Although cocaine is a popular party drug that some people consider to be a performance enhancer, it remains a federally prohibited substance that is also illegal in Florida. Given Florida’s location, it is a hotspot for drug trafficking from Central and South America.
As such, Florida has relatively strict rules in place regarding possession and other drug offenses. If police officers catch you in possession of cocaine, most of the time you’ll face drug possession charges. However, once the weight of the cocaine exceeds a certain amount, the state can charge you with a drug trafficking offense even if you never intended to share or sell the cocaine to other people.
You don’t have to get caught selling cocaine for trafficking charges
Only those caught in possession of less than 28 grams of cocaine will face standard possession charges in court. For those caught with 28 grams of cocaine or more, the likelihood is that Florida prosecutors will charge them with trafficking charges instead of possession.
Although trafficking typically implies that someone has sold or intended to sell a prohibited substance, police and prosecutors in Florida don’t have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to sell the cocaine, only that you possessed 28 grams or more. However, the greater the amount of cocaine in your possession, the more serious the penalties become.
The weight of the cocaine involved determines the charge and penalties
For those who get caught while in possession of between 28 and 200 grams of cocaine, the penalties they face will include up to three years of incarceration and a fine of up to $50,000. If the weight of the cocaine is between 200 and 400 grams (roughly 7 to 14 ounces), the penalties increase to up to seven years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Weights between 400 grams and 150 kilograms (more than 330 pounds) can lead to a 15-year sentence and $250,000 in fines. If the cocaine weighs more than 150 kilograms, the defendant could face up to life in jail.
Clearly, those facing cocaine charges involving a weight high enough to automatically qualify as trafficking should look over their options and the evidence against them carefully. It is possible to defend against these kinds of charges with the right help and a proper strategy.