Hydrocodone Trafficking Defense in Florida
Hydrocodone is a powerful pain relieving prescription drug. Although the drug is helpful in combatting moderate to severe pain in many individuals, the drug could be habit-forming and dangerous. Hydrocodone works in combination with other drugs in one dose to interrupt pain signals sent between a person’s central nervous system and brain. The interruption in signals alters the way the brain responds to pain and allows the patient to experience significant relief.
Hydrocodone has a second use as well. Hydrocodone is an opioid-based narcotic drug as well as a drug called an antitussive. Hydrocodone reduces activity in the location of the brain that controls coughing.
Hydrocodone can cause opioid-related overdoses. Like other narcotics containing opiates, hydrocodone can slow breathing because the drug suppresses the central nervous system. Moreover, an overdose could lead to a coma, or be deadly if not reversed immediately. Drinking alcohol or taking certain medications could produce deadly reactions as well. Consequently, hydrocodone must only be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. Sadly, hydrocodone is subject to misuse.
Hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen and other medications like aspirin or chlorpheniramine in prescription medications. However, hydrocodone is perhaps better known by the brand name Vicodin, which is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Vicodin is one on many pain killers prescribed by physicians to treat persistent pain. People being abusing Vicodin when the prescription dose is not strong enough or they continue to take it even though they no longer need it. Tragically, Vicodin abuse could lead to abuse more potent and deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl.
Hydrocodone Trafficking Defense
Musca Law’s Florida Hydrocodone Trafficking Defense Attorneys have tremendous experience representing clients all across Florida who are charged with trafficking offenses. Relying on their vast experience, unparalleled resources, and dogged determination to provide the best representation for their clients, Musca Law’s Florida Hydrocodone Trafficking Defense Lawyers will devise a comprehensive defense strategy designed to avoid a conviction or reduce their clients’ exposure to the harsh prison terms that accompany a conviction for hydrocodone trafficking. Find out how Musca Law could help you and your family by calling (888) 484-5057 today.
Florida Hydrocodone Trafficking Law
Section 893.135(1)(c)(2) of the Florida Statutes defines trafficking in hydrocodone as possessing or having constructive possession over, or possessing with the intent to sell, deliver, or bring into Florida from another jurisdiction 28 grams of hydrocodone or codeine commits trafficking in hydrocodone. Trafficking hydrocodone is a first-degree felony in Florida. Accordingly, a conviction for trafficking in hydrocodone carries the possibility of a 30-year prison sentence. The statute calls for the imposition of minimum-mandatory sentences that are dependent upon the gross weight of the drugs.
Florida law specifies that the mixture of the drugs and not the net weight of the narcotic determines the threshold for trafficking in hydrocodone. For example, if the police seized 30 pills from a person that each weigh one gram, but hydrocodone comprises 50% of the mixture, the person could be charged with trafficking in hydrocodone because the gross weight of the mixture is 30 grams.
Trafficking hydrocodone is broken down into four levels based on weight. At the first level, trafficking in hydrocodone between 28 grams and 50 grams carries a three-year minimum-mandatory prison sentence and a fine of $50,000.00. The second level of trafficking in hydrocodone is 50 grams to 100 grams and has a minimum-mandatory prison sentence of seven years along with a fine of $100,000.00. The third level of trafficking in hydrocodone is 100 grams to 300 grams. A conviction for trafficking in hydrocodone at this threshold carries a minimum-mandatory prison term of fifteen years and a mandatory fine of $500,000.00. Finally, the fourth level of trafficking hydrocodone is from 300 grams to 30 kilograms. The minimum-mandatory prison sentence for this crime is 25 years along with a mandatory fine of $750,000.00.
First-degree trafficking in hydrocodone may be charged when the offender possesses over 30 kilograms of the substance. The individual convicted of this charge faces life in prison without release. The crime becomes a capital felony if the amount of drugs exceeds 60 kilograms or someone dies during a trafficking operation that exceeds 30 kilos.
The person convicted of trafficking in hydrocodone faces other legal problems in addition to prison and mandatory fines. Anyone convicted of trafficking in hydrocodone potentially faces immigration consequences if he or she is not a citizen, even though legally in the country. The person convicted of trafficking in hydrocodone will also face mandatory revocation of his or her driver’s license and professional license.
Defenses for Trafficking in Hydrocodone
A complete understanding of Florida law along with a strong grasp of the facts of a case is necessary to develop a successful defense strategy for a hydrocodone trafficking charge. At the outset, the defense could enter plea bargaining negotiations with the prosecution in an attempt to resolve the case short of trial. Sometimes that is not possible when the government is pushing to impose the strict minimum-mandatory prison sentences that accompany a conviction for trafficking in hydrocodone. However, Florida law allows a defendant to cooperate with the police in exchange for a reduction in sentence. Any person considering cooperating with law enforcement must take the matter very seriously and have a frank discussion with a knowledgeable and skilled Florida hydrocodone trafficking defense lawyer before deciding.
Filing a motion to suppress the contraband seized by police is often a successful defense. A motion to suppress is the legal mechanism to ask a judge to decide whether the tactics the police used to seize the contraband in issue violated the constitutional rights of the accused. Every person has the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Suppression from evidence at trial is the penalty for a violation of the rights of the accused. In drug cases, suppression of the evidence typically means that the prosecution has no case.
The best trial strategy will depend on a thorough analysis of the case. However, the issue of possession is the primary defense in many drug cases. The government must prove that the accused possessed the drugs in question. Possession can be actual or constructive. If the prosecution cannot prove that the accused possessed the drugs, then the person must be acquitted.
In the right case, the defense of entrapment could be effective. Similarly, contesting that the drugs are actually drugs could be successful, especially if there is a chain of custody problem or an issue at the lab.
Defending the Rights of the Accused
Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 if you are facing trafficking hydrocodone charges in Florida. Our skilled team of Florida Hydrocodone Trafficking Defense Attorneys are ready to help you to learn more about your legal rights and options, as well as the potential defenses that apply to your case. Don’t wait, as your freedom and future depend on it.