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Prescription Drug Trafficking

Florida long has been known as the epicenter of a prescription drug abuse epidemic. Communities throughout the state are battling with the rise in prescription medication in homes and on the streets. These addictions can lead to drug possession charges and even prescription drug trafficking charges.

In Florida, it is illegal to possess prescription pills and other medication without a valid prescription. This means even if a family member gives you pain medication for a toothache, it still is against the law. If a person is found to have possession of a large number of prescription medications without valid prescriptions, he or she could be facing trafficking charges.

St. Petersburg Prescription Medication Trafficking Lawyer

If you have been arrested for trafficking in prescription drugs, it is critical to understand your defense options. Prescription drug crimes are prosecuted harshly in Florida, and they can carry life-altering consequences. Contact an experienced prescription medication trafficking defense attorney at Morris Law Firm, P.A..

Attorney Melinda Morris understands the drug charges you face and tactics often used by the prosecution. She gained first-hand knowledge of the other side of the law as a state assistant attorney responsible for tying a variety of complex drug cases. She uses her past experiences to fight for the rights of those accused of drug crimes.

Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free initial consultation. Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients throughout Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Bradenton, Manatee and Sarasota.


Information About Prescription Drug Trafficking


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What is Prescription Drug Trafficking?

Prescription drug trafficking is the illegal sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery or knowing possession at or above a certain amount of prescription drugs. This sometimes is referred to as prescription drug dealing or pill trafficking.

Prescription drugs are medication that is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, known as the FDA, and requires a prescription from a doctor of medicine before it can be acquired. Some common examples of prescription drugs that are typically tied to trafficking charges include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Valium
  • Morphine
  • Ativan
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Xanax
  • Adderall
  • Codeine

Drug trafficking often is associated with drug dealing in Florida. However, trafficking is defined by the amount of a controlled substance involved in the alleged offense, rather than the act. Trafficking typically involves a large amount of a substance, but a person can be charged even if it is a small number of pills.


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Florida Penalties for Prescription Drug Trafficking

Florida State Statute Chapter § 893.135 deals with trafficking, mandatory sentences, suspension or reduction of sentences and conspiracy to engage in trafficking. The charges and the penalties vary based on a variety of factors, including the type and amount of drug involved in the alleged offense. Some of the possible penalties could include:

Morphine, Opium or Hydromorphone | First-degree felony

Morphine is found in the prescription drugs MS Contin, Oramorph SR, Avinza, Roxanol and several others.

  • Trafficking 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams — 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • Trafficking 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams— 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine
  • Trafficking 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms — 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine

Hydrocodone | First-degree felony

Hydrocodone is a substance found in the prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Hydrococet, Lorcet, Lortab and several others that are frequently trafficked.

  • Trafficking 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams — 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • Trafficking 28 grams or more, but less than 50 grams — 7 years in prison and a $100,00 fine
  • Trafficking 50 grams or more, but less than 200 grams — 15 years and a $500,000 fine
  • Trafficking 200 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms — 25 years and a $750,000 fine

Oxycodone | First-degree felony

Oxycodone can be found in the prescription drugs OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicodone and others.

  • Trafficking 7 grams or more, but less than 14 grams — 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • Trafficking 14 grams or more, but less than 25 grams — 7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine
  • Trafficking 25 grams or more, but less than 100 grams — 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine

Amphetamines | First-degree felony

One of the most commonly prescribed amphetamines is Adderall, a drug used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  • Trafficking 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams — 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • Trafficking 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams —  7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine
  • Trafficking 200 grams or more — 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

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Possible Defenses

Measurement – The Florida statute sets forth that when determining the weight of the controlled substance it shall include not only the controlled substance itself but as well any other non-controlled substances. This is critical when considering pills typically include a small amount of a controlled substance along with larger amounts of other non-controlled substances. These pills then are weighed, and the combined weight of all of the substances is used to determine the crime. This method of measurement can cause the offense to rise from simple possession to trafficking easily.

Addiction – The law, unfortunately, does not take into account that someone who is addicted to prescription drugs may be in possession of an amount that technically qualifies as trafficking. Further, because the Statute classifies trafficking as a first-degree felony, the offender may not be eligible for pretrial intervention programs such as drug court even if he or she is a first-time offender. Regrettably, it is exactly this type of offender who likely would benefit the most from pretrial diversion programs and drug counseling. Arguments may be made to show that the offender was, in fact, an addict, as opposed to actually dealing or distributing.


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Finding the Best Pinellas County Prescription Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for prescription drug trafficking, contact a St. Petersburg drug defense attorney to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case. Morris Law Firm, P.A. can help you determine what may be the best way to combat the charges and how you can fight to protect your record. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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