While cocaine is technically is technically considered a Schedule II controlled substance under Florida law, crimes relating to this drug are taken as seriously as any other controlled substance. Prosecutors know that judges and juries tend to take a very unfavorable view of alleged offenders who are accused of possessing, selling, or any other activity relating to cocaine.
The Sunshine State has been fighting a war against this illegal drug for several decades, and extremely harsh punishments will be sought against alleged offenders who are accused of somehow adding to the problem. This will often include very lengthy prison sentences and significant fines that can be several thousands of dollars.
St. Petersburg Cocaine Charges Lawyer
Have you been arrested or are you being investigated for some kind of crime relating to cocaine in Florida? It is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel.
Our Pinellas County cocaine charges attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. aggressively defend clients throughout the greater St. Petersburg area, including Tampa, Clearwater, and many surrounding communities. We will provide an honest and thorough review of your case when you call (727) 388-4736 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Florida Cocaine Charges Information Center
- What is the difference between simple possession and intent to sell?
- How long is the minimum sentence for a trafficking charge?
- What are the different paraphernalia crimes in Florida?
Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(a) prohibits a person from being in actual or constructive possession of cocaine. Actual possession applies when cocaine is found on the alleged offender’s actual person, meaning in his or her hands, pockets, or backpack or purse. Constructive possession applies when cocaine is found in an area over which the alleged offender had knowledge of the drug and the ability to access it.
Possession of cocaine in Florida is generally considered a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. A person who is convicted of this offense will also have his or her driver’s license revoked for two years.
Additionally, Florida Statute § 893.13 prohibits a person from selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver cocaine. The criminal charge of possession of cocaine with intent to sell become a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
It is important to note that there is no set quantity for cocaine that differentiates traditional possession charges from intent to sell. This classification is often made at the discretion of law enforcement, often in cases in which alleged offenders are caught while actually attempting a sale but also when there may be the presence of certain kinds of evidence such as large amounts of cash, a surplus of storage materials such as baggies, or the presence of paraphernalia such as scales.
The grade of a cocaine crime can also be increased one level if the alleged offender is arrested at certain locations in Florida. This means that people accused of possessing cocaine with the intent to sell can possible face first-degree felony charges punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000 if they are arrested in the following scenarios:
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of a child care facility;
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight (this also results in a minimum term of imprisonment of three years);
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of a state, county, or municipal park, a community center, or a publicly owned recreational facility;
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of a public or private college, university, or other postsecondary educational institution;
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of a physical place for worship at which a church or religious organization regularly conducts religious services;
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of a convenience business;
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of a public housing facility at any time;
- In, on, or within 1,000 feet of an assisted living facility; or
- Alleged offenders 18 years of age or older delivering cocaine to a person younger than 18 years of age or using or hiring a person younger than 18 years of age as an agent or employee in the sale or delivery of cocaine.
Under Florida Statute § 893.135, an alleged offender who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, brings into Florida or is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of 28 grams or more of cocaine or any mixture containing cocaine can be charged with trafficking. This is first-degree punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
However, a person convicted of this crime can also face some enormous fines and very harsh minimum sentences, depending on the specific amount of cocaine he or she was allegedly trafficking:
- 28 Grams or More, But Less Than 200 Grams — Mandatory minimum of three years in prison and fine of $50,000;
- 200 Grams or More, But Less Than 400 Grams — Mandatory minimum of seven years in prison and fine of $100,000; or
- 400 Grams or More, But Less Than 150 Kilograms — Mandatory minimum of three years in prison and fine of $250,000.
If an alleged offender is convicted of trafficking 150 kilograms or more of cocaine, then he or she could be sentenced to life in prison and be ineligible for any form of discretionary early release (except for a pardon, executive clemency, or conditional medical release). Any person who knowingly brings 300 kilograms or more of cocaine into Florida and knows that the probable result of such importation would be the death of any person, commits the crime of capital importation of cocaine which is a capital felony punishable by death. Trafficking offenses involving less than 300 kilograms of cocaine that involve an alleged offender intentionally killing an individual, counseling, commanding, inducing, procuring, or causing the intentional killing of an individual, or other conduct in committing trafficking that led to a natural, though not inevitable, lethal result can also result in capital felony charges.
Drug paraphernalia may include any object that is used or intended to be used to consume, create, contain, or conceal a controlled substance. Florida Statute § 893.147 criminalizes several activities relating to cocaine paraphernalia, and these types of charges may be brought on their own or in addition to possession or trafficking charges.
Some examples of common cocaine paraphernalia include, but are not limited to any of the following items that may have any cocaine residue on them:
- Rubber cords or other ties used for injecting cocaine;
- Tubes; or
The six paraphernalia crimes listed under Florida Statute § 893.147 include:
- Use or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000;
- Manufacture or Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia — Third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000;
- Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia to a Minor — Hypodermic syringes, needles, or other objects which may be used, are intended for use, or are designed for use in parenterally injecting substances into the human body constitute a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000, but other forms of paraphernalia constitute second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- Transportation of Drug Paraphernalia — Third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000;
- Advertisement of Drug Paraphernalia — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000; and
- Retail Sale of Drug Paraphernalia — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for a second or subsequent offense.
Find a Cocaine Charges Lawyer in St. Petersburg
If you have been arrested in Florida for any type of cocaine crime, do not delay in seeking legal representation. As a former assistant state attorney and felony prosecutor, Melinda Morris has handled scores of these types of cases and she knows what evidence and police errors make for the most effective defenses.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients all over Manatee County, Hillsborough County, Sarasota County, Pasco County, and the Pinellas peninsula. Call (727) 388-4736 right now to schedule a free consultation that will let our Pinellas County cocaine charges attorneys review your case.