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Joffe Law, P.A. Federal Defense Attorney Boca Raton Boca Raton Drug Trafficking Attorney

Boca Raton Drug Trafficking Lawyer

Powerful defense for federal drug crime charges

Drug crimes are among the most intensely investigated and heavily penalized. Depending on the facts of a case, Florida drug offenses can be prosecuted in state and federal court. Therefore, people who are convicted for drug trafficking or a related offense may be subjected to a lengthy prison sentence and ordered to pay substantial fines. Federal drug charges have mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, and sentencing may be enhanced based on certain aggravating factors. Defendants who are facing a federal drug charge in Boca Raton should immediately retain a federal drug trafficking attorney. Joffe Law, P.A. represents individuals who have been accused of drug trafficking in Boca Raton and surrounding areas.

Controlled substance charge in Boca Raton

The state of Florida and the federal government classify controlled substances into a schedule. Each level within the schedule corresponds to the severity of sentencing if a court convicts a defendant for trafficking certain drugs. Florida’s controlled substance schedule mirrors the schedule the federal government provides in the text of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.

SCHEDULE I SUBSTANCES

Drugs that are classified as Schedule I substances have a high potential for abuse and no known medical use for treatment in the United States. Using Schedule I substances under medical intervention does not meet state and federal accepted safety standards. Examples of Schedule I substances are:

  • heroin
  • ecstasy
  • peyote
  • methaqualone
  • LSD
  • marijuana
  • fentanyl

Cannabis has recently become accepted in certain states for medical use. Nevertheless, marijuana and cannabis products are still classified as a Schedule I drug.

SCHEDULE II SUBSTANCES

Schedule II drugs have a very high potential for abuse, but some Schedule II drugs have recognized medical uses. Because these drugs have a high potential for abuse, prescriptions for Schedule II drugs are closely monitored. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:

  • methamphetamine
  • cocaine
  • oxycontin
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin

SCHEDULE III SUBSTANCES

The controlled substances that are classified as Schedule III have a relatively low risk for psychological dependence. Risk for abuse is lower than drugs in Schedules I, II, and III, but higher than that of drugs in Schedule IV. It is illegal to have, make, sell, or distribute Schedule III drugs. Examples include:

  • acetaminophen and aspirin products that contain codeine
  • drugs that contain Vicodin
  • testosterone
  • anabolic steroids
  • suboxone
Just Arrested in Boca Raton?
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SCHEDULE IV DRUGS

Doctors commonly prescribe Schedule IV drugs. Risk of developing an addiction to a Schedule IV drug is said to be low. In reality, Schedule IV drugs can cause harm or lead to addiction. Examples include:

  • Ativan
  • Xanax
  • Klonopin
  • Valium

SCHEDULE V DRUGS

Schedule V drugs are also commonly prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs that often require an ID when purchasing. The risk of developing an addiction to a Schedule V drug is lower than the risk associated with drugs in all other schedules. Examples of Schedule V drugs are:

  • cough suppressants
  • OTC painkillers
  • antidiarrheal drugs

Drug trafficking in Florida

Florida law defines drug trafficking as knowingly selling, manufacturing, buying, importing, delivering, or knowingly actively or constructively possessing an illegal Schedule I or Schedule II substance in a specific quantity. The state’s drug trafficking law specifies the minimum quantity the state must prove the defendant possessed to substantiate a drug trafficking charge. We’ve listed some of the statutory minimum quantities below:

  • cannabis – 25 lbs. or 300 plants
  • Cocaine – 28 grams
  • MDMA or Ecstasy – 10 grams
  • LSD – 1 gram
  • oxycodone – 7 grams
  • heroin – 4 grams
  • hydrocodone – 14 grams
  • GHB – 1 kilogram

An individual may be charged with drug trafficking and convicted under state law if he or she possesses an illegal narcotic in the minimum quantity. The state does not have to prove the defendant was actively moving or selling the substance.

Florida mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking

Similar to the federal government, Florida law specifies mandatory minimum sentencing for drug trafficking. In the absence of specific circumstances, Florida judges impose a minimum prison sentence and fine based on the substance involved.

For marijuana trafficking, the mandatory minimum sentence is three years in prison and a $25,000 fine if the defendant possessed between 25 and 2,000 lbs of cannabis. The mandatory minimum sentence increases to seven years in prison and a $50,000 fine if the defendant had more than 2,000 lbs but less than 10,000 lbs. If a defendant was in possession of 10,000 lbs or more of cannabis, sentencing guidelines call for a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $200,000.

The mandatory minimum sentences are more severe for heroin. Defendants who are convicted for possessing between 4 and 14 grams of heroin are sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison and fined $50,000. Trafficking between 14 grams and 28 grams of heroin carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. For quantities between 28 grams and 30 kilograms, Florida courts sentence convicted defendants to a minimum of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Currently, heroin is the only controlled substance under Florida law that carries the potential of a mandatory life sentence. Florida’s sentencing guidelines call for judges to sentence convicted defendants to a minimum of life in prison and a $500,000 fine if the defendant possessed a minimum quantity of 30 kilograms of heroin.

There are several ways in which a Boca Raton drug trafficking defense attorney may be able to challenge a drug trafficking charge. If you or someone you know has been charged for trafficking drugs in Florida, Joffe Law will review your case and advise you of potential legal strategies.

Related criminal charges in Boca Raton drug trafficking cases

When the state accuses someone of trafficking a controlled substance, the individual will likely face other related charges. It is not uncommon for defendants in drug trafficking cases to also be charged with possession, distribution, and manufacturing.

DRUG POSSESSION

Drug possession is a standalone charge and also a foundational element in other drug charges. If the state is unable to prove all of the elements of drug trafficking, the court may still convict a defendant on a lesser charge of possession. Under Florida law, an individual may be convicted for drug possession if he or she knowingly has a controlled substance on his or her person, in close proximity, or in a location that is within the individual’s control.

Actual possession means the substance was found in the defendant’s hand, pocket, or in a bag or accessory the defendant was carrying at the time law enforcement discovered the substance. Construction possession is also sufficient to establish the case for conviction on a drug possession charge. A defendant constructively possessed drugs if he or she had knowledge and control over a controlled substance. Therefore, if the defendant knew the location of a controlled substance and had control of the substance’s presence, he or she may be convicted for drug possession in Florida. Under the state’s drug possession law, a vehicle owner may be convicted if he or she stored drugs in the glove compartment or under a car seat. An individual may be charged for drug possession under federal and state law  if an airport security agent finds a controlled substance inside of the individual’s checked luggage.

Knowledge is a key element in drug possession cases. The prosecution must prove the defendant knew of the drug’s presence. For this reason, a court cannot convict a defendant if there is proof that someone else placed the drugs on the defendant’s person, in the defendant’s property, or in close proximity to the defendant.

There are several other ways a Boca Raton defense attorney for drug charges can challenge an accusation of drug possession in Florida. Your Florida defense lawyer will choose the most appropriate defense strategy based on the facts of your case.

Boca Raton drug distribution defense lawyer

Drug distribution and drug trafficking are very similar charges at first glance. However, a drug distribution charge focuses on the movement of a minimum quantity of a controlled substance whereas drug trafficking is based on the possession of a minimum quantity. To establish a drug distribution charge, a state prosecutor must prove the defendant knowingly and willfully possessed a controlled substance as defined by Florida law. Next, the state must prove the defendant participated or intended to participate in activity to bring the substance into Florida. The quantity of the controlled substance must meet the minimum amount specified in Florida’s drug trafficking statute.

Similar to a drug trafficking charge, drug distribution is a serious offense. If you or a loved one has been accused of drug distribution in Boca Raton, notify law enforcement that you would like to retain legal counsel, and call a reputable Florida defense lawyer.

Prescription drug trafficking in Florida

Florida has become infamous for prescription drug trafficking. Years ago, the state’s “pill mills” granted relatively easy access to prescription drugs. Pain management centers and illegal clinics attracted prescription drug addicts and drug dealers from across the state. Florida has since cracked down on the illegal distribution of prescription drugs and illegal prescriptions. State law prohibits the possession of prescription pills and other closely regulated drugs without a valid prescription. Possession of a large quantity of prescription drugs without a valid prescription may result in the individual being changed with prescription drug trafficking.

Federal drug trafficking charges

It is not uncommon for individuals who are charged with drug trafficking in Florida to also be charged with one or more related federal offenses. The federal and state courts operate within separate but parallel systems. Therefore, a defendant may be charged in both court systems for a single incident without violating the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause.

The federal government may automatically assume jurisdiction over a drug trafficking case under certain circumstances. A defendant may be charged in federal court for drug trafficking if:

  • the criminal activity crosses into another state or country
  • the crime involves a federal government worker or federal agency
  • the criminal activity occurs on government property

If you are facing a federal drug trafficking charge, you will need powerful legal representation. Joffe Law, P.A. is highly qualified to represent drug trafficking defendants in federal court.

Contacting a Boca Raton drug trafficking attorney

Whether you have been contacted by law enforcement or arrested and charged for drug trafficking, the best way to defend yourself is to contact your own personal federal defense attorney in Boca Raton. Call the legal professionals at Joffe Law to receive a case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Drug Trafficking Defense Questions

When is the best time to retain a lawyer?

It’s never too soon to call a lawyer. If you suspect you may be under investigation for a drug charge in Boca Raton, retaining an attorney prior to speaking with law enforcement can protect your freedom and your reputation.

What are the advantages to hiring a lawyer over working with a public defender?

Although public defendants often have a great deal of experience, they are generally overworked and overstretched. When you hire a private attorney, your lawyer will have more time to allocate to your case and access to more resources to help prove your case.

What can help prove the state’s case for drug distribution?

If available, prosecutors are likely to introduce evidence that suggests the intent to sell or distribute drugs. Paraphernalia like scales, small plastic bags, and large quantities of money are examples of evidence that is likely to be weighed against the defendant’s case.

Can a Boca Raton defense lawyer negotiate a plea bargain?

You should always speak with a lawyer before accepting a plea deal. Having a defense attorney represent you from the beginning may afford more opportunities for your attorney to negotiate a more favorable deal. Contact Joffe Law to learn more about plea bargain deals in Boca Raton.

Can defendants appeal a drug trafficking conviction?

You generally have the right to appeal your case if the trial court made an error. There are several potential errors that may provide grounds for an appeal. Our attorney can advise you regarding the appeals process and file an appeal on your behalf. We can also inform you about other post-conviction relief options that may be available for your case.

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