ClickCease Coconut Grove Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney | (786) 644-6280
1,200+
Federal Cases Defended
Se Habla Español*Call 24x7

Coconut Grove Drug Trafficking Lawyer

Federal drug defense attorneys with decades of experience

Drug convictions commonly lead to the defendant being sentenced to decades in prison. Nevertheless, drug activity is rampant in South Florida. If you or someone you know is facing federal drug charges, you need the representation and legal advocacy of a highly skilled Coconut Grove drug trafficking defense attorney. Joffe Law, P.A. is a premier Florida federal defense law firm. We represent people who are accused of drug trafficking in Coconut Grove and surrounding areas.

South Florida as a drug trafficking hub

Actors in the illegal drug trade view South Florida as an attractive hub for several reasons. Florida has the second-longest coastline in the United States, and there are more than one million boats registered in the state. The long coast and abundance of watercrafts make transporting drugs into Florida by sea a viable option. Close proximity to drug production and transit countries in South America and the Caribbean Islands makes delivering drugs into the U.S. a matter of making a short trip. Illegal drug organizations use Florida’s interstate highways and international airports to move drugs throughout the Eastern United States once they have smuggled the drugs into the country. South Florida’s diverse immigrant community allows drug organizations to discreetly establish contacts inside the US and in other countries.

When law enforcement agencies investigate drug offenses, they do not limit the investigation to people who actively buy, sell, produce, and transport drugs. Oftentimes, investigations also include people who are in close proximity to drug organizations and assist with money laundering and other related activities. If you are under investigation for drug-related activity, protect yourself by retaining a Coconut Grove drug trafficking lawyer.

Florida’s drug possession law

The state’s drug possession laws apply to “street” drugs and other controlled substances like prescription drugs if the defendant does not have a valid prescription. People who are convicted for possession are typically caught with a quantity of a controlled substance that is an amount someone would have for personal use. An individual may also be charged with drug possession if he or she has paraphernalia; however, the prosecution usually must prove the paraphernalia was intended to be used for an illegal drug-related purpose. In some cases, the state is unable to prove all of the required elements of a more severe drug offense like trafficking. However, if the state proves the element of possession, the defendant may be convicted on the lesser charge of drug possession. Defendants may also agree to a charge of possession if the state offers a plea deal in the interest of avoiding a trial.

Penalties for drug possession

Depending on the substance involved, drug possession can either be a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony charge. If a defendant is convicted for possessing up to 20 grams of marijuana, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. However, possession of more than 10 grams of a Schedule I drug like heroin, LSD, or methaqualone is a first-degree felony offense. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and fined up to $10,000.

In some cases, a drug trafficking attorney in Coconut Grove can get the defendant’s sentence reduced, especially if the defendant is a first-time offender or if other mitigating circumstances are present. If you were caught in possession of drugs in Coconut Grove, contact Joffe Law, and we will determine the best way to defend you against your state or federal drug charge.

Just Arrested in Coconut Grove?
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.

Drug trafficking in Coconut Grove

Florida’s drug trafficking law mainly targets people who supply drug dealers with illegal controlled substances. Drug traffickers are more likely to be caught with large quantities of drugs. Therefore, the law against drug trafficking is based on whether the defendant was found in possession of a minimum threshold quantity of an illegal controlled substance. The Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act includes a schedule that lists hundreds of drugs that are identified by state law as controlled substances. Within the schedule, the controlled substances are categorized according to their known medical uses, potential for abuse, and risk of a person becoming dependent on the substance. The minimum threshold quantities specified in the drug trafficking law are based on the schedule of controlled substances. Some minimum threshold quantities are:

  • at least 25 lbs. of cannabis or 300 plants
  • at least 28 grams of cocaine
  • at least 4 grams of fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, or opium
  • at least 14 grams of amphetamine
  • at least 1 kilogram of GHB
  • at least 1 gram of LSG

Florida mandatory minimum sentences for drug charges

Florida law imposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking charges. A drug trafficking conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in state prison. Possession of larger amounts of an illegal controlled substance carries a larger mandatory minimum sentence. For example, the mandatory minimum sentence is three years if a defendant is convicted for trafficking less than 2,000 lbs. of cannabis. However, if a defendant is convicted for trafficking between 2,000 and 10,000 lbs. of cannabis, the mandatory minimum sentence is seven years in state prison.

Florida judges are legally mandated to sentence defendants to a specified minimum prison sentence in drug offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Federal drug offenses also have mandatory minimum sentences. In certain instances, judges may depart from imposing the mandatory minimum sentence. Your Coconut Grove federal defense lawyer can determine whether your case qualifies for an exception to federal or state mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines in your drug trafficking case.

Armed drug trafficking

If there is a weapon present in a drug trafficking case, the court may enhance the sentencing. Armed drug trafficking is not a standalone offense. However, a defendant may be convicted for armed drug trafficking if he or she possesses the minimum threshold quantity of a controlled substance and uses or threatens to use a firearm at the time of the offense.

Drug trafficking vs. drug distribution

Drug trafficking and drug distribution are often terms that are used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences between the two charges. Florida’s drug trafficking statute focuses on the amount of a drug a defendant possesses. The drug distribution statute is based on the idea that the defendant is moving an illegal controlled substance whether by selling, exchanging, or otherwise distributing the substance.

Under the state drug distribution law, prosecutors are not required to prove the defendant possessed the minimum threshold quantity of a drug. Instead, prosecutors must prove the intent to distribute the drug by offering evidence that proves the defendant’s intent to give the drugs to someone else. Examples of factors that suggest a defendant’s intent to distribute a drug include:

  • the presence of a scale the defendant may use to measure quantities when dividing the drug up for sale
  • a large quantity of cash located in close proximity to the drugs
  • a contact list located in close proximity to the drugs
  • small plastic bags that may be used to package the drugs

Drug trafficking offenses in drug-free zones

State law identifies certain areas as drug-free zones. If an individual is caught engaging in illegal drug activity within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zone, the court may impose a more severe sentence if the individual is convicted. Drug-free zones are located throughout South Florida and across the state. Some examples of drug-free zones in Florida are:

  • places of worship
  • schools
  • universities
  • assisted living facilities
  • government buildings
  • convenience stores that sell groceries
  • 24-hour convenience stores

Florida law distinguishes between two types of drug-free zones. One type of drug-free zone covers areas in which enhanced penalties will apply without regard to the time of day the offense occurred. The other type applies to areas that are only drug-free zones during certain hours. For example, schools are only drug-free zones between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight. Defendants generally may not argue lack of knowledge that an area is a drug-free zone as a defense.

Drug cultivation and manufacturing charges

Drug cultivation and manufacturing are both crimes in Florida. Cultivation is the act of growing, producing, or manufacturing a controlled substance. Specifically, the cultivation law is mainly used to prosecute cases in which the defendant is accused of growing or producing elements that are used to produce illegal drugs. For example, possessing cannabis seeds or the elements that are used to produce methamphetamine or LSD would be charged as a drug cultivation offense.

Manufacturing a drug is defined in the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act as directly or indirectly producing, preparing, compounding, cultivating, growing, converting, or processing a controlled substance. A controlled substance may be manufactured through extraction from a natural substance, chemical synthesis, or a combination of the two processes. Packaging, repackaging, and relabeling a controlled substance are also drug manufacturing under Florida law.

Florida does not have a standalone drug manufacturing statute. Manufacturing cases that involve amounts that are under the minimum threshold quantity for drug trafficking are charged under the state’s possession statute. Drug manufacturing cases that involve smaller amounts of drugs and the defendant receives the least severe sentence are third degree felony cases. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced to a maximum of five years in state prison and fined up to $5,000. Cases that involve amounts of drugs that meet the minimum threshold quantity are charged under the state’s drug trafficking statute.

Prescription drug crimes in South Florida

Florida has very aggressive laws against the illegal possession, sale, manufacturing, and distribution of prescription drugs. The state’s tough stance on prescription drug offenses is in response to Florida’s past reputation as a haven for people who are seeking oxycontin, oxycodone, and other illegal prescription drugs.

More than 10 years ago, the term “Oxy Express” described I-75, a highway that runs through Florida and runs through multiple states up to Ohio. The “Oxy Express” was used to supply illegal prescription drugs to people who would travel, often across state lines, to Florida’s “pill mills.” Pill mills are pain management clinics that provide easy access to prescription drugs that are otherwise more closely regulated. From the early 2000s to 2010, pill mills proliferated across Florida. The informal medical practices mostly accept cash as payment, often do not conduct a physical exam, and prescribe prescription pills as the only option for treating physical pain.

The state’s legislature responded to the large number of pill mills by enacting stringent laws against the possession of prescription drugs. For example, an individual may face a criminal charge if he or she is caught in possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription from a licensed practitioner. Illegally possessing a prescription drug is a second-degree misdemeanor offense. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced to a maximum of 60 days in jail and ordered to pay a fine up to $500. Illegal possession of a prescription drug with the intent to sell, dispense, or deliver the drug is a third-degree felony offense.

Although the state legislature and law enforcement agencies have cracked down on pill mills and the prescription drug trade, people have found other illegal ways to access the drugs. Instead of visiting pill mills, individuals who are looking to purchase tightly monitored prescription drugs for personal use or for sale engage in the following illegal practices:

  • doctor shopping – the act of visiting multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • impersonating a healthcare professional and calling in a prescription
  • pharmacy theft
  • prescription pad theft
  • forging existing prescriptions

If you were caught illegally possessing a prescription drug in Coconut Grove, your attorney may be able to work something out. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal or a lighter sentence. If you were wrongfully accused, we will work diligently to clear your name and to have the charge dropped.

Coconut Grove attorney for drug trafficking offenders

Drug charges in Florida require the representation of an aggressive criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested in Coconut Grove for drug trafficking, contact Joffe Law to receive formidable legal representation.

Also see…

Federal Appeals Lawyer in Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove White Collar Crime Attorney

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.