Xanax and Benzodiazepine Trafficking Defense Lawyers in Florida
How to Beat a Drug Trafficking Charge in Florida
Alprazolam is the generic name of the drug Xanax. According to Florida Statutes §893.03, Alprazolam is a schedule IV drug. What distinguishes Schedule IV drugs from Schedules I, II, or III is the level of danger posed to the person who takes it, the medical uses for the drug, and the danger the user could become addicted to the drug. Schedule IV drugs, according to Florida’s Drug Schedule, Alprazolam could lead to physical or psychological dependence but a lesser degree as compared to the narcotics and drugs listed in Schedule III. (Schedule III drugs include testosterone, or anabolic steroids, among other drugs like morphine, hydrocodone, or a component of opium.
What Do Xanax and Benzodiazepines Treat?
Xanax is widely regarded in the medical profession to treat people who suffer from debilitating anxiety. Xanax helps people overcome feelings of anxiety by increasing certain brain activity. Xanax is classified as a type of drug known as a benzodiazepine, or “benzos.” However, Xanax, when taken with alcohol or other drugs, especially opioid-based drugs which slow a person’s respiration rate, can be extremely hazardous and could lead to a fatal overdose. Known side effects of taking a benzodiazepine include weakness, dizziness, instability, slurred speech, sleepiness, or confusion.
Possession of Xanax and other benzodiazepine medications without a prescription is a crime in Florida. The weight of the drug determines whether the crime is simple possession or whether the offense could be charged as trafficking. The weight of the drug is determined by the weight of the mixture of the compound that includes the controlled substance. More specifically, Florida Statutes §893.135(6) indicates that the weight of the drug includes the entire pill or tablet. According to drugs.com, each pill weighs 0.25 to 0.5 milligrams.
Florida’s trafficking statute indicates that trafficking in a controlled substance is a first-degree felony. The maximum penalty for a first-degree felony in 30 years incarcerated in the Florida State Prison system. The minimum-mandatory penalties for trafficking four grams to fourteen grams of a controlled substance are three years and can range as long as 25 years, depending on the weight and composition of the controlled substance.
One drug in the benzodiazepine class, flunitrazepam, has been associated with allegations of date rape. Consequently, Florida law sternly penalizes a person convicted of trafficking flunitrazepam. For a conviction of trafficking in flunitrazepam between four and fourteen grams, the minimum-mandatory committed sentence is three years, coupled with a $50,000.00 fine. The next level of trafficking flunitrazepam is fourteen to 28 grams. The minimum-mandatory period of incarceration is seven years, including a fine of $100,000.00. The minimum-mandatory prison sentence is 25 years for trafficking in flunitrazepam between 28 grams and 30 kilograms. Trafficking in flunitrazepam between 30 and 60 kilograms is called first-degree trafficking of flunitrazepam and is a mandatory life sentence without the potential for early release. An offender could be charged with capital trafficking in flunitrazepam if another person died in connection with trafficking in flunitrazepam.
Potential Defenses to Trafficking in Xanax and Benzodiazepine
The possible defenses available to a person charged with drug trafficking in Florida depend on the unique circumstances of the case. Consulting with an attorney who is well-versed and highly-experienced defending Xanax and Benzodiazepine trafficking charges will develop a successful defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction.
Defenses may be categorized as pre-trial defenses and trial defenses. Pre-trial defenses include arguing motions to dismiss the charges for lack of evidence and moving to suppress the fruits of illegal searches performed by law enforcement agents. A motion to dismiss asks the judge to look at all of the evidence and throw the case out if the government cannot connect the accused to the illegal drugs.
A motion to suppress does not ask the judge to throw the entire case out. Instead, the judge must examine the constitutionality of the actions of the police. If the judge decides that the police violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the accused, then the judge can suppress the evidence from use at trial. For example, a judge could suppress the fruits of a search conducted in the accused’s residence because the search warrant was invalid. The prosecution might not have any evidence to take to trial if the judge suppresses the evidence obtained with an invalid search warrant. The result might be a dismissal if the government has no evidence to take to trial.
Contesting the evidence at trial is necessary when the judge refuses to dismiss the case or suppress any evidence. Contesting the weight of the drugs is one potential defense available to a person facing Xanax trafficking charges. The prosecution invariably has the burden of proof with respect to the weight of the drugs. If the state fails to prove the chemical composition of the drugs and the weight of the drugs based on the mixture, then the accused must be acquitted. Therefore, attacking the chemical composition and weight of the drugs could prove to be a winning defense strategy.
A vigorous defense of Xanax and benzodiazepine trafficking charges at trial attack the strength of the state’s evidence that proves the accused has possession of the narcotics. Possession is a legal term in Florida. The term refers to actual possession, such as being in possession of an item in your hand, and constructive possession. Constructive possession is a legal theory that recognizes people could be in possession of an item by exercising control intentionally over the item. A common example is having constructive possession over your cellular device when you are in one room of your house, even if the device is in another room.
Negotiating with the prosecution for a better disposition than the statutory minimum-mandatory is another effective defense. First-time offenders might be eligible for drug court, and drug addicts might have access to drug counseling rather than incarceration. Additionally, the prosecution could reduce or eliminate the minimum-mandatory penalties if the accused cooperated with law enforcement and the prosecution.
Musca Law’s Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyers Have the Experience You Need to Defend Your Rights
Calling Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 can help you preserve your rights if you are facing drug trafficking charges in Florida, including trafficking Xanax and benzodiazepines. The Florida Xanax trafficking defense lawyers with Musca Law have extensive experience, resources, and skills you need to avoid the harsh prison terms associated with Xanax trafficking in Florida.