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Parkland Drug Trafficking Attorney

Federal drug defense lawyers for serious criminal charges

Over the past several decades, South Florida has become notorious for drug trafficking activity. In response, state and federal legislatures have enacted laws that penalize drug-related crimes more severely than most other criminal offenses. For nearly four decades, David Joffe has represented defendants in complex drug trafficking cases in South Florida. If you or someone you know may potentially be facing a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines for federal drug offenses, call Parkland drug trafficking lawyer Joffe Law, P.A. and secure experienced representation today.

Federal drug crimes in Parkland

Like other South Florida communities, Parkland sees its share of drug trafficking. For illegal drug organizations, Florida is geographically advantageous as a hub for bringing certain controlled substances into the United States. Drug organizations use Florida’s transportation infrastructure to distribute illegal drugs throughout the Eastern half of the country.

Florida’s extensive coastline makes it easier for traffickers to transport drugs into the state by sea. The state’s close proximity to countries that are transit and production hubs for illegal drugs make cities in South Florida favorable for many criminal organizations.

Drug trafficking under Florida Law

Under Florida law, an individual may be charged with drug trafficking if he or she possesses a minimum threshold amount of an illegal narcotic as defined by state law. Like the federal government’s drug trafficking law, Florida law classifies controlled substances based on a schedule. The schedule categories substances based on potential for abuse, risk of addiction, and known medical use. The minimum threshold quantities for controlled substances is based on the substance’s ranking in the state’s controlled substance schedule. Some minimum threshold quantities are as follows:

  • Cannabis – At least 25 lbs. or 300 plants
  • Cocaine – At least 28 grams
  • Phencyclidine – 28 grams
  • Methaqualone – 200 grams
  • GHB (Date rape drug) – 1 kilogram
  • Hydrocodone – 4 grams
  • Oxycodone – 4 grams
  • Morphine – 4 grams
  • Opium – 4 grams
  • Amphetamine – 4 grams
  • LSD – 4 grams

To prove an allegation of drug trafficking, the state prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally sold, manufactured, delivered, or possessed the minimum threshold amount of an illegal controlled substance. If the defense can prove the defendant lacked knowledge regarding the substance or the intent to traffic or possess drugs, the court cannot legally convict the defendant.

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

Offenses related to drug trafficking

In Florida drug trafficking cases, prosecutors often charge the defendant for related offenses along with drug trafficking. If the prosecutor is unable to prove all of the elements of a drug trafficking charge, he or she may be able to prove a lesser offense. Some related charges we often see in drug trafficking cases include:

  • drug possession
  • drug manufacturing
  • drug distribution

Parkland FL drug possession charge

Drug possession is a fundamental charge in most major drug cases. Possession can also be a standalone offense. An individual may be charged with drug possession under Florida law if he or she has an illegal substance on his or her person or within close reach. Individuals may also be charged with possession if the substance is located in a space that is within the individual’s control. For example, an employee may be charged for having an illegal substance in his or her locker at work. The individual actively possesses a substance if he or she has the substance in a pocket, on his or her body, or within close reach. Constructive possession is the term the legal system uses when an individual has an item within his or her control although the item is not present on the individual’s person or close by.

Florida drug manufacturing and cultivation charges

Florida law prohibits the manufacturing and cultivation of illegal substances. Manufacturing is defined as the creation of an illegal substance in a quantity that is greater than one would consume for personal use. An individual may be charged for having the intent to manufacture a controlled substance. Specific activities that can trigger a manufacturing charge include:

  • producing a controlled substance
  • preparing a controlled substance
  • propagating a controlled substance
  • compounding a controlled substance
  • cultivating or growing marijuana
  • converting a controlled substance
  • processing a controlled substance

Repackaging a drug or extracting a substance from its natural origin is also categorized as drug manufacturing. Because drug manufacturing is a complicated charge with multiple parts, defendants who have been accused of drug manufacturing in Parkland FL should always contact an experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer. If a state prosecutor is unable to prove every element of a drug manufacturing charge, the state may agree to drop the charge. However, the state may still pursue a lesser offense like drug possession.

Florida drug distribution offenses

Where drug trafficking charges focus on quantities, distribution charges focus on evidence that suggests the defendant was attempting to “move” the drugs.  An individual may be charged with drug distribution under Florida law if he or she imports, sells, or moves an illegal controlled substance. Unlike a drug trafficking charge, a distribution charge does not require the defendant to possess a minimum quantity. Instead, prosecutors may use other evidence to prove distribution. For example, the defendant may have had one gram of heroin along with several small plastic bags, a scale, and multiple stacks of $20 bills totaling thousands of dollars. The drug quantity would not meet the requirements for a trafficking charge, but the presence of other paraphernalia that is used for distributing and selling drugs would likely meet the requirements for a distribution charge.

In many cases, evidence of drug distribution may be subjective. Having a seasoned drug distribution defense lawyer on your team can help you avoid conviction if the prosecution cannot sufficiently prove its case.

Enhanced sentencing in Parkland FL drug cases

The presence of certain factors in a drug case can permit a prosecutor to seek enhanced sentencing. Aggravating factors may be based on:

  • where the crime took place
  • whether the defendant had a weapon
  • whether someone was injured or killed while the crime was in progress

Drug charges in drug-free zones

Florida law identifies certain types of locations as drug-free zones. Individuals who are convicted for engaging in drug-related activity in a drug-free zone may be subjected to more severe sentencing. Some examples of drug-free zones include:

  • schools
  • daycares
  • community centers
  • parks
  • colleges, universities, and other postsecondary institutions
  • churches and other places of worship
  • assisted living facilities
  • public housing communities
  • 24-hour convenience stores
  • gas stations that sell groceries

Most drug-free zones are covered by a 1,000-foot radius. In some cases, drug-free zone laws may only apply during certain hours. For example, drug-free zone laws for schools are effective during the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight. An individual who is convicted for activity that took place outside of the specified hours may not be subjected to enhanced sentencing.

Armed drug trafficking in Parkland

Armed drug trafficking is not a standalone offense. In order to establish the case for conviction on an armed drug trafficking charge, the prosecution must prove the defendant used a firearm while also meeting the definition of drug trafficking. Because armed trafficking is an aggravated offense, the penalties for armed trafficking are more severe than the penalties for a standard trafficking charge.

Florida’s felony murder rule

Florida’s statutes include a version of the felony murder rule. The felony murder rule allows a defendant to be charged with murder if someone dies while the defendant was engaged in committing a felony. Within the context of drug-related offenses, Florida courts have convicted defendants for felony murder if the defendant supplied drugs to an individual who died as a result of consuming the drug. The felony murder rule can be applied to drug distribution and drug trafficking cases.

Mandatory minimum sentencing in Parkland drug trafficking cases

In Parkland drug cases, state law requires sentencing courts to follow the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. When an offense carries mandatory minimum sentencing, the judge cannot use his or her discretion. Instead, the judge must impose a standard sentence that specifies a minimum sentence in prison. Some examples of Florida’s mandatory minimum sentences range from three years in prison to life in prison for certain substances, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, cocaine, and rohypnol.

Prescription drug trafficking offenses

Because most people have been prescribed medication at some point, it is often easier to adopt a lax attitude when it comes to prescription drug misuse. Nevertheless, Florida has some of the strictest prescription drug laws in the United States. Over the past few decades, Florida has become a haven for people who are seeking illegal prescriptions. In response, the state legislature cracked down on offenses like prescription drug trafficking and illegal possession in addition to targeting the pill mills that were once numerous.

Illegal possession of a prescription drug

Florida law prohibits the possession in any amount of a prescription drug without a valid prescription from an authorized medical professional. The law strictly applies to most people; however, a legal exception exists for:

  • doctors
  • pharmacists
  • other healthcare workers
  • pharmaceutical drug representatives
  • investigators and law enforcement officers in the course of their job duties

There are several ways innocent people may find themselves facing a criminal charge for actions as simple as running routine errands. For example, an individual who is picking up medication for a sick or injured relative may face legal trouble if stopped by the police. Someone who operates a medical transportation business may be questioned if the police find a client’s medication in the vehicle during off-duty hours. The good news is a Florida drug defense lawyer can usually prevent innocent people from being convicted of a crime in these situations.

Distribution of prescription drugs

An individual may be charged for possessing a large amount of prescription drugs with the intent to sell if he or she is caught with a large quantity of prescription drugs. Furthermore, the individual may be charged with the intent to distribute if the person has a smaller quantity of prescription drugs in the presence of other factors that suggest the intent to distribute. Some of the most common prescription drugs for which defendants face prosecution are:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Oxycodone
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine
  • Xanax

If convicted on an illegal prescription drug charge, the defendant may be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail for having a small quantity of prescription drugs without authorization to five years in state prison for distributing prescription drugs. Anyone who is facing a prescription drug charge should contact a federal defense lawyer immediately after being arrested.

Contacting a Parkland drug trafficking lawyer

Joffe Law is Parkland’s trusted law firm when it comes to drug trafficking cases and other drug-related offenses. David Joffe’s experience with complex drug trafficking cases in South Florida sets him apart from other federal defense attorneys near Parkland. Contact our talented team to learn more about how we can help you. A member of our team will schedule a case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions
about drug trafficking charges

If the police found drugs while I was driving someone else’s car, can I just say the drugs weren’t mine?

That may not be enough. There are several factors that determine whether a defendant possessed a drug. The location of the substance, your relationship with the person who owns the car, and how long you’ve had the vehicle are a few questions law enforcement officials may examine to determine whether it’s likely that you knew the drugs were present and if the drugs belonged to you. If you have been stopped by a law enforcement officer who discovered drugs in your vehicle, immediately call a Parkland defense attorney.

What should I do if I am being accused of illegally possessing a prescription drug?

First, try not to panic. Contact Joffe Law to discuss the specific details of your case. Oftentimes, there are harmless reasons a person may technically possess a prescription drug without a prescription. Our attorney will examine your case and determine the best approach to challenging the charge that has been filed against you.

Is it too early to call an attorney if a law enforcement officer has requested an interview with me about a drug trafficking case?

Sometimes law enforcement agencies will interview people they believe may have helpful information or a close relation to someone who is under investigation. In other cases, the law enforcement agency may suspect you may have some involvement. In any situation, always contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer before communicating with law enforcement.

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