Defending Against Rohypnol Trafficking Charges in Florida
How to Beat a Drug Trafficking Charge in Florida
Flunitrazepam is the generic name for the drug Rohypnol. Rohypnol is a member of the benzodiazepine family of prescription medications. Benzodiazepines are commonly referred to on the street as “benzos.” Popular benzodiazepines medications include Valium, Ativan, Versed, Halcion, and Xanax.
Medical doctors prescribe benzodiazepine medication for legitimate purposes such as treating insomnia, anxiety, promoting muscle relaxation, controlling seizures, and easing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The medication is also commonly administered during operation procedures to help the patient relax. The drugs act quickly on the patient’s central nervous system to help with sleep, foster relaxation, and eliminate anxiety. Some drugs are ultra-fast-acting, others are fast-acting, and Valium is a long-acting medication.
Benzodiazepines are highly addictive, both physically and psychologically, and are readily available. Therefore, benzodiazepine drugs are common abused, especially by young people. Benzodiazepines are dangerous to drink with alcohol. Both substances work to suppress the nervous system. An overdose could stop a person’s breathing unless an antidote is administrated rapidly.
Flunitrazepam, in particular, is an extremely dangerous drug because it is a colorless and essentially odorless and tasteless liquid that is easy to slip into another’s drink. Consequently, Flunitrazepam is known as a “date rape drug.” Benzodiazepines, as a class of drugs, make impair judgment and could mute the person’s ability to resist aggression.
The problems associated with Flunitrazepam make it an extremely dangerous drug. As result, Florida’s legislators have taken a hard stance on trafficking Flunitrazepam. Florida Statutes §893.135(1)(g)(1) establishes the crime of trafficking in Flunitrazepam for possessing, distributing, selling, or possessing with the specific intent to distribute, four grams or more of Flunitrazepam. Trafficking in Flunitrazepam is a felony in the first degree and carries a punishment of no more than 30 years in the Florida state prison.
The minimum-mandatory penalties imposed by §893.135(1)(g)(1)-(2) depend on the gross weight of the drug when seized by police. Florida law considers the weight of the drug to be pure narcotic and any other substance with which the drug was mixed. Flunitrazepam could be mixed with an adulterant when it is in powder form. However, Flunitrazepam is probably not often “cut” with another substance because it is often found in pill form or liquid.
The minimum-mandatory prison sentence for trafficking in Flunitrazepam between four grams and fourteen grams is three years’ incarceration in the state prison. The offender must pay a $50,000.00 fine as well. The minimum-mandatory sentence increases to seven years, along with a fine of $100,000.00, if the weight of the Flunitrazepam falls between fourteen and 28 grams. A quantity of Flunitrazepam between 28 grams, which equals one ounce, to 30 kilograms is punished by a minimum-mandatory prison term of 25 years. The low threshold weight for trafficking equilateral Flunitrazepam with opiates.
There are additional penalties related to trafficking in Flunitrazepam in Florida. A person could be sentenced to life in prison without the potential for early release if an individual possesses 30 kilograms or more of Flunitrazepam. However, the person could face capital punishment if someone dies as a result of Flunitrazepam trafficking.
Common Defenses for Trafficking in Flunitrazepam
A thorough analysis of the factual scenario giving rise to the charges as well as a keen understanding of Florida’s drug and constitutional laws is necessary to properly advise a person charged with trafficking in Flunitrazepam. Defense strategies will include filing motions to dismiss and suppress, if appropriate, plea negotiations, and trial defenses.
Motions to suppress are effective legal pleadings which could convince a judge to exclude, or suppress, evidence seized unlawfully by police from consideration at trial. Although law enforcement officers investigating drug crimes are usually well-trained and highly-experienced, they sometimes make mistakes that lead to violations of people’s rights. For instance, police must have probable cause to receive permission to search a specified location with a search warrant. A judge must analyze the facts supporting the search warrant request to determine whether the investigators had probable cause to enter the location specified on the warrant and turn the life of the search warrant subject upside-down.
Similarly, police cannot search a person or a car without a constitutionally valid reason. A Florida judge must review the facts of the case, including making credibility determinations, when analyzing whether the police acted without reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop and frisk a person for weapons or drugs. In those circumstances, the police cannot act on a hunch. They must have proof based on observations as colored by the officer’s training and experience. If the judge believes that the police merely had a hunch that the suspect was commuting a crime but search that person anyway, the judge will order that all evidence seized from the unlawful search must be suppressed from evidence at trial.
Capable and experienced trafficking defense attorneys in Florida understand that plea bargaining is the most effective defense in some cases. Section 893.135(4) allows the state’s attorney to waive the minimum-mandatory sentence if the accused cooperated with police by rendering substantial assistance. The judge has the authority to impose a sentence less than the minimum-mandatory, and either reduce or suspend the sentence if the accused rendered substantial assistance.
A savvy and skilled negotiator can convince the prosecutor to enter a plea deal for a reduced charge in the right case. Prosecutors want to obtain a conviction in their cases. However, the threat of losing a case at trial or in a motion to suppress might convince the prosecution to reduce the charges in exchange for a guilty or nolo contendre plea.
Trial defenses focus on preserving the defendant’s presumption of innocence. The defendant has no obligation to prove himself or herself innocent. Starting with that premise, the defense could focus on exploiting the weakened areas of the prosecution’s case to show the jury that the prosecution failed to meet its burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Musca Law: Advocates for the Accused
Only a small quantity of Flunitrazepam is needed to qualify for a trafficking charge in Florida, and a trafficking conviction could have incredibly detrimental effects to a person’s life, even if the individual is merely using the drugs and not selling or distributing them. Contact Musca Law right away by calling 888-484-5057 to begin plotting your defense and preserving your freedom. We look forward to making a difference for you.