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Cocaine offenses in Florida: What to expect when facing charges

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Drug Charges

Cocaine is a substance that stimulates the reward pathway in a person’s brain, creating intense feelings of happiness. However, the illegal drug also has a high risk of causing substance addiction and dangerous health issues. It’s no wonder that cocaine is classified as a dangerous controlled substance by the federal government.

Florida law also considers cocaine a dangerous substance, and there are penalties for possessing and trafficking it. What are these rules and penalties?

Simple possession

Under state law, the possession of cocaine is a third-degree felony. If convicted, you could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The severity of the punishment may increase if the offense occurs within 1,000 feet of certain designated areas, such as schools, colleges, parks, or public housing facilities.

Possession with intent to sell

If the prosecution can prove that you intended to sell or deliver cocaine, the charges escalate to a second-degree felony. This offense carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Cocaine trafficking

Florida’s cocaine trafficking laws are among the harshest in the nation. The penalties depend on the quantity of cocaine involved:

  • 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams: Minimum three-year prison sentence and $50,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams: Minimum seven-year prison sentence and $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams or more: Minimum 15-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine

A conviction for cocaine offenses also leads to a felony on a person’s criminal record. A felony on record makes it difficult to secure employment, ruins a person’s eligibility for professional licenses, and jeopardizes the residency of non-U.S. citizens working on their citizenship.

Cocaine possession and distribution is a grave offense in Florida. The penalties for conviction are steep, and you risk ruining your future opportunities with a felony on record. However, you have defense options available if you face charges. Consulting with a legal professional may give you direction on how to proceed.