Trafficking is arguably the most serious criminal offense in the State of Florida.
It is not uncommon for people charged with trafficking offenses to serve more time in prison than those charged with violent felonies.
That is because Florida's government has adopted strict mandatory minimum sentencing for all trafficking offenses statewide.
Every controlled substance has a mandatory minimum prison term attached to it, depending on the weight. For "minimal" trafficking offenses, mandatory sentences can start at 3 years in state prison. On the high end, sentences can be 25 years. And that's mandatory time, folks. You don't get gain time when you are serving a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
However, the only thing more serious than a trafficking charge is an armed trafficking charge. Armed trafficking is punishable by life in prison. And under Florida's 10-20-Life law, you can face a 10-year mandatory sentence for possession or carrying a firearm during the course of a drug trafficking offense.
"Armed trafficking" occurs when somebody commits the offense of trafficking in any controlled substance, and during the course of that offense, the accused is armed with a weapon. The weapon may be a firearm or non-firearm. If it's a firearm, 10-20-Life applies. If not a firearm (a knife, for instance), there is no 10-20-Life mandatory sentence but the trafficking mandatory minimum sentence will still apply, with a maximum penalty of life in prison.
It is a crime to traffick in any of the following substances. But it is a far more serious crime to commit armed trafficking of the following:
- Cannabis (marijuana)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
- Psilocybin (Mushrooms)
- MDMA (Ecstasy)
Armed trafficking is a non-bondable offense. An Arthur Hearing will be required in an effort to secure a bond for the accused.
Armed trafficking can send first-time offenders to prison for a long period of time. It is critical that somebody accused of armed trafficking be represented by a competent and experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer.
I have represented clients charged with armed trafficking. My practice area includes Miami-Dade County and Broward County.
If you or a loved one is facing armed trafficking charges, contact me to discuss the case privately and free of charge.