TRAFFICKING IN COCAINE
Orlando Drugs Defense Attorney Handles Cocaine Trafficking Cases
What is considered cocaine trafficking?
As discussed on other pages in this site, possessing (or purchasing, manufacturing, delivering or bringing into the state) an illegal drug becomes trafficking based on the amount.
What amounts constitute trafficking when it comes to cocaine?
The drug trafficking statute in Florida is 893.135, which sets out, when it comes to cocaine, that anyone that knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into the state of Florida, or anyone knowingly in actual or constructive possession of 28 grams or more of cocaine or a mixture containing cocaine, is considered to be “trafficking in cocaine”.
What are the penalties for cocaine trafficking in Florida?
Any violation of cocaine trafficking laws is a first degree felony (punishable by up to thirty years in prison), and involves enhanced penalties depending on the amounts involved, as follows:
- Over 28 grams, but less than 200 grams has a three year minimum mandatory in prison, and a mandatory $50,000.00 fine.
- Over 200 grams, but less than 400 grams has a seven year minimum mandatory in prison, and a mandatory $100,000.00 fine.
- Over 400 grams but less than 150 kilograms has a 15 year minimum mandatory in prison, and a mandatory $250,000.00 fine.
- Over 150 kilograms commits the first degree felony of trafficking in cocaine, which has a mandatory minimum of life in prison.
Other Penalty Enhancements:
- If a person commits the life felony of trafficking in over 150 kilograms of cocaine, and in the course of doing so kills or instructs another to kill someone, or if their conduct leads to another’s death, they have committed capital trafficking in cocaine, and can face the death penalty.
- If a person knowingly brings in 300 kilograms or more of cocaine or a mixture containing cocaine into the state of Florida, and who knows a probable result of such importation would be the death of any person, commits capital importation of cocaine and can face the death penalty.
Attorney David P. Hill, an experienced Orlando Cocaine Trafficking Lawyer who has 29 years of experience, can help in dealing with these very stiff and serious penalties when charged with trafficking in cocaine. The following are just some defenses. Our offices will look at your individual case and craft an appropriate defense based on your particular facts.
- Knowing aspect of the charge: The State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew or should have known they were in possession of the cocaine in question. Sometimes drugs are found in the vicinity of a person, but that does not necessarily mean it belonged to them or that they knew it was there (if, for example, it was in a closed container or piece of luggage). There are cases when drugs are sent by fedex or other shipping companies to an address, but the State has to prove that the person who the package was addressed to knew what was contained in the package. Just because a person takes an unopened package into their house does not necessarily establish they knew what was in it.
Another aspect of knowledge comes in on the question of whether the accused knew that the substance they are accused of trafficking was cocaine. It is a defense to the charge of trafficking that the person did not know the substance was cocaine; after all, a white powdered substance can be any number of things besides cocaine.
- Weight: As the penalties are all tied to specific weights being involved, it is very important in cases where the weight is close in terms of being trafficking or not, or in terms of being a lesser or greater penalty, to think of ways to get the weight being charged down. This can be done by challenging that law enforcement included packaging materials when they did the weighing. Sometimes drugs can dry out when being stored in evidence lockers, and a reweighing can be requested since the drying out may lessen the weight down to lower penalty or to a non-trafficking amount.
- Entrapment: Often times in drug trafficking cases police will use confidential informants to help them work their cases. Police will also pose undercover as buyers or sellers. They will use these techniques to try to induce individuals to engage in trafficking in illegal drugs, including cocaine. However, there exists the defense of entrapment, in which the argument can be presented that the person was induced or entrapped into the illegal behavior when they weren’t ready to commit the crime but for the inducement. The entrapment statute (777.201) puts it this way: entrapment is committed by law enforcement if “for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, he or she induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.”
How can we help?
Trafficking in cocaine is always a very serious offense if you keep in mind that the lowest penalty one is facing is at least three years in prison, and it can go up to life in prison. Attorney David Hill has 29 years as an Orlando and Florida cocaine trafficking attorney. In addition to looking carefully at the facts in your case to see what defense or defenses can be raised, he will actively engage with the prosecutor in the case, all with the goal of getting the charge dropped, or getting the penalty down to something less than trafficking. Sometimes accused individuals want to cooperate with law enforcement, but want to have the assistance of their attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor and/or detectives involved. Sometime accused individuals want to fight all aspects of the case by filing pretrial motions and going to trial if necessary. Whatever category you may fall into, we can help you with your trafficking in cocaine charge. Call him now for a free consultation at 407-648-0006. You may also fill out the online form at the top of this page and we will contact you shortly.