Cocaine, for many years, was the poster child bad guy in the war on drugs. It was always associated with evil mobsters and gangsters in movies and high profile deaths associated with the drug lead to its status as a dangerous drug.
Although the drug does have medicinal uses, illegal possession, manufacture, and consumption of cocaine is heavily penalized in the state of Florida. If you are charged or accused of a cocaine related crime, it is in your best interest to find an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Lawyer for Cocaine Charges in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Were you recently arrested in Broward County for cocaine related crime? Exercise your right to remain silent before speaking with authorities and contact Meltzer & Bell.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who aggressively defend clients accused of drug offenses in communities all over South Florida, including Hollywood, Margate, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach, and many others.
You can have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (954) 745-7457 to set up a free initial consultation.
Broward County Cocaine Charges Information Center
Most cocaine offenses usually involve people who have small quantities of the drug for personal use. As trivial as that may seem, the federal government and the State of Florida punishes such minor possession harshly.
Possession does not only mean that the drugs were found in your hands or on your person, what is referred to as actual possession. Possession can also mean that you know of the presence of drugs and they are within your control or dominion, what is called constructive possession. For instance, if the drugs are found in your car, that could be considered constructive possession even if you are not near your car when the drugs are found. Possession of cocaine, whether actual or constructive, is a felony in Florida. If you are convicted for possession of cocaine you can face the following punishment:
- 5 years in prison. The maximum sentence.
- $5,000 in fines. The maximum fine.
The prospect of spending up to 5 years in prison for having a small amount of cocaine is no laughing matter. Consider that possession is the lowest offense. The punishments only get stiffer for other cocaine related crimes.
Sale of Cocaine
The sale, manufacture, or delivery of cocaine raises the crime to a second degree felony. A second degree felony is a significantly heavier penalty than is the punishment for possession. A sale of cocaine charge means:
- Up to 15 years in prison.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
- A one year suspension of the offender’s driver’s license
If you are arrested for sale of cocaine while near a school, community center, or college the crime is elevated further to a first degree felony. The punishment for a first degree felony is:
- Up to 30 years in prison.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
If near an elementary, middle, or secondary school there is a mandatory prison term of 3 years. The term “near” is defined as within 1,000 feet. A thousand feet is more than three football fields away. That is a fairly wide area and a person may not even realize they are considered “near” a school. Being near a school, however, is a potential difference of 15 more years in prison.
The term “trafficking” in Florida law is a bit misleading. While you may think of trafficking as shipping a car trunk full of cocaine across state or even country lines, Florida law has a much broader definition of trafficking. In Florida, trafficking includes the sale, purchase, manufacture, bringing into the state of, or knowingly possessing 28 grams or more of cocaine. That means if you are arrested with approximately an ounce of cocaine, even if it is for personal use, you may be facing a trafficking charge.
Trafficking charges are first degree felonies but they come with mandatory punishments as well. Here is what you could be facing with a trafficking charge:
- Up to 30 years in prison.
- 3 years mandatory minimum prison sentence and $50,000 fine.
- 7 years mandatory minimum prison sentence and $100,000 fine if 200 grams or over.
- 15 years mandatory minimum prison sentence and $250,000 fine if 400 grams or over.
- Life imprisonment if over 150 kilograms.
The potential punishments for trafficking is extremely severe. In some instances, if the court determines that a trafficker caused the death of a person or if the court finds that a person brought in 300 kgs or more and knows the probable result of bringing in that much cocaine would lead to the death of any person, the crime can become a capital offense that is punishable by death.
Florida Cocaine Charges Resources
Drug Abuse Prevention and Control | Florida Statutes – Follow this link to see the Florida law on prohibited drug acts. The term cocaine is not used in this particular section but it is referenced as a 893.03(2)(a) substance. The statute includes prohibitions for all controlled substances and it is interesting to see how some drugs are punished much more severely than others.
Drug Trafficking | Florida Statutes – Drug trafficking has its own section of the Florida Statutes. Following the link will take you to that section. The drug trafficking law is interesting in that it treats most common drugs differently. For instance, the minimum amount to be considered trafficking for marijuana is 25 pounds while cocaine only requires an ounce to be considered trafficking.
Cocaine Charges Attorney in Broward County, FL
If you are accused of cocaine charges in Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell. We can help you understand the charges pending against you, potential defenses, and ways to avoid the harsh penalties that often come with a conviction.
Our drug trafficking attorneys in Fort Lauderdale represent clients charged with drug crimes and money laundering in Broward County, FL. Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who represent residents of and visitors to communities throughout Broward County, such as Weston, and Wilton Manors, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, and many others.
Call us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (954) 745-7457.