Cocaine Trafficking – Mandatory Minimums

Tampa Lawyer Skilled in Fighting Drug Charges

It is crucial to retain an aggressive and experienced attorney if you are arrested for cocaine trafficking. Drug trafficking is charged when you possess a specified quantity of a controlled substance, such as cocaine. You do not need to consider yourself a drug dealer or plan to sell the drug to another person to be charged. Your possession of the drug may be constructive or actual. The judge must impose a mandatory minimum sentence if you are convicted. At Hanlon Law, Tampa cocaine trafficking lawyer Will Hanlon represents people who have been accused of or charged with cocaine trafficking. He understands how serious these charges are.

Cocaine Trafficking

Florida Statute section 893.135(1) defines cocaine trafficking as a person knowingly transporting, delivering, making, buying, selling, or actually or constructively possessing 28 grams or more of any mixture that includes cocaine. The mandatory minimum sentence depends on the weight of the cocaine or cocaine mixture that the prosecution was able to prove that you were trafficking.

If more than one person has access to cocaine in a particular place, such as a house that people share as roommates, the prosecutor will need to show constructive possession. This means that the prosecution must show that the cocaine was present, that you knew that the substance at issue was cocaine, and that you had dominion and control over the cocaine.

Cocaine Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Amount of CocaineImprisonmentFine
28 grams - 200 grams3 year minimum$50,000
200 grams - 400 grams7 year minimum$100,000
400 grams - 150 kg15 year minimum$250,000
More than 150 kgLife imprisonment

If you actually or constructively possess 150 kg or more of cocaine, or if you knowingly sell, buy, manufacture, deliver, or bring into Florida this amount of cocaine, you have committed a first-degree felony of cocaine trafficking. You can be punished by life in prison, and you are not eligible for any type of discretionary early release, except for executive clemency, pardon, or conditional medical release.

Additionally, if the court decides that in addition to cocaine trafficking, you intentionally killed someone or caused someone to be killed, you will be found guilty of a capital felony of trafficking in cocaine, which can be punished by death or life imprisonment as set forth in sections 775.082 and 921.142. You will need to pay the maximum fine in addition to serving your sentence for a capital felony.

Moreover, if you knowingly bring 300 kg or more of cocaine into the state — including any of its stereoisomers or any compound, derivative, salt, or preparation of cocaine, except for ioflupane I 123 — and you know that it is probable that bringing this substance into the state will result in someone's death, you can be convicted of a capital felony.

Different situations call for different defense strategies. Since the penalties for cocaine trafficking are quite harsh, you should retain an attorney who understands the nuances of the different strategies and can explain them in depth to you. Some common defenses that are used in cocaine trafficking cases include insufficient evidence, constitutional arguments (such as illegal search and seizure), entrapment, and substantial assistance.

If you are being investigated for cocaine trafficking, you should not talk to the police without retaining a lawyer first. A prosecutor can spin what you said to a law enforcement officer when trying to respond to the charges. An experienced attorney is critical to providing substantial assistance and to examining whether your constitutional rights were respected in the course of the investigation.

Get Help from an Experienced Tampa Attorney

In Tampa and elsewhere in Florida, cocaine trafficking is punished harshly. However, a conviction is not inevitable. Our founder, Will Hanlon, is committed to defending the rights of the accused and has represented criminal defendants since 1994. The earlier that we get involved, the greater is the likelihood that we may influence the outcome. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up an appointment with a cocaine trafficking lawyer.