, but some controlled substances are measured differently. For instance, being in possession of or dealing in a certain number of marijuana plants could lead to drug trafficking charges.
The Accidental Drug Deal
The reason you could be arrested for drug trafficking by mistake is that you may not realize the far-reaching implications of your actions. Part of the confusion with drug dealing is that no amount of money, and no objects of value, need to be exchanged for charges to apply. All of the following could lead to charges, as harmless as you think they may be:
- You buy a bag of marijuana for yourself, but give one joint to a friend;
- You have a valid, legal prescription for Xanax, and offer a few doses to your cousin who just lost his job;
- You have a legitimate medical marijuana card, which you use to give edibles to your roommate for buying groceries.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Florida
The criminal sanctions for a conviction on drug trafficking can be severe, ranging from three years’ incarceration and a $50,000 fine up to life in prison and a $500,000 fine. If your arrest is similar to one of the inadvertent drug deals above, there is a good chance this is your first trouble with the law. You could be eligible for probation. However, in some cases, there are mandatory minimums for drug dealing. No matter how innocent you may claim to be, you will be imprisoned for the amount of time designated by statute.
Rely on a Knowledgeable Florida Drug Crimes Attorney to Defend Your Interests
Drug trafficking covers more acts than you may expect, but your punishment can be just as harsh as the back-alley dealers of TV and movies. Therefore, it is important to retain solid representation to defend the charges. Please contact Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a free consultation, so we can get started on a defense strategy right away.