The State of Florida is renowned for having some of the strictest drug laws throughout the United States. If you are caught selling illegal drugs over 10 grams in St. Petersburg, you will face a difficult legal battle to try and get your charges reduced and to prevent spending time in prison.
Drug trafficking charges are nothing to joke about, and being convicted could result in a felony conviction which carries with it a long prison sentence and a permanent stain on your criminal record. Additionally, a felony conviction can have long-lasting impacts on your life and can affect your future job opportunities, third-level education options, your ability to have a rental contract, and your ability to vote in elections.
If you have been charged with drug trafficking or possession with intent to sell over 10 grams of a controlled substance in St. Petersburg, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The sooner you contact a criminal defense attorney, the more time they have to work on your case and help prevent you from being convicted of a felony charge.
Here at The Law Place, we have been working on criminal defense cases for the past 75 years, and we are highly experienced in reducing our client’s charges or getting them dropped completely. Our law firm has a large team of skilled criminal defense lawyers who are here to help ensure that the rest of your life is not impacted by a felony conviction. Throughout our many years of practice, we have built up a strong attorney-client relationship, and our clients always trust us to get them the justice they deserve. We offer a free case evaluation so you can receive honest legal advice regarding your case at no cost to you.
Call our law firm today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24/7.
The Laws on Drugs and Drug Trafficking in Florida
St. Petersburg follows the same laws as the rest of the State of Florida for drug trafficking and drug possession. Florida Statute 893.13 makes it illegal to possess, deal, distribute, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance. If you are charged with a drug crime under this statute, you could be convicted of a felony charge. The type of drug that you are caught with will determine the severity of the felony charge and the penalties you face.
There are some scenarios that can land you in even more trouble and can result in a first-degree felony charge, such as selling drugs in front of a school, church, childcare facility, or public housing facility. Even if you are just found in possession of a controlled substance in these particular locations, you could still be looking at a felony charge.
To find out more information about the mandatory punishments you will face for drug trafficking, manufacturing, possession, and selling, take a look at Florida Statute 893.1351. This statute contains information regarding drug abuse and control in the State of Florida.
Drug Schedules in the State of Florida
All controlled substances throughout Florida fall into categories that are known as ‘schedules,’ as provided for under The Controlled Substances Act. These schedules are organized based on their perceived harm to members of the public and their addiction risk. If the controlled substance is considered more harmful, it will be categorized in a higher schedule, and the penalties will be more severe. The drug schedules in Florida are as follows:
If you are caught selling, trafficking, or in possession of a controlled substance contained within the first schedule of drugs, you could be charged with a first-degree felony, which is the most serious felony charge you can be convicted of. The controlled substances contained in this category are considered to pose the highest risk to members of the public for both addictiveness and harm. They are also regarded as having no medical purpose. Some of the drugs you will find in this schedule include:
- LSD (acid).
- Methamphetamine (meth).
Being convicted of selling a Schedule One drug can result in you spending many years in prison and having a permanent stain on your criminal record. Additionally, if you are found in possession of some drugs in this category, you could be looking at a minimum mandatory prison sentence. Having 25 pounds of marijuana in your possession can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years. This minimum mandatory sentence can increase to 25 years if you are caught trafficking between 28 grams to 30 kilograms of heroin.
Controlled substances contained within the second schedule of drugs are still regarded as dangerous and pose a huge risk of addiction. However, they are considered to have some medical uses and can be prescribed by health professionals in particular cases. Examples of controlled substances contained in this category include:
Schedule Three drugs are considered to have some medical benefits and are often prescribed by medical professionals. However, if used for recreational purposes and without medical guidance, they can be harmful and quite addictive. Some Schedule Three controlled substances include:
- Codeine (under 90 milligrams).
Drugs in this schedule are often used as prescription drugs. But, although they aren’t considered the most harmful by Florida law, they still pose a risk of harm and addiction to those who use them without medical guidance. It is common for drugs in this category to be sold illegally in the State of Florida, and you can still face some years in prison if you are convicted of a drug trafficking offense with a Schedule Four substance.
Some Schedule Four drugs include:
Penalties for drug charges in Schedule Five are much lower as these substances are commonly used as prescription drugs. They also pose a much lower risk to members of the public for harm and addiction. If you are convicted of a drug trafficking charge with a drug from Schedule Five, the penalties will be less severe, and you will most likely be faced with a misdemeanor charge. Examples of Schedule Five substances include:
- Cough medicine.
What Is the Difference Between Drug Sale and Drug Trafficking?
Florida law distinguishes drug sale and drug trafficking primarily based on the amount that is found in your possession. If you are found to be in possession of a large amount of a controlled substance, you will likely be faced with a drug trafficking charge rather than a drug sale charge. If you do not possess a large quantity of drugs, but a law enforcement officer believes that you have an intention to sell the particular substance, then you will likely be charged with possession with intent to sell. The prosecution must have solid proof that you intended to sell the drug in order to be convicted of this crime.
Although the penalties are less severe than drug trafficking, being convicted of possession with the intent to sell a substance can still result in a felony conviction. For example, being charged with possessing and intending to sell cocaine can result in a second-degree felony charge and up to 15 years in prison. It is recommended that you speak with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in dealing with cases involving drug crimes. They will do everything in their power to get your charges reduced or dropped completely.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in St. Petersburg, FL.
The laws and penalties for drug trafficking offenses are contained within Florida Statute 893.135. Prior to receiving a sentence for your particular drug trafficking offense, it must be shown that you:
- Had knowledge and were aware of the particular substance.
- The substance you were caught with is actually the alleged substance.
- The amount found in your possession was above the minimum amount permitted under law.
Once a state attorney can prove these three points beyond a reasonable doubt, you will be convicted of a drug trafficking offense and will face penalties depending on the amount you are caught with and the schedule that the controlled substance is contained in.
Possible Defenses for Florida Drug Charges
Facing drug charges is scary, and law enforcement and judges in Florida are known for being harsh and taking a no-tolerance approach. Regardless of whether you are facing intent to sell or drug trafficking charges for your drug offense, you will need a strong criminal defense to prevent you from spending a long time in prison.
Our law firm recommends that you seek assistance from a criminal defense attorney who can build a strong defense on your behalf to help get your charges reduced or dropped completely. Some examples of defenses that our criminal defense attorneys could use for you include:
- Innocence – It is possible that you have been wrongly accused of trafficking or selling drugs. The law in Florida states that it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of either of these drug crimes in order to be convicted. One of our attorneys can help you argue your innocence and demonstrate that you have been wrongly identified.
- A breach of your constitutional rights – We can argue that a member of law enforcement breached your constitutional rights during the arrest if they failed to read you your rights.
- Entrapment – If your arrest was set up by a member of law enforcement and this can be proved, we can use this to get your criminal charges thrown out.
- Unlawful search – It may be the case that the police had no valid search and seizure warrant prior to searching your property. One of our Florida criminal defense lawyers can use this as a defense for your charges.
Contact The Law Place Today
The criminal law system in Florida can be confusing and scary, and trying to navigate it on your own without legal assistance can be even more difficult. Being convicted of drug crimes in Florida can have a major impact on the rest of your life. You may have to pay extortionate fines, spend a long time in prison, and your future work and education prospects can be hindered by a permanent criminal record.
Regardless of whether you are facing a felony or a misdemeanor charge for your drug crimes, we always recommend that you seek legal assistance. Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in multiple practice areas, including many drug cases. Our law firm offers a free consultation so you can speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers with no strings attached.
Once you contact us for your initial consultation, we will offer you honest, legal advice on what your best options are for your criminal case. If you decide to proceed with us as your legal representatives, our law firm will do everything in our power to ensure that you receive justice and that the rest of your life isn’t impacted by criminal charges.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at our main office for a free case evaluation. The sooner you do, the better chance we have at winning your case.
Call our law firm today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are always open.