Around the world, cocaine is the second-most trafficked illegal drug. According to a 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted on people ages 12 and up in our country, 35.3 million Americans reported that they have used cocaine. 8.6 million reported using crack, a form of cocaine. Hundreds of thousands of ER visits involve cocaine each year around the country. As a result, cocaine trafficking is taken very seriously in Florida, similar to trafficking in cannabis and other widespread drugs. If you are charged with this type of offense, you should consult an experienced Bradenton cocaine trafficking lawyer.Overview of Cocaine Trafficking Charges
Cocaine trafficking is charged if you are caught with at least the threshold amount. Unlike a charge for cocaine possession or cocaine selling, cocaine trafficking convictions carry mandatory minimum penalties. The judge is required to impose a mandatory minimum penalty even if they believe that you deserve a lower sentence. They do not have discretion to consider mitigating circumstances, such as the fact that something is a first offense, as they do with other charges.
The threshold amount for cocaine trafficking is 28 grams. You can be charged with cocaine trafficking if you actually or constructively possessed, sold, brought into Florida, or delivered this quantity of cocaine. When the trafficking conviction involves 28 grams-200 grams of cocaine, the court will sentence you to at least 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. When the trafficking conviction involves 200 grams-400 grams of cocaine, the court will sentence you to at least 7 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. When the trafficking conviction involves 400 grams-150 kg. of cocaine, the court will sentence you to at least 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If you are charged with trafficking in 150 kg. or more of cocaine, you may face life in prison. You will not be able to get parole or another form of discretionary early release unless certain narrow conditions exist.
Cocaine trafficking is taken very seriously. You must retain an experienced cocaine trafficking attorney in Bradenton as soon as you realize that you are being investigated. Generally, we can provide a stronger defense if we get involved early in your case. Sometimes it may be possible to raise a doubt in the prosecutor's mind so that we can obtain a dismissal of the charges or persuade the prosecutor to charge an ordinary drug crime so that you do not face a mandatory minimum sentence. In other cases, for people who have significant knowledge about other perpetrators of this crime, it may be possible to avoid harsh penalties by giving law enforcement officers substantial assistance. Becoming a confidential informant is not appropriate for everyone, and it is important to work with an experienced Bradenton cocaine trafficking attorney. Trying to give assistance without a formal agreement may result in self-incrimination and a stronger case for the prosecutor.
Sometimes, it is appropriate to raise a constitutional or procedural violation in a motion to suppress. We may be able to bring a motion to suppress if police officers pulled you over without a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. The reasonable suspicion standard requires police to have articulable reasons for pulling you over when you are driving. They cannot pull you over on a mere hunch. Meanwhile, the police usually must have a warrant to search a warehouse or another structure that you own. If they did not obtain a warrant, it may be appropriate to file a motion to suppress. However, there are exceptions to the warrant rule, such as exigent circumstances, and it is important to retain an experienced attorney to raise this defense on your behalf.Hire a Knowledgeable Cocaine Trafficking Lawyer in Bradenton
Cocaine trafficking carries harsh penalties, and even after you do time in prison, you may be followed around by a social stigma for the rest of your life. It may be harder to get a job, rent an apartment, get a professional license, and do other important things in life once you get out of prison. If you have been charged with cocaine trafficking, you should retain a tough and experienced lawyer like our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, who has represented the accused since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 941.462.1789 or complete our online form. We also represent people facing charges of trafficking in other controlled substances, ranging from hydrocodone to GHB.