Aside from marijuana grow houses, trafficking in cocaine is one of the
most serious felony-level drug offenses in Miami-Dade County. Particularly
in Miami, Miami-Dade County, and parts of Broward, such as Fort Lauderdale
Trafficking in cocaine
is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If you
are accused of being armed with a firearm during the course of trafficking
in cocaine, you can be sent to prison for life.
In order for the State of Florida to prove the crime of trafficking in
cocaine, the following 4 elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) Defendant knowingly [sold, purchased, manufactured, delivered, brought
into Florida, possessed] a certain substance.
2) The substance was cocaine or a mixture containing cocaine.
3) The quantity of the substance involved was 28 grams or more.
4) Defendant knew that the substance was cocaine or a mixture containing cocaine.
In the State of Florida, there is a 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence
for the crime of trafficking in cocaine. It doesn't matter if you
have no prior record. The minimum plea offer the State Attorney will make
if you are charged with trafficking in cocaine is 3 years in prison. That
is why so many people opt to hire a
criminal defense attorney in Miami-Dade County when charged with trafficking.
Mandatory minimum sentences can be waived by the State, but this requires
work. A criminal defense lawyer must expose the weaknesses in the case.
This can be done through some of the following criminal defense tactics:
Re-weighing the contraband - If the police weighed the suspect cocaine out at 28 grams or above,
a reweighing of the contraband by an independent agency may show results
of less than 28 grams. That makes the charge possession with intent to
sell cocaine, which is only a second-degree felony with no mandatory minimum
sentence attached. If you have no prior record, your attorney may be able
to resolve your case to a withhold of adjudication and probation.
Re-testing the contraband - Let's face it, the police want to arrest you and see you convicted
if they suspect you are trafficking in cocaine. However, the tests they
perform on the suspect cocaine may be inaccurate. A private laboratory
with no vested interest in the case can perform a series of tests on the
suspect cocaine to determine whether or not the substance is actually
cocaine. 28 grams of cocaine equals trafficking, but 28 grams of baking
soda or baby powder equals a nolle prosse.
Additionally, a criminal defense attorney can exploit mistakes made by
the police. If your home or car were searched, did the officers have a
warrant? Were you persuaded or coerced into participating in the trafficking
due to the pressure of an undercover police officer (entrapment)? Did
you even know you were in possession of 28 grams or more of cocaine?
In the above-mentioned elements of the crime, you can see that you do not
have to be moving cocaine from Point A to Point B, or crossing any state
lines in order to be found guilty of trafficking in cocaine. Simply being
in possession of 28 grams or more is enough to convict you.
I am a
former Miami-Dade prosecutor
and current criminal defense attorney who handles cocaine trafficking
cases all throughout Miami-Dade and Broward County. Trafficking carries
mandatory prison time. The only way to possibly avoid this prison time
is to rely on the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
Don't delay. The earlier you retain a criminal attorney for your cocaine
trafficking matter, the better. There is evidence that must be re-weighed
and re-tested. The sooner that can be done, the greater liklihood that
lesser charges will be filed. In a trafficking case, lesser charges are
always a victory as there are no mandatory sentences for cocaine sale
possession of cocaine