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Drug Trafficking Attorneys in Clearwater, Florida

Unlike simple drug possession that might involve small quantities for personal use, trafficking charges are levied on individuals accused of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing large amounts of controlled substances.  

Florida's access to international waterways makes it common for drug trafficking activities, ranging from cocaine to fentanyl, leading law enforcement agencies to vigorously prosecute these crimes. 

At The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., we understand these charges come with hefty penalties, which is why we are dedicated to providing strategic legal guidance throughout the entire process. We proudly serve clients in Clearwater, Florida, and throughout New Port Richey, Tampa, St. Petersburg. Schedule a free consultation today to get experienced legal assistance

Understanding Drug Trafficking Laws in Florida 

Florida's drug trafficking laws, as defined in Florida Statutes § 893.13, place significant emphasis on the quantity of the controlled substance in question. This aspect is crucial since the law assigns minimum mandatory sentences that are strictly based on the type and amount of drug, significantly reducing the judge's flexibility in sentencing. Specifically: 

  • Cannabis: Possession of more than a certain amount automatically classifies an individual as a trafficker, with sentences increasing with the quantity. In Florida, if you have more than 25 pounds or 300 plants, you can face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. 

  • Cocaine: As per Florida law, possession of more than 28 grams requires a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The quantity increases for higher sentences, such as 150 kilograms or more, leading to a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

  • Opioids: Florida's drug trafficking laws also cover opioids like fentanyl, heroin, and oxycodone. Possession of just four grams of fentanyl or its derivatives carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Higher quantities can lead to sentences of up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. 

  • LSD: Possession of just one gram results in a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. For higher quantities, sentences can reach up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. 

  • Prescription Medications: Even legal medications, when possessed in large quantities without a valid prescription, can lead to trafficking charges. 

This structure essentially means that merely possessing quantities of these substances beyond specified limits can categorize someone as a trafficker, regardless of whether there was any intent to distribute those drugs. 

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Legal Implications of Drug Trafficking Charges

The penalties for drug trafficking in Florida are among the harshest in the United States. Individuals convicted of trafficking face severe consequences, including: 

  • Substantial prison time: Trafficking convictions often result in long-term imprisonment, with sentences varying based on the amount and type of drug involved. 

  • Hefty fines: Convicts may be required to pay significant fines, potentially amounting to thousands or even millions of dollars, depending on the severity of the offense. 

  • Permanent criminal record: A trafficking conviction leaves a permanent mark on one's criminal record, impacting future employment, housing, and more. 

  • Mandatory minimum sentences: Unlike other drug-related charges, trafficking carries mandatory minimum sentences, leaving little room for leniency. 

Given these dire consequences, it is crucial for those accused of drug trafficking to seek experienced legal representation immediately to navigate the complexities of the legal system and potentially mitigate the penalties. 

Possible Defenses for Drug Trafficking

When facing drug trafficking charges in Florida, several defense strategies may be employed by legal counsel to challenge the prosecution's case. These strategies can vary widely based on the specifics of the case, but common defenses include: 

  • Lack of knowledge: Arguing that the accused was unaware of the presence of the controlled substance. 

  • Insufficient quantity: Contesting the actual amount of drugs, possibly reducing the charge to a lesser offense if the quantity does not meet trafficking thresholds. 

  • Unlawful search and seizure: Claiming that law enforcement violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the accused during the discovery of the drugs. 

  • Entrapment: Suggesting that the defendant was induced to commit a crime they would not have otherwise engaged in. 

  • Problems with the chain of custody: Pointing out issues in how the evidence was handled or documented from the time it was seized. 

  • Invalid consent: Challenging the legality of how consent was obtained to search the property or vehicle where drugs were found. 

How The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A. Can Help

At The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., our skilled attorneys are equipped to challenge the prosecution's case at every turn. From questioning the legality of the traffic stop to the handling and analysis of the seized substances, we meticulously scrutinize every aspect of the case.  

We recognize that each case is unique, with its own set of facts and circumstances. Our approach is to provide a tailored defense strategy aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. Whether it's negotiating for reduced charges, seeking alternative sentencing options, or fighting for an acquittal at trial, our team is committed to vigorously defending your rights.

Drug Trafficking Attorneys Serving Clearwater, Florida

If you or someone you know is facing drug trafficking charges in Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, or any other part of Florida, don't delay in seeking legal representation. At The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., we offer confidential free consultations to assess your case and discuss your legal options. Contact us today and take the first step towards protecting your future.