St. Petersburg Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney
Pinellas County drug trafficking defense law firm provides aggressive legal representation
Under Florida law, drug trafficking occurs when someone “knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of” an excess amount of a controlled substance. Trafficking convictions carry the longest prison terms and most substantial fines of any drug crimes. The most egregious drug trafficking violations are capital offenses that can lead to life imprisonment or punishment by death. But even lesser drug trafficking charges result in a minimum of three to 25 years in prison if convicted. When the stakes are so high, your legal defense is of the utmost importance. At Joseph Montrone, Jr., P.A. in St. Petersburg, I defend clients in all types of drug cases. If you’re charged with trafficking, you are in extreme jeopardy of extended prison time. You need immediate assistance from a seasoned criminal defense attorney, and I am ready to defend your rights.
Drug trafficking under Florida law applies to many controlled substances
Drug trafficking occurs when the amount of a drug involved meets or exceeds the quantity given in the relevant Florida statute. Quantities that qualify for a trafficking charge include:
- Cannabis — 25 pounds and over, or 300 cannabis plants
- Cocaine — 28 grams and over
- Opium — Four grams and over
- Oxycodone — Four grams and over
- Hydrocodone — Four grams and over
- Morphine — Four grams and over
- Phencyclidine — 28 grams and over
- Methaqualone — 200 grams and over
- Amphetamine — 14 grams and over
- Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB, the “date rape drug”) — One kilogram and over
- LSD — One gram and over
The person charged must also knowingly sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver or bring the drug into the state, or be in actual or constructive possession of such drug.
Drug trafficking charges and penalties in Florida
First-degree felony charges can be brought for trafficking in illicit drugs, with penalties as follows:
- Cannabis trafficking — A mandatory minimum prison sentence of three to 20 years and a fine of up to $200,000.
- Cocaine trafficking — A mandatory minimum prison sentence of three to 20 years and a fine as high as $200,000. If 150 kilograms or more are involved, life imprisonment could be imposed.
- Amphetamine trafficking — A mandatory minimum prison sentence of three to 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000. Capital punishment is possible in some situations.
- Trafficking in morphine, opium, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone or heroin — A mandatory minimum prison sentence of three to 25 years and a fine of at least $50,000. If 30 kilograms or more are involved and someone dies, life imprisonment or capital punishment is possible.
Faced with such charges, you should only rely on a criminal defense lawyer with a strong record of success in felony and misdemeanor cases.
Fighting a drug trafficking charge
Even if the facts seem to be against you, you could have a defense to drug trafficking charges, such as:
- Entrapment — Police cannot induce a person to commit a crime he or she would not otherwise have committed.
- Illegal search — If the police only discovered the drugs because of an illegal traffic stop and/or a warrantless search, the drugs may not be admissible as evidence in court. The charges would likely be dropped for lack of usable evidence.
- Lack of knowing possession — If you were driving a car or occupying an apartment and didn’t know the drugs were there, or you exercised no control over them, you cannot be held as the person in possession.
If you are charged with drug trafficking in the St. Petersburg area, your freedom may depend upon the efforts of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. As a former prosecutor here, I have a deep understanding of law enforcement tactics and use that knowledge to challenge the cases brought against my clients.
Protecting juveniles accused of serous controlled substance charges
Drug trafficking is a serious offense that could lead to adult charges if an arrested juvenile has a record of adjudication. Upon conviction, the youth faces the potential of many years in prison. In my practice, I’ve represented youths in court on juvenile offenses and am determined to do everything in my power to prevent a single incident from ruining a young person’s life by finding a suitable alternative to incarceration whenever possible.
Contact a drug trafficking lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL who understands the local court system
At Joseph Montrone, Jr., P.A., I defend Florida clients accused of drug trafficking and other controlled substance offenses. A free initial consultation is provided. Contact me online or call my office at 727-888-0102.