Consequences for drug crime convictions range from simple to grave. Federal drug crime laws may have longer sentences. State laws can enact different laws as long as they do not compromise federal statutes. State law may result in probation or a shorter sentence.
Miami was once named the "drug capital of the world" by media sensationalists due to its heavy trafficking, drug wars and rampant corruption. Florida drug crime laws evolved to effectively purge the state of drug lords and cartels and remove drug possession from addicts and opportunists. The majority of criminal endeavors in Florida are, unfortunately, still connected to drugs.
Types of Florida drug crimes and their penalties
Most common drug crimes fit into one or more of the following categories:
- Drug paraphernalia – any equipment used to deliver drugs into the body, even if disguised as a legal-use item such as a diabetic medical syringe; penalized as a first-degree misdemeanor with possible jail time.
- Possession simple – illegal possession of controlled substances such as heroin, fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycontin, or cocaine; penalties depend on the amount of drug and a prior criminal record; an alternate sentence is available through various state-run diversion programs that, if completed, can remove a criminal charge.
- Possession with intent –illegal possession with the intent to deal or deliver drugs; the penalty is higher compared to simple possession.
- Possession constructive – illegal possession of a controlled substance to which more than one person has potential access; the person who controls the drug has possession; the others are innocent unless they were aware the drug existed and were actively distributing the controlled substance.
- Manufacturing – producing illegal drugs or possession of the materials to do so; penalty depends on quantity, but can include intent to deal or traffick penalties, and third parties providing materials such as land to grow cannabis suffer related penalties.
- Dealing – sale or delivery of illegal drugs, one of the most severe drug crimes; penalty depends on the amount, but even the lightest sentence involves many years in prison and heavy monetary fines, while more substantial amounts can mean life imprisonment.
- Trafficking – similar to dealing, except moving large drug quantities by a criminal organization that usually involves several people; federally set penalties are accordingly swift and harsh.
Possible penalty reduction for drug crime conviction
The prosecutor can request penalty reductions from the judge in cases where a person convicted of a severe drug crime can successfully provide identification and information leading to the conviction of drug traffickers.