Drug trafficking crimes in Tampa, Florida, can carry heavy penalties, so it’s essential to understand some of the best defenses for these charges. Read on to learn more about managing drug trafficking charges.
What is drug trafficking?
Before we look at common defenses, we need to understand what drug trafficking is. According to the law, drug trafficking is the transportation or possession of illegal substances with the intent to distribute. In Tampa, Florida, the burden of proof falls to the prosecutors. They must first show that the defendant had large quantities of a controlled substance.
There are state and federal laws against drug trafficking. In most instances, perpetrators who cross state lines are prosecuted at a federal level. At the state level, local authorities can also act based on federal laws, even if trafficking occurred solely within the state.
Sentences for drug trafficking charges
Drug crime laws are rather complex in Florida. The penalties and charges will, therefore, vary depending on two things, both the amount and the type of drug involved.
For example, trafficking cannabis can result in a minimum imprisonment of three years when found with less than 2,000 pounds. However, those trafficking over 10,000 pounds face a 15-year minimum jail sentence and an additional $200,000 fine.
With cocaine, on the other hand, a defendant can face a minimum jail sentence of three years when trafficking less than 200 grams. A sentence of life in prison is also possible if the offender is found guilty of trafficking more than 150 kilograms.
Defenses of drug trafficking charges
Different defenses can help overturn a drug trafficking charge in Florida. These include the following:
Illegal search and seizure
The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution shields citizens from unlawful or unreasonable searches and seizures. Therefore, if there is evidence collected during an unlawful search, it must be excluded during the trial.
Law enforcement officers, in some cases, may coerce or induce an individual to engage in the sale or purchase of illegal drugs. If a defendant is a victim of entrapment, this serves as an effective defense in a court of law.
Lack of evidence
To be convicted for drug trafficking in Tampa, prosecutors must provide sufficient evidence proving the accused knew about the controlled substance being moved. Equally, they have to show that the weight of the drugs surpassed the possession thresholds. Without these pieces of evidence, the charge may not withstand in a court of law.