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What You Need To Know: Drug Trafficking

person with gloves on finding blocks of drugs in a car

Florida Drug Trafficking Laws

Drug trafficking is one of the most serious charges to face. The potential criminal penalties for drug trafficking vary greatly on numerous factors, like the type of drug involved. Let’s go over everything to know about these charges and what to do if you’ve recently been arrested for drug trafficking.

Defining Drug Trafficking in FL

Drug trafficking is the illegal possession, manufacturing, delivery, transportation, sale, or purchase of illicit substances on a large scale.

A key part of drug trafficking is the distinction of ‘a large scale.’ If you are found with a substantial amount of drugs in your possession, you may be charged with trafficking- even if no sale or transport was made. This weight threshold varies based on the drug in question.


Along with the amount of the drug found, intent plays a big part in whether or not you will be charged with drug trafficking. If there is evidence that shows you intend to commit drug trafficking, you may be charged accordingly. For example, if you have a van set up and clearly rigged to transport drugs. Even if that van never left the garage or didn’t have any drugs stashed inside, you can face charges with trafficking because of the clear intent.

Drug Trafficking Penalties in Florida

While all drug trafficking offenses are felonies, the penalties vary on a case-by-case basis. Let’s go over the potential penalties based on the drug in question.

Marijuana Trafficking in FL

Marijuana trafficking is less severe than opioid trafficking.

To be charged with marijuana trafficking, you must have possession of over 25 pounds of marijuana.

Penalties for this include:

  • At least 3 years in prison
  • At least a $25,000 fine

However, these penalties increase if you have over 2,000 pounds, or one ton, of marijuana.

Then, you face:

  • At least 7 years in prison
  • A $50,000 fine

Opioids Trafficking in FL

Opioids include drugs such as heroin, morphine, meth, and fentanyl. All drug crimes involving opioids are punished more severely than those involving marijuana.

4 grams is all it takes to warrant opioid drug trafficking charges.

For 4 to 14 grams, you face:

  • 3 years in prison
  • A $50,000 fines

For 14-28 grams:

  • 7 years in prison
  • A $100,000 fine

For over 28 grams:

  • 15 years in prison
  • A $500,000 fine

If the drugs involved led to the injury or death of another individual, you face a life sentence.

Florida Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences

All of the jail sentences listed above are mandatory minimums. This means that the judge does not have the power to lower the sentence, only raise it. Mandatory minimum sentences were started to increase uniformity and decrease judge discretion when it came to sentencing. However, mandatory minimums have also been criticized for keeping nonviolent offenders incarcerated for long periods, above what is necessary, and contributing to mass incarceration.

Federal Drug Trafficking Laws

Drug trafficking may be a federal offense if the crime transferred state lines. If you drove 25 pounds of marijuana from Florida to Georgia, that would constitute federal drug trafficking.

Additionally, drug trafficking may be federally investigated if the state law enforcement doesn’t have the available resources.

Being charged with a federal drug crime would lead to even longer jail sentences and expensive fines.

Florida Drug Trafficking Lawyers

If you are facing drug trafficking charges, you need to act fast. Being charged at the state or federal level is incredibly serious, and contacting a lawyer as quickly as possible will help you in the long run. This will give your attorney enough time to create a strong defense against the evidence.

At First Coast Criminal Defense, we have extensive experience successfully handling a wide variety of drug offense cases. No case is too complex. Contact us today at (904) 474-3115 so we can begin discussing the details of your case. Our Jacksonville drug trafficking attorneys are ready to take your call.