Fentanyl Trafficking Criminal Defense Lawyers in Florida
How to Beat a Drug Trafficking Charge in Florida
Recently, Fentanyl, a Schedule II synthetic opioid drug that is approximately 75 times stronger than morphine, has become increasingly common in the illegal drug market. Used as a painkiller to treat certain painful medical conditions such as advanced stage cancer, this drug is highly addictive and extremely dangerous when abused. Unfortunately, there has recently been a spike in Fentanyl-related deaths. Accordingly to nationwide statistics, nearly 30,000 people die each year in the United States due to Fentanyl misuse. Florida is no stranger to this increase in the recreational use of this opioid.
Under Florida law, there are mandatory minimum prison sentences and harsh monetary penalties imposed upon a person convicted of trafficking Fentanyl in Florida. Pursuant to Florida Statutes 893.135, the offense of trafficking in Fentanyl is committed when a person, with knowledge, purchases, possesses, manufactures, transports, sells, or delivers four grams or more of the drug or any derivative thereof.
Minimum Mandatory Sentencing in Florida
If an individual is apprehended for trafficking in Fentanyl, there are mandatory minimum penalties that are imposed upon an offender which are determined by the Fentanyl trafficking thresholds below:
- Four grams or greater, but less than fourteen grams of the drug – three years in prison and a monetary fine of $50,000
- Fourteen grams or greater, but less than 28 grams of the drug – fifteen years in prison and a monetary fine of $100,000
- 28 grams or greater of the drug – 25 years in prison and a monetary fine of $500,000
The offense of trafficking in Fentanyl constitutes a first-degree felony, and depending upon the amount of Fentanyl, is assigned a Level 8 or Level 9 offense severity ranking pursuant to Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Maximum Sentencing in Florida
Unless the prosecution chooses to waive the mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, a judge can impose certain maximum penalties as follows:
- If a person is convicted of trafficking four grams or greater, but less than fourteen grams of the Fentanyl, a judge can sentence him or her to 30 years in prison, but must sentence him or her to a minimum of three years in prison and impose a monetary penalty of $50,000.
- If a person is convicted of trafficking fourteen grams or greater, but less than 28 grams of Fentanyl, a judge can sentence him or her to 30 years in prison, but must sentence him or her to a minimum of fifteen years in prison and impose a monetary penalty of $100,000.
- If a person is convicted of trafficking 28 grams or greater, a judge can sentence him or her to 30 years in prison, but must sentence him or her to a minimum of 25 years in prison and impose a monetary penalty of $500,000.
Driver’s License Suspension for Trafficking in Fentanyl
Under Florida Statutes Section 322.055, a person who is convicted of trafficking in Fentanyl will have their driver’s license suspended for six months by the Florida Division of Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Professional License Suspension for Trafficking in Fentanyl
Under Florida Statutes Section 893.11, a person who is convicted of trafficking in Fentanyl will have their professional license suspended by the State of Florida.
Defense Strategies in Florida Fentanyl Trafficking Criminal Cases
There are certain pre-trial defenses that apply in Fentanyl trafficking cases as well as other criminal matters in the State of Florida. There are also a number of different trial defenses that may apply in one’s case. These include the following:
- Entrapment – this occurs when a law enforcement officer goes undercover or an informant influences an individual to engage in a crime that he or she would normally not commit. If entrapment is shown, the court will dismiss the outstanding charges.
- Illegal Search and Seizure – oftentimes, police exceed the scope of their authority and force individuals to submit to a search of their home, vehicle, or body when they otherwise would not be required to under the law. They also commonly engage in arresting individuals in the absence of probable cause, or acquire search warrants in bad faith. If any of these incidents can be established through filing a motion to suppress, the court will not admit any evidence obtained therefrom, and they may even dismiss the case due to the fact that police violated the accused’s Fourth Amendment rights.
- A lack of evidence – the prosecution can only establish that a person possessed Fentanyl for the purposes of trafficking in the drug in one of two ways: actual possession and constructive possession.
- Actual Possession – the prosecutor must establish that Fentanyl was found on an individual’s person in order to prove actual possession. For example, if law enforcement finds Fentanyl in a woman’s purse, the prosecutor would have a strong case involving actual possession of Fentanyl.
- Constructive Possession – the prosecutor must establish that Fentanyl was uncovered in a place where the alleged offender had access. Specifically, he or she must prove three specific elements in order to prove that a person was in constructive possession of Fentanyl. These are as follows:
- Knowledge of the presence of Fentanyl;
- Knowledge that the substance was Fentanyl; and
- Control and dominion over the Fentanyl.
- Substantial Assistance – while technically this is not a defense, it is commonly raised in Fentanyl trafficking cases in order to avoid mandatory minimum sentencing. According to Florida law, the prosecutor has the discretion to request that the court suspend or reduce a sentence where the offender provides substantial assistance in convicting, arresting, or identifying another person or persons who are engaging in the trafficking of Fentanyl.
Contact Musca Law Today to Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options
If you are being charged with trafficking in Fentanyl, call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal options. Our skilled team of Florida Fentanyl Trafficking Defense Attorneys has over 150 years of collective legal experience representing clients located throughout the state of Florida who are being charged with drug-related offenses. Don’t wait to hire experienced counsel, as your freedom and livelihood are at stake. We look forward to making a difference for you.