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Advocates For The Accused
Since 1993
McIntosh Law | Advocates for The Accused Since 1993

Speak With Our Attorneys –

Phone: 941-306-3230

What is the difference between drug possession and trafficking?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Drug Charges

There are many different types of drug crimes. Possession and trafficking are two of the most common offenses. Possession charges can result from a small amount, and the charges and penalties are usually less severe. Trafficking, on the other hand, involves the possession, manufacture or transportation of large amounts of drugs.

Drug offenses of any kind on your record can have severe consequences, personally and professionally. Many states have fully legalized cannabis. However, in Florida, the drug is only legal for medicinal purposes. Unlawful possession of this substance can still result in steep fines and jail time.

It’s all about weight or number

Prosecutors could charge you with trafficking if you are arrested with a significant amount of drugs. Florida Statute 893.135 set the levels when possession becomes trafficking. Here are the most common types of drugs involved and the minimum amounts when trafficking charges can occur:

  • 25 pounds of marijuana or 300 cannabis plants
  • 200 grams of methaqualone (Quaaludes)
  • 28 grams of cocaine, methamphetamines
  • 4 grams of opium, including heroin
  • 1 gram LSD

Penalties for trafficking offenses

Drug trafficking is a felony, which is a more serious crime than possession because it involves a large amount of drugs. Florida has harsh penalties for people convicted of trafficking. State statutes list these penalties, which range from the minimum to largest potential sentences:

  • Marijuana: minimum of three years in prison and $25,000 in fines
  • Methaqualone: minimum of three years in prison and $50,000 in fines
  • Cocaine: minimum of seven years in prison and $100,000 in fines
  • Opium: minimum of three years in prison and $50,000 in fines
  • LSD: minimum of three years in prison and $50,000 in fines

Common defenses for drug offenses

If charged with possessing or trafficking drugs, several defenses may be applicable in your case. A criminal defense attorney can challenge alleged facts, testimony or evidence used against you by the prosecutor. The most common defenses:

  • Unlawful search and seizure
  • The drugs don’t belong to you
  • Testing shows they aren’t drugs
  • Missing evidence
  • Police misconduct
  • Addiction issues

An attorney can help you figure out whether any of these defenses are proper, or if others may apply to your case. They can also help you seek treatment if your arrest is the result of addiction.

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