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 South Florida 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:
a) 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.
b) 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 or simple possession of cocaine.
Call my office today to schedule a free, in-person consultation.