What is Drug Trafficking
Under F.S. 893.135 trafficking the defendant does not have to be caught selling or delivering drugs to be convicted of trafficking. For a conviction under this statute all the prosecutor needs to show is that the defendant had over a certain amount of drugs.
Excessive Sentences in Drug Trafficking
Drug Trafficking carries one of the toughest and most disproportionate sentence of any non-violent crime. In 2014 President Obama in an effort to reduce some of these excessive sentences launched the Clemency Project 2014, where the president said he would commute the sentence of certain defendants who would have a received a lower sentence today then at the time they were sentence. Unfortunately the State of Florida did not elect to offer a similar program at the state system.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking
Being convicted of Trafficking in drugs can carry a maximum term of incarceration anywhere from 15 years in prison to life. It can also have mandatory prison sentence of:
- 3 years
- 7 years
- 15 years
- 25 years
Often times law enforcement investigates drug trafficking by using confidential informants. A confidential informant is generally someone who will participate in a transaction while working with law enforcement. Some confidential informants are professionals, while others are defendant charged with a crime, who is trying to get leniency by helping out law enforcement. Many of these transactions are video taped or recorded.
Defenses to Drug Trafficking
Often times trafficking charges are often hard to defend against. If the defendant was just found to be in constructive possession of the drugs, then he may raise the same defenses discussed in the defenses for drug possession. The defendant in a trafficking case can generally also get the drugs reweighed, which often times results in the drugs weighing less the second time they are weighed. There are some issues that an attorney may be able to bring up at trial as well. If a confidential informant is working off drug charges you can bring that up. Attorneys can also bring up any deal that a confidential informant made with law enforcement. Many times law enforcement does not give confidential informants leniency unless there work actually leads to an arrest, and the defendant has the right to cross examine him about his need to make the sell for leniency.