Michael R. Ohle, Esq.
Whenever you read the metro or police beat sections of Florida newspapers, you are likely to run into news items such as the following: "Jane Doe, 28, 300th block of 14th Street, Fort Pierce; trafficking in marijuana in excess of X pounds or X plants or more." Such a news item usually indicates that law enforcement officers from a city, county or state agency found probable cause to make an arrest under drug trafficking statutes in Florida.
"Trafficking" is an all-encompassing term used to describe a number of prohibited acts related to controlled substances in the Sunshine State. In essence, trafficking charges in Florida are all those not related to simple drug possession; these are serious felonies that usually entail:
- possession in excess of specific amounts
For each of these acts, prohibited acts above, Florida prosecutors have multiple strategies they can pursue for the purpose of getting a conviction. These are very serious charges that can result in years in prison, considerable fines and lengthy terms of probation and supervised release; they can also result in loss of employment and forfeiture of professional licenses in some cases.
Florida's legal statues on drug trafficking
Florida statute 893.135 deals with criminal offenses related to drug trafficking. Some legal analysts consider this law to be onerous because it includes provisions with regard to possession of a certain quantity of controlled substances such as marijuana and prescription drugs such as oxycodone.
Prosecutors who handle drug trafficking offenses in Florida tend to build their cases with a substantial amount of complexity. For example, if a traffic stop in Vero Beach results in an officer finding marijuana in the car, prosecutors may investigate if the driver was going to Stuart or Okeechobee just so they can build a case around distribution. Fortunately, experienced Fort Pierce drug trafficking attorneys can detect prosecutorial intent for the purpose of deconstructing their cases.
Fort Pierce drug trafficking lawyers know that Florida prosecutors can be overzealous when it comes to handling cases related to drug offenses. In fact, prosecutors often resort to the conspiracy provision of the trafficking statute to charge suspects who do not actually handle—much less sell, manufacture or distribute—controlled substances. Conspiracy charges often arise from reverse-sting operations or when undercover agents or confidential informants become desperate.
If you (or a loved one) are charged with drug trafficking in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee or Vero Beach, Florida, chances are that prosecutors will resort to case law and review their practice manuals in order to pursue their case and prevail. For this reason, it is crucial to retain the services of a seasoned Fort Pierce drug trafficking attorney who can raise constructive defenses. From challenging the admissibility of evidence to Fourth Amendment violations and from entrapment to dubious police work, criminal defense attorneys have various legal strategies to ensure that their clients could enjoy the most favorable outcome under their particular circumstances.
Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties