What You Need to Know About Cocaine Penalties in Florida
When it comes to drug crimes, Florida has harsh penalties that include hefty fines and prison times. Per Florida Statute Section 893.13(1)(a), cocaine is illegal to possess, use, manufacture, or sell. The penalties for a conviction of possession of cocaine in Florida are dependent on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant possessed cocaine and had actual or constructive knowledge of the presence of cocaine.
Cocaine Possession and Use
Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance, which is defined in Florida Statute Section 893.03(2) as a substance that has a high potential for abuse, and abuse of the substance may lead to psychological or physical dependence. Under Florida Statute Section 893.13, possession of less than 28 grams of cocaine is a third-degree felony, punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, cocaine offenders with small amounts of cocaine and an insignificant criminal history can sometimes qualify for diversion programs instead. If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of cocaine, contact a cocaine defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL today!
Drug Courts in Leon County
Some jurisdictions in Florida, including the Second Judicial Circuit, have specialized “drug courts” that can help drug crime defendants enter treatment in lieu of jail time. The goal of drug court is to reduce recidivism, treat addicts, and rehabilitate drug offenders with no extensive criminal history. These programs often involve drug testing, check-ins with probation officers, and addiction services. The program lasts a minimum of 12 months and requires a firm commitment on the part of participants. Upon successful completion, the case will be dismissed.
Cocaine Trafficking in Florida
Under Florida Statutes Section 893.135(1)(b), it is unlawful to knowingly sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver, or bring into the state, or knowingly be in actual or constructive possession of 28 grams to 150 kilograms of cocaine, or any mixture containing cocaine. A charge under this statute is a felony of the first degree, known as “trafficking of cocaine.” The penalties for trafficking of cocaine are dependent on the amount of cocaine that was sold, purchased, manufactured, delivered, or possessed.
If the quantity involved:
- Is 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years and will be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.
- Is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years and will be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.
- Is 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and pay a fine of $250,000.
- Is 150 kilograms or more, such person shall be punished by life imprisonment and is ineligible for any form of discretionary early release except pardon or executive clemency or conditional medical release.
Potential Defenses to Possession of Cocaine in Tallahassee, FL
Possession of cocaine can be a highly defendable charge. These defenses can be legal or factual in nature including:
- Lack of probable cause;
- No proof that defendant was in actual or constructive possession;
- Absence of a warrant;
- Lack of evidence to support the charge;
- Unlawful canine search;
- Unlawful detention.
Tallahassee Drug Defense Lawyer
Don Pumphrey and members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have decades of experience representing individuals accused of possession charges in Tallahassee and throughout the state of Florida. The Pumphrey Law legal team is ready to fight for the best possible outcome for you or your loved one. Speak to a Tallahassee criminal defense attorney today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to discuss your rights during an open and free consultation with our legal team.