Even if you do not consider yourself a drug kingpin or a drug dealer, you could be charged with drug trafficking in Fort Lauderdale if you’re caught with a large quantity of a drug. Prosecutors charge drug trafficking when the accused is believed to have engaged in activities involving a threshold amount of an illegal drug. You will face a mandatory minimum sentence if you are convicted of drug trafficking. It is advisable to consult an experienced Fort Lauderdale drug trafficking attorney if you are charged with this sort of offense in Broward County.Drug Trafficking
Drug trafficking occurs when somebody intentionally sells, buys, possesses, manufactures, delivers or transports into the state a threshold amount of a drug. There are different thresholds for different drugs. The threshold amount to be charged with cannabis trafficking, for example, is 25 pounds or 300 plants. The threshold amount to be charged with fentanyl trafficking or heroin trafficking, on the other hand, is 4 grams. The threshold for hydrocodone is 14 grams.Penalties
Penalties are imposed based on the quantity over the threshold that was trafficked. There are tiered penalties. At each tier in which the amount of the drug at issue increases, the mandatory minimum penalties increase, too.
Every drug carries different penalties. For example, the mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in 25 lbs. to 2,000 lbs. of cannabis is 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in 2,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs. of cannabis is 7 years in prison plus a $50,000 fine. The mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in 10,000 lbs. or more of cannabis is 15 years imprisonment plus a $200,000 fine.
However, the mandatory minimum sentence is 4 years of imprisonment and a $50,000 fine if you’re caught trafficking in 14 to 28 grams of methamphetamine. The mandatory minimum sentence is 7 years of imprisonment and a $100,000 fine for trafficking in 8 to 200 grams of methamphetamine. The mandatory minimum sentence for 200 grams or more of methamphetamine is 15 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.Defenses
Elements of drug trafficking need to be established beyond a reasonable doubt, and a skilled defense attorney can help you raise counterarguments to the prosecution’s case. Reasonable doubt is a tough standard, and sometimes the most effective defense is to raise reasonable doubt at trial or with a prosecutor during plea negotiations. For example, if you’re charged with methamphetamine trafficking, it might be appropriate to try to raise reasonable doubt about the amount of the substance, and in that case you may be able to negotiate a plea for methamphetamine sale or methamphetamine possession, crimes for which there is no mandatory minimum.
In certain circumstances it may be possible to raise a substantive defense like entrapment in a drug trafficking case. There are two kinds of entrapment defenses in Florida. If you raise subjective entrapment, you would try to show you weren’t predisposed towards drug trafficking. The court would analyze whether you were an innocent person pulled into trafficking without the predisposition to perpetrate the crime. You would need to prove: (1) a law enforcement officer or someone in cooperation with him, (2) encouraged or induced and as a direct result, (3) caused you to perpetrate drug trafficking (4) by using ways of persuading or inducing that would generate a substantial risk that a crime would be perpetrated by somebody other than somebody ready to commit it.
Objective entrapment is a defense that examines whether a police officer’s conduct is a due process violation. You would generally only raise this defense if the conduct of the police or other law enforcement was so outrageous that the government should not be able to secure a conviction through judicial process.Consult a Drug Trafficking Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
If you were charged with drug trafficking in Fort Lauderdale, The Hoffman Firm can potentially provide you with legal representation by a tough, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. We represent clients in communities including Deerfield Beach, Plantation, Davie, Sunrise, Pembroke Pines, and throughout Broward County. We can be reached at (954) 524-4474 or through our online form.