Marijuana laws vary across the United States. In Florida, however, the drug laws remain harsh. Most marijuana arrests in Florida are for possession of marijuana, which is a misdemeanor-level offense. Conversely, drug trafficking offenses in Florida are first-degree felonies, meaning that a person convicted of that charge could face up to 30 years in prison and a massive fine.
Punishments for narcotics trafficking convictions are based on the weight of the narcotics. Florida law does not levy punishments based on the purity of the illegal drug. Instead, the total weight, or gross weight, of the drug is based on the entire mixture of illicit narcotics and adulterants or additives seized from the accused or attributed to the accused.
Enlisting a tough, proven, and experienced Florida marijuana trafficking is essential to avoiding a long prison sentence and paying a large fine. Musca Law’s Florida marijuana trafficking defense lawyers have the courtroom experience people charged with trafficking marijuana in Florida need to ensure that their rights are protected and they receive the strongest defense possible. Call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to talk about your case.
Section 893.135 of the Florida Statutes sets forth the penalties for marijuana trafficking in Florida. Twenty-five pounds or 300 or more cannabis plantings are the minimum trafficking thresholds for marijuana in Florida. As with all narcotics trafficking offenses in Florida, trafficking in marijuana is a first-degree felony. However, the statute also imposes minimum-mandatory sentences depending on the weight of the drugs seized. The minimum threshold level of marijuana is 25 pounds up to 2,000 pounds, or 300 to 2,000 cannabis plants. A conviction under this minimum threshold requires the offender to serve a three-year minimum-mandatory prison sentence, coupled with a fine of no more than $25,000.00.
The minimum-mandatory prison sentence increases to seven years and a $50,000.00 fine when the weight of the marijuana falls between 2,000 to 10,000 pounds or 2,000 to 10,000 cannabis plants.
Trafficking 10,000 pounds of marijuana or more or 10,000 or more marijuana plants is a fifteen-year minimum-mandatory prison term with a maximum $200,000.00 fine.
Anyone charged with trafficking in marijuana must be aware of language contained in 893.135(1)(a) that indicates the court must impose the longest term of imprisonment possible for a conviction under the section. A judge could construe that language to mean that every person convicted of trafficking marijuana must receive a 30-year prison sentence. A Florida marijuana trafficking defense lawyer from Musca Law will fight desperately to avoid a conviction for trafficking in marijuana so you do not have to serve a long prison sentence.
Individuals must also be aware that owning or leasing property used for facilitating marijuana trafficking or facilitating cannabis growth is a felony as well. The felony offenses range from a third-degree felony, which is a five-year maximum prison sentence, to a second-degree felony, which is a fifteen-year maximum prison sentence, to a first-degree felony if a child is on the premises.
Marijuana Trafficking Defenses in Florida
A conviction for trafficking in Florida requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged, individually or in concert with others, possessed, either actually or constructively, sold, bought, or distributed marijuana in the quantities described. The statute also specifically defines cannabis plants or cuttings as well. Thoroughly understanding these definitions could provide a solid defense strategy. Additionally, thoroughly understanding the laws regarding search and seizure is a necessity to defending marijuana trafficking cases as well.
Thus, defenses advanced at the pre-trial stage are usually motions to dismiss for lack of evidence or motions to suppress based upon a violation of the constitutional rights of the accused. The remedy for a violation of the accused’s constitutional rights is suppression of the evidence.
Drug arrests arise from search warrant executions, car stops, or observations of hand-to-hand distribution, typically. A court could only issue a search warrant if the affidavit submitted in support of the request spells out enough evidence to create probable cause to search where the police request. However, filing a motion to suppress the “fruits” of the search warrant because the search warrant did not contain probable cause could persuade the judge to suppress, or throw out, all of the evidence seized during the execution of the warrant.
Similarly, filing a motion to suppress a warrant-less stop, such as a car stop or stop and frisk, could convince the judge that the law enforcement investigators involved in the case exceeded constitutional boundaries, and, as a result, all evidence seized from the unlawful search cannot be admitted into evidence at a trial. Practically speaking, the prosecution has no evidence to go forward with a trial once a motion to suppress is allowed.
A motion to suppress could also be an effective tool to exclude statements or a confession made by the accused. Law enforcement officers must give the Miranda warnings to a person when the person is in custody and the officers are asking questions either designed to, or having the practical effect of, illicit incriminating responses from the accused. The failure to give the Miranda warnings correctly, or at all, is grounds to exclude the statement of the accused from trial. Additionally, any evidence police find as a consequence of the suppressed statement must also be suppressed from trial as fruit of the constitutional violation.
Effective trial strategies focus on the quality of the evidence offered by the prosecution and limiting its effectiveness. One way to accomplish that goal is to attack the proof of possession. Being near illicit narcotics or being with another person who is in possession of illegal drugs is not proof of possession. Proof of possession requires evidence, such as observations, of actual possession or constructive possession. Attacking the state’s evidence of possession could help avoid a conviction for marijuana trafficking. The defense does not have any obligation to prove the true identity of the person who possessed the drugs. Instead, a strong defense focuses on the weakness of the government’s evidence and shows that the state cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Musca Law’s Marijuana Trafficking Defense Attorneys are Available 24/7
Contact Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to speak with a marijuana trafficking defense attorney who has in-depth knowledge of trafficking defenses and extensive experience successfully fighting to protect the rights of the accused. Don’t wait – contact us now to learn more about your legal rights and options.