What is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking is a global issue involving the manufacture, cultivation, sale, and distribution of prohibited substances. According to the National Crime Agency, “drug trafficking is a major source of revenue for organized crime groups, many of whom are involved in other forms of serious crimes such as firearms, modern slavery, and immigration crime.”
Drug trafficking is regulated both federally and through each state, and the laws can be complex. Understanding your options and the charges you face can be vital to choosing the right attorney.
State and Legal Drug Trafficking Definitions
Chapter 893 of the 2023 Florida Statutes covers drug abuse prevention and control. Manufacture is defined as “the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, cultivating, growing, conversion, or processing of a controlled substance, either directly or indirectly…” Some important distinctions, such as possession vs. trafficking, are covered. Possession refers to control over a substance, and trafficking refers to illegal transport or sale of prohibited drugs.
Understanding these terms can help you to determine what category your charges are in and what penalties may result. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you unravel the charges and determine your options.
Federal Drug Categories
The federal government classifies drugs into five different categories or schedules.
Schedule I drugs are those that involve no medical use and have a high probability of drug abuse. Drugs like heroin or LSD would be in this category.
Schedule II drugs are also susceptible to drug abuse but do have some medical use such as cocaine or meth.
Schedule III drugs have less abuse risk but include ketamine, Tylenol with codeine, and anabolic steroids.
Schedule IV drugs have a low risk of dependence and abuse. Some drugs in this category are Xanax, Darvocet, Valium, and more.
Schedule V are drugs that have the lowest potential for dependence and abuse. Drugs such as Robitussin are included in this category.
What is the Difference Between State or Federal Drug Trafficking Charges?
The main difference between state and federal drug trafficking charges is that if you are charged with crossing state lines with drugs, the charges become a federal issue. If you are charged with drug trafficking in Florida only, without crossing state lines, the charges come from the state level.
Penalties also vary greatly depending on which drug schedule your charges include and whether or not they are state or federal-level charges. Federal charges typically contain much more significant penalties, such as prison time. In contrast, state charges may be harsh, but there is less potential for lengthy prison sentences or options such as attending a drug class and jail time.
Who Oversees the Drug Trafficking Charges?
Another significant difference between state and federal drug charges is who oversees or handles the cases. If the charges are on the state level, local law enforcement will review and try the case, including conducting investigations or providing evidence. If the charges are on the federal level, federal agencies get involved in the process of collecting evidence, tying the case, investigations, and more.
Other Concerns With Drug Trafficking Charges
It’s important to note that in addition to legal penalties that you may be facing with drug charges if found guilty, you will notice differences in employment opportunities, college applications, some professional licensing issues, and more.
Florida residents may also be prohibited from things like voting or possessing a firearm due to drug charges. Reputations can be at stake due to the charges you face, even without a criminal conviction.
Due to this, it’s imperative that you seek experienced and capable legal representation.
What Are the Valid Defenses of Drug Charges?
Understanding the complex charges and valid options can be incredibly challenging. Some of the most common defenses are finding inappropriate searches took place, proving your knowledge or intent, or questioning how evidence was gathered and presented.
Another option may be to prove that the amount of drugs or what drugs were found can put you in a lesser category of charges with lesser penalties.
Fierce Advocacy When You Need it the Most
As you can see, drug trafficking charges are a very serious matter. Entrusting a lawyer without specific experience in drug charges may overlook viable options, or an unsuccessful strategy may be in place.
We have a team of capable, compassionate, and aggressive attorneys with several years of experience fighting for our clients dealing with drug charges.
Don’t let just anyone handle your case. It’s essential that your attorney “speak the language” of drug charges and has a vast understanding of what your options are and, therefore, what viable strategies to put in place to defend you.
We can help you negotiate with prosecutors, investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest, challenge the evidence collected to find potential holes, work to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely, or aggressively represent you at trial.
One of our capable attorneys has a robust background in prosecution, offering him a unique perspective from which the entire team and clients can benefit. Call our office at (786) 933-6242 today to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your drug charges and what your options are.
We look forward to serving you.