Although medical marijuana has been legalized, recreational marijuana remains illegal. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and courts take cannabis trafficking very seriously. Trafficking can involve a wide range of activities, including smuggling a drug into Florida from overseas or another state. According to the Sun-Sentinel, marijuana seizures at the border in 2013 were more than double those in 2012, with 26,823 pounds of cannabis seized. If you are charged with this crime, you should consult a Bradenton cannabis trafficking lawyer. At Hanlon Law, we protect the rights of the accused.Fighting a Cannabis Trafficking Charge
You can be charged with cannabis trafficking under Florida Statute section 893.135 if you are caught possessing, buying, selling, making, delivering, or importing cannabis into the state, and a threshold amount of cannabis is involved. You can be charged even if you simply possess the threshold amount of cannabis. The threshold amount for a trafficking charge is 25 pounds or 300 plants. Thus, for example, if you have 300 plants of cannabis that you grow for recreation in your backyard, you could be charged with trafficking. Similarly, if you agree to carry 25 pounds of cannabis into Florida at the request of a friend, you could be charged with trafficking.
In most drug crime cases, such as those involving prescription fraud, the judge has the opportunity to exercise discretion over the sentence. However, there is no discretion in mandatory minimum sentence schemes, except under extremely rare circumstances. A cannabis trafficking attorney in the Bradenton area can explain the penalties that you may face. People caught with 25–2,000 pounds or 300-2,000 plants can be charged with a first-degree felony and receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. People caught with 2,000-10,000 pounds or 2,000-10,000 plants face the possibility of a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. People caught with 10,000 pounds or 10,000 plants or more face the possibility of a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a $200,000 fine.
There is a lot of misinformation about recreational possession of cannabis. You should retain an attorney who understands how much is at stake in a cannabis trafficking charge in Florida. Florida is known to have some of the toughest drug trafficking laws in the country, so hiring an experienced Bradenton cannabis trafficking attorney is critical. The appropriate defense depends on the circumstances of both the underlying acts and the investigation by law enforcement.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to raise a reasonable doubt about an element of the offense. Often, cannabis is found in a car or home where more than one person had access to it. It is unlikely that somebody would have sufficient cannabis on his or her person to constitute trafficking. When constructive possession, rather than actual possession, is the basis of a Florida cannabis trafficking charge, the prosecution will need to show that: (1) you knew that the drugs were there, and (2) you had the ability to exercise your dominion or control over them. Mere proximity to the cannabis is not enough to show that you had the capacity to exercise dominion or control. If the prosecutor only shows that the drugs were in a place close to the occupants of a house, for example, this is not enough to show dominion or control for the purposes of establishing constructive possession.
In other situations, there may be substantive defenses that we can raise. For example, we may be able to show entrapment. We can show entrapment if: (1) you were encouraged to participate in cannabis trafficking so that law enforcement officers could get evidence that you committed a crime, (2) you engaged in cannabis trafficking as a direct result of being encouraged by law enforcement or confidential informants working in cooperation with law enforcement, (3) those who persuaded you used methods that created a substantial risk that you would traffic in cannabis in spite of not being otherwise ready to commit the crime, or (4) you actually were someone not otherwise ready to commit the crime.Enlist a Cannabis Trafficking Lawyer in Bradenton for Your Defense
Cannabis trafficking is taken seriously and punished harshly in Florida, as are trafficking offenses involving other drugs like hydrocodone or GBL. If you have been charged with cannabis trafficking, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our law firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has represented defendants accused of drug crimes since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 941.253.0254 or contact us through our online form.