St. Petersburg Drug Trafficking
Drug trafficking is not uncommon in the area around St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County ranks among the leading counties in Florida for drug cases. Its coastal location on the Gulf of Mexico means that much of the drug trade involves watercraft concealing drugs in the cargo. In Florida, drug trafficking charges can be brought against you based on the weight of the drugs with which you were involved. You can even be charged with trafficking for possessing a certain weight of drugs, even if you had no intent to distribute them or use them to make other drugs. Contrary to popular media representations, drug trafficking charges are not only brought against the powerful. They can be brought against ordinary people. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg drug trafficking lawyer Will Hanlon believes in the rights of the accused. Our firm can represent you if you have been charged with drug trafficking.Fighting a Drug Trafficking Charge
Drug trafficking convictions come with mandatory minimum sentences in Florida, which is why it is important to take accusations or charges of drug trafficking seriously. Except in very narrow circumstances, a judge does not have any discretion regarding the terms of imprisonment when mandatory minimum sentences apply. This means that, even if it was your first offense and you had a spotless record, and there were other mitigating circumstances, you could face years in prison simply because you were in possession of a certain weight of drugs. In some cases, however, it is possible for an experienced drug trafficking attorney in St. Petersburg to secure a dismissal or to negotiate with the prosecutor so that you are charged with a more minor drug crime rather than trafficking.
Depending on the controlled substance involved, there are different minimum threshold weights of drugs that give rise to trafficking charges. Florida Statutes section 893.135 provides the weights of drugs that give rise to trafficking charges, as well as the mandatory minimum sentences that accompany particular weights.
For example, anybody who possesses, buys, sells, makes, delivers, or brings into the state at least 25 pounds of cannabis or 300 cannabis plants has trafficked in cannabis. This is a first-degree felony. If you are caught with between 25 pounds and 2,000 pounds or 300 plants-2,000 plants of cannabis, you will be sentenced to three years in prison as a mandatory minimum sentence and ordered to pay $25,000. On the other hand, if you are caught with 10,000 or more plants or 10,000 pounds or more of cannabis, the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years and $200,000. These harsh sentences make it critical to consult a St. Petersburg drug trafficking attorney if you are under investigation.
There are also mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking in other drugs, such as cocaine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl and its derivatives, morphine, phencyclidine, methaqualone, amphetamine, methamphetamine, flunitrazepam, GHB, GBL, 1,4-Butanediol, LSD, synthetic cannabinoids, and phenylethylamines. With increasing weights, there are increased punishments. For example, trafficking in one gram or more of LSD is a first-degree felony simply for being in constructive possession of it. If you are caught with 1-5 grams, you face a possibility of three years in prison and a fine of $50,000. If you are convicted of trafficking in 5-7 grams of LSD, you will be sentenced to seven years and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.
These penalties steadily increase with weight. If you knowingly make or bring seven grams or more of LSD into Florida, and you know that the probable result of making or importing it would be the death of someone, you can be convicted of capital manufacture or importation, which is a capital felony. This means that you will be sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole. While this is an extreme scenario, it is not unthinkable.Hire a Drug Trafficking Lawyer in St. Petersburg
If you are charged with or investigated for drug trafficking, you should consult our experienced criminal defense firm. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994. We are committed to defending the rights of the accused. Call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or submit our online form.