What’s the penalty for drug trafficking in Florida?

Drug Trafficking FAQs

Drug trafficking is one of the few criminal charges in this state that requires a person to serve mandatory prison.  Below are just a few of many questions I receive as a St. Petersburg drug crimes attorney regarding how to beat a drug trafficking charge.

Q: What’s the penalty for drug trafficking in Florida?

A: Drug trafficking is a first-degree felony in Florida, and it carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Q:  How do you get out of serving prison?

A:  The law allows only the Office of the State Attorney to waive the mandatory prison sentence and allows the court to impose any legal sentence once the mandatory prison time is waived.

Q: How do you get the Office of the State Attorney to waive the mandatory prison sentence on a Florida drug trafficking charge? 

A: The Office of the State Attorney has the sole power to remove the mandatory prison sentence.  Not even the judge has this power.  The Office of the State Attorney will waive the mandatory prison sentence for drug trafficking in any of three scenarios.  First, the facts of the case are weak.  Second, a legal issue (motion to suppress or motion to dismiss) arises which could affect the outcome of the case.  Third, the person charged works the charges off as a confidential informant for the police.

Q: How can I get the Office of the State Attorney to consider removing my mandatory prison sentence for drug trafficking?

A: The most successful thing you can do is hire an attorney.  Attorneys have a direct line to the Office of the State Attorney that you or your family will not have.  Since we represent you we can advocate on your behalf and use our skills and knowledge to weaken the States’ case and better your situation.

Q: What if I was in possession of the drugs because I am addict?

A: This is a common situation.  Sometimes you can sway the Office of the State Attorney to send you for drug treatment and other times you cannot.  Each situation is different.  A drug evaluation and a recommended treatment plan could help your situation, but your prior criminal record will also heavily affect your case outcome.

Q: How much prison time am I facing for drug trafficking in Florida?

A: The maximum time in prison is potentially life in prison.  The mandatory prison imposed is based on the weight of the drug as it is determined by a certified lab.  For more information on the exact drugs and weight visit our drug trafficking FAQs.

Q: What if I have a prescription for the drugs I am charged with trafficking?

A: If you have a valid prescription for the drugs it is imperative that you get proof of the prescription to the Office of the State Attorney.  Once the information is verified by the Office of the State Attorney your case will most likely get dropped.

Q: Should I cooperate with the police to “work off” my charges?

A: This is a personal decision that should be made after consulting an attorney.  Not every situation requires you to work for the police in order to get a beneficial outcome.  Sometimes, the only option that shows any likelihood of a positive outcome is working for law enforcement as a confidential informant.

Q: What should I do if I go to trial and lose?

A: Stay in contact with your attorney and see what legal options are available for a new trial.  Consider filing an appeal but do not delay as there are time limits that you must abide by.  Your last option to evaluate is a post conviction relief motion, typically filed under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850.

Q: Do I need an attorney to file an appeal on my drug trafficking case?

A: You can file an appeal Pro Se.  There are a great number of benefits though to having a skilled attorney handle your appeal.  The attorney will have a greater handle on the legal issues of the case and how to make the proper arguments while complying with the courts procedural rules.

Florida drug trafficking laws are complicated.  Having your attorney advocate for you and seek their advice to avoid any missteps that could land you in prison.  Call your St. Petersburg drug crimes attorneys today at (727) 797-9600.

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