It is illegal to sell, transport and import narcotics like marijuana, heroin, cocaine meth and other substances. Punishments associated with these offenses can be particularly severe for those who are convicted of the crimes in Florida and elsewhere in the country. However, the severity of those punishments will largely depend on various factors -- especially the amount and type of controlled substances involved. The geographic location of the alleged drug trafficking offense and whether it involved children will also be factors that determine the severity of potential punishments.
Generally speaking, though, a drug trafficking conviction punishment will be from three to five years, to as much as life in prison. Drug trafficking is more serious than simple drug possession. However, a drug trafficking charge often goes hand in hand with a drug possession charge if police suspect the individual was possessing with the intent to sell. Trafficking charges usually come with individuals are accused of being in of a large amount of controlled substances and/or cash when arrested.
Under state and federal laws, controlled substances are classified under different "schedules" or levels, which determine the severity of punishments associated with them. For example, under federal guidelines, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. Under the same guidelines, cocaine is a Schedule II drug and anabolic steroids are Schedule III.
Florida residents who are accused of drug trafficking are guaranteed the right to defend themselves against the charges. The defense strategies employed will be dictated by the facts and evidence brought forward by the prosecution. If the facts are strong against the accused, he or she may want to try and negotiate a plea agreement in exchange for a guilty plea to reduced charges and/or favorable sentencing considerations. If the facts and evidence are weak, he or she may be able to obtain a verdict of not guilty at trial or an outright dismissal of the criminal charges.
Source: FindLaw, "Drug Trafficking/Distribution", , Oct. 3, 2014