Imagine you’re driving with friends and get pulled over. The officer is a little pushy and asks if he can search your vehicle. In the back of your mind, you know that you don’t have to consent to a search, but he’s very persistent. At some point, you give in and think: “Well, I don’t have anything incriminating in the car, so what’s the harm?” (Do not ever consent to a search of your car). The officer searches the vehicle and quickly finds illegal drugs. Are they yours, or do they belong to your friend? At this point, it has become your problem. It’s important to understand your rights in these situations and how a misunderstanding could lead to drug trafficking charges.
The Difference Between Drug Trafficking and Drug Possession
It is crucial to understand the distinction between drug trafficking and drug possession as they carry different legal implications. Drug possession refers to the act of being in physical possession or control of illegal drugs for personal use. Drug trafficking in Florida just means a larger amount of drugs is involved, usually so much as to indicate the possessor is involved in the production, transportation, or distribution of illegal drugs with the intent to sell – but trafficking is just a matter of amount.. Both can carry severe penalties after a conviction, the basis for which depends on the type and quantity of drugs found.
According to the United States Sentencing Commission, drug trafficking typically involves larger quantities of drugs and is viewed as a more serious offense compared to drug possession alone. The penalties for drug trafficking are usually more severe due to federal mandatory minimum sentences and also due to Florida minimum mandatory sentences for trafficking.
There are other elements that could further complicate a case. For example, if text messages or private correspondences were subpoenaed, the prosecutor could make the case for “conspiracy” charges in addition to possession or trafficking. If someone is harmed or dies as a result of using the drugs or during the exchange, this would also likely impact the severity of the potential penalties.
Protecting Your Constitutional Rights
No matter what you experience in your private life, you have constitutional rights that must be protected and upheld. If you’re approached by law enforcement during an investigation, a traffic stop, or on the street, you have the right to refuse consent to any search or seizure of your property. It’s always advisable to say very little and be polite to avoid further conflict, but you have the absolute right to refuse to consent to searches and/or seizures. If a search or seizure is conducted without your consent, the court will later decide whether the search/seizure was constitutionally authorized without a warrant and without your consent.
Consider it this way, your case starts as soon as the police suspect you have done anything wrong. Protecting your rights is part of building an appropriate defense. Did the officers perform all of their duties above board? Did they search your car without probable cause or a warrant even after you did not offer consent? Every step you take while interacting with the police is important.
Exploring Defense Options
While drug trafficking charges are serious, it is important to know that there are various defense options that can be explored. This may include challenging the legality of the search and seizure, questioning the reliability of witness testimonies, or raising doubts regarding the intent to traffic drugs. Having someone on your side to guide you is the first step toward a positive outcome.Facing a drug trafficking charge is challenging emotionally and professionally. Getting detained in and of itself could impact your reputation or cause you to lose your job. If you or a loved one is facing drug trafficking charges, there is no time to waste. For aggressive and effective representation, call the office of Malcolm Anthony, P.A., at (904) 285-4529 today.