If I plea to Drug Trafficking charges can the judge put me on probation without sending me to prison?

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Q: If I plea to Drug Trafficking charges can the judge put me on probation without sending me to prison?

A: The judge is not permitted to depart from Florida Statute 893.135. The law specifically tells the judge what the minimum sentence for drug trafficking is. The minimum sentence is mandatory incarceration in Florida State Prison. The minimum prison sentence is determined by the weight of the drugs. The Office of the State Attorney is the only party involved in this process that can facilitate a departure from a prison sentence and waive the mandatory incarceration authorized by Florida law for drug trafficking. The judge has no discretion unless the Office of the State Attorney gives the discretion to the judge by waiving the mandatory prison sentence. Waiving the mandatory prison sentence for drug trafficking must be done in open court.

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