Drug trafficking is a serious criminal offense both in the State of Florida and in the federal justice system. If you are currently facing a drug trafficking charge or believe that you are the target of an investigation into drug trafficking in the Tampa Bay area, you should talk to a Tampa drug trafficking lawyer as soon as possible. A conviction on a drug trafficking charge may have many negative long-term consequences for your life in addition to the possibility of going to jail or being fined. Experienced drug crime attorney Will Hanlon has been representing criminal defendants for more than two decades, and he is here to help you understand what the State must prove in order for you to be convicted, as well as possible defenses that you may have to the charges pending against you.
Generally speaking, the crime of drug trafficking involves the importation, transportation, or sale of unlawful controlled substances. Although the crime is defined somewhat differently under state and federal laws, dealing in drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, opiates, marijuana, and certain prescription medications may lead to heavy penalties, including lengthy incarceration. In addition, a person convicted of a felony drug crime faces other repercussions, such as being unable to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, or legally possess a gun. Convicted felons also tend to have difficulty finding a good job and may be turned down for educational opportunities, military service, or housing applications.Defenses to Drug Trafficking
Each crime has certain elements, or parts, that the prosecution must be able to prove in order for a defendant to be convicted. With regard to the crime of drug trafficking, these elements include both knowledge and intent. In other words, the government must prove that the defendant was aware that they were dealing in illegal drugs and that they intended to engage in this activity. If the defendant mistakenly thought that they were importing, transporting, or selling something that was legal, but the substance turned out to be cocaine, for example, this might be a defense to a drug trafficking charge. Likewise, if the defendant lacked the intent to actually traffic the substance in question but intended to use it for their personal consumption, the prosecution might not be able to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This might result in a reduction to the lesser charge of possession. A drug trafficking attorney in the Tampa area can help you determine whether any of these defenses may apply to your situation.
The State also needs to prove that the drugs in question were actually the particular substance in which the defendant was accused of trafficking. For instance, if the defendant is accused of trafficking in heroin, but the packages that the officers seized contained a lawful substance instead, the defendant may have a defense even if they had the intent to resell an illegal controlled substance.
The particular punishment faced by someone convicted of drug trafficking depends on a number of factors, including the type and quantity of drug involved. Generally speaking, the higher the quantity of the drugs and the more dangerous that the drugs are perceived to be under the law, the more severe the sentence. If a gun was involved in the commission of the crime, Florida’s 10/20/Life Statute may come into play as well. Under this statute, a defendant who uses a gun while committing a drug trafficking crime may face a mandatory 10 or 20 years in prison, depending upon whether the gun was simply in the defendant’s possession during the crime or whether the gun was fired. If the defendant actually shot someone with the gun, they may face 25 years in prison or a life sentence, no matter the type of injury that the victim suffered.Consult a Knowledgeable Drug Trafficking Lawyer in Tampa
Serious, life-altering consequences typically await people who are convicted of drug trafficking. To talk to an attorney about your case, including possible defenses that may be available in your particular situation, call the team at Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or contact us online. With many years of experience defending the accused in Florida and federal courts, Tampa drug trafficking attorney Will Hanlon knows how to fight for the rights of people accused of serious felonies. He can help people who need a marijuana lawyer or assistance in fighting charges related to heroin, cocaine, meth, prescription drugs, and other controlled substances.