Possession of Cocaine Attorney in Tampa, FL
Drug possession charges may seem minor, but they can still have significant consequences, from possible jail time and fines to mandatory rehab and long-term suspension of your driver’s license. It is possible to fight cocaine possession charges. The key is knowing the law and obtaining qualified legal help.
If you or a loved one are facing possession of cocaine charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa possession of cocaine criminal defense lawyer, today.
Simple Possession of Cocaine in Tampa, FL
Florida places dangerous and addictive drugs on five lists, or schedules. Cocaine falls on Schedule II, the list reserved for drugs with a high degree of danger and a high risk for abuse but some very limited medical uses (cocaine is a topical anesthetic in certain eye, nose and throat surgeries). Simple possession of cocaine for personal use is a third-degree felony punishable by as many as five years in prison. Serious jail time is unlikely for first-time convictions, but mandatory incarceration may be imposed on offenders convicted of possessing cocaine while on parole or probation, offenders who have criminal records, and offenders convicted of additional charges, especially if these factors are combined.
Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell in Tampa, FL
Selling or delivering cocaine, or possessing it with intent to sell or deliver it, is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years. Intent to sell or deliver can be proven from any number of facts, including possession of a large amount of drugs, possession of a large amount of cash, and possession of baggies, scales and other paraphernalia associated with sale and delivery. Penalties for possession with intent to deliver are enhanced in certain situations. Possession with intent within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, school, park, community center or recreational facility is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years and a mandatory minimum of three years. It is likewise a first-degree felony punishable by 30 years to possess cocaine with intent within 1,000 feet of a place of worship or certain businesses; a 21-month minimum sentence is imposed for this offense. Possession with intent within 1,000 feet of a college, university or other postsecondary school, or a public housing facility or assisted living facility is also a first-degree felony with a 30-year maximum, though there is no minimum sentence.
Possession of Cocaine: Trafficking in Tampa, FL
Cocaine trafficking is a more muscular version of possession with intent. Trafficking includes the sale, delivery, purchase, smuggling or possession (with or without intent) of substantial amounts of cocaine. It is a first-degree felony punishable by as many as 30 years in prison to traffic in any amount of cocaine greater than 28 grams but fewer than 150 kilograms. If the amount is between 29 and 200 grams, a mandatory minimum sentence of three years applies; if it is between 200 and 400 grams, the minimum sentence is seven years; if it is between 400 grams and 150 kilograms, at least 15 years is imposed. Trafficking in 150 kilograms or more of cocaine carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. If the offender murdered someone or induced someone’s murder while trafficking in more than 150 kilograms, or if someone died otherwise as a natural result of the trafficking, the death penalty applies.