Drug trafficking is a serious offense that can carry lengthy prison sentences, steep fines, and many other life-altering consequences. Many Florida residents know that trafficking is a common issue in the Tampa area. This is in a large part due to Florida’s proximity to international ports of trade. However drug trafficking charges aren’t restricted to high ranking criminal organizations. Unaffiliated individuals can face drug trafficking charges that are just as severe as the charges imposed on cartel members or large scale drug dealers. In fact, trafficking charges and penalties have recently become more severe than ever before. As federal organizations like the DEA impose stricter laws on trafficking, individuals and criminal organizations alike are more likely than ever before to be faced with allegations of federal drug trafficking. Understanding what constitutes a federal drug trafficking crime can help you to better protect your rights and avoid charges.

Drug trafficking allegations are very serious and should not be taken lightly. In many situations, related charges are prosecuted at both state and federal levels. This can mean longer prison sentences, multiple counts of the same charge, and substantial fines. In Hillsborough County, the Tampa drug trafficking defense lawyers at Joffe Law, P.A. have been working for over 30 years to defend clients from federal criminal drug-related offenses. Whether you have been accused of trafficking or believe that you may be accused of federal trafficking charges, knowing your rights can help you protect your freedoms and your way of life. Understanding what constitutes a federal drug trafficking charge can help you gain a better understanding of the severity of your situation and decide how to proceed.

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How are related charges handled in Florida?

For decades, Florida has been considered to be a central point in the United States drug trade. It has over 8,000 miles of coastline and multiple ports of entry. Being that Florida is a hub of substance abuse, drug trafficking charges are more common in Florida than in most other states. In all states, trafficking considered to be a federal offense. This is due to the fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federal agency and thus operates on a federal level. Federal charges are much more severe than state charges and carry stiffer penalties such as longer prison sentences and higher fines. Drug trafficking involves the sale, delivery, purchase, transportation, or possession of controlled substances. The amount and schedule class of the substance in question will impact the outcome of a case. Additionally, the circumstances surrounding the offense will also be taken into consideration. Many individuals do not realize that the simple possession of controlled substances may lead to trafficking charges. Alternatively, being found in the company of others who are involved in active drug trafficking may also result in serious charges and penalties. This means that if you are found to have certain amounts of controlled substances in your possession or in your home, you are in danger of being charged with trafficking. In Florida, the DEA has been actively attempting to prevent instances of trafficking and will usually take any suspicious trafficking-related activity very seriously. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time may also lead to allegations of drug trafficking. For that reason, having good legal representation is paramount.

How are federal drug trafficking charges proven?

Drug trafficking charges are similar to drug possession charges in many ways. This means that these charges are proven in much the same ways that drug possession charges are proven. You can not be convicted of a trafficking charge without sufficient evidence. Sufficient evidence includes knowingly being in possession of controlled substances. Your intent is the first thing that must be proven when allegations of a drug trafficking charge have been raised against you. Intent will in many cases involve a pattern of conduct, meaning that the circumstances surrounding your individual situation will be taken into account. If you have previous charges of drug possession, for instance, your intent will be in question. If you have never been convicted of federal drug-related charges before, you may have a better chance of avoiding future charges. Other patterns of behavior will also be examined such as your business records and any previous records of criminal behavior. Additionally, evidence must be provided of intent to distribute illegal substances. If you are found to be in possession of a scale, multiple plastic bags, an unregistered cell phone, large amounts of cash, or other suspect materials, you are more likely to be charged with a trafficking offense as opposed to an offense of simple possession. Witness testimony may also be used against you in cases where drug trafficking charges may be imposed.

What penalties may be imposed with charges of federal trafficking?

Charges of federal drug trafficking come with much more severe penalties than charges of possession. Because trafficking is an offense that is punishable by federal law, allegations of trafficking are almost always brought before the federal judiciary system. For a charge to be federal, it will usually involve allegations of controlled substances being moved across state lines. Even individuals who operate as small scale drug dealers may be charged with federal drug trafficking if they have been found guilty of moving illegal substances across a state border. The severity of sentencing will hinge on the type of controlled substances in question, the scale of the operation, and an individual’s past offenses and criminal history. For instance, marijuana trafficking charges can come with three years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. Methamphetamine or cocaine trafficking charges may carry sentences with prison sentences of up to 25 years and fines of up to $500,000. Since charges and sentencing are dependent on the available evidence, the circumstances surrounding an offense, and the past and criminal history of the defendant, having an experienced attorney can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your case. Your attorney may be able to help you form a better mitigation and defense strategy and thus negate many potential charges. Sentencing for federal drug trafficking is no laughing matter and should be taken very seriously.

Drug trafficking is more common than many people may think. If you have been accused of trafficking or suspect that federal allegations may be brought against you, it’s critical that you contact an experienced federal drug defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you contact a professional, the more likely you will be to avoid or reduce potential charges. The Tampa drug trafficking defense attorneys at Joffe Law, P.A. have decades of experience defending clients in Tampa, FL, and throughout Hillsborough County a from charges of this kind. Our firm has the extensive knowledge and expertise necessary to handle serious federal allegations of this nature. Joffe Law, P.A. can defend your rights and help you build a better mitigation strategy so that you can reduce or entirely avoid certain drug trafficking charges.