Florida Mandatory Minimums

Minimum Sentences for Drug Offenders

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and Florida is one of the worst offenders. According to state and federal data (2010), Florida imprisons 556 out of every 100,000 residents. This is due in large part to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. A large fraction of Florida's state prison population is comprised of nonviolent drug offenders – mandatory minimums target drug crimes the harshest.

In the 1980s and 90s when the nation decided to declare "war on drugs," Florida focused on drug trafficking. The state's trafficking laws are now so sweeping, that even carrying seven prescription painkillers on your person without a prescription could land you in prison for a minimum of three years.

Florida Statute § 893.135 details mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses –

Marijuana 25-2,000 pounds 3 years / $25k fine
Prescription painkillers 4-14 grams 3 years / $50k fine
Meth 14-28 grams 3 years / $50k fine
Cocaine 28-200 grams 3 years / $50k fine
LSD 1-5 grams 3 years / $50k fine

The greater the quantity of the illegal substance, the higher the mandatory minimum sentence will be. For example, most of these drug penalties increase to 7, 15, or 25 years in state prison.

Drug Possession vs. Sales

Florida's drug trafficking laws are distinct from most other states, because in Florida, the law doesn't distinguish by selling/not selling. In Florida, only the quantity matters. You may be in possession of 14 grams of prescription painkillers and be sentenced the same way a person would be sentenced for selling 14 grams of prescription painkillers.

Florida Drug Courts

Florida has a program for felony drug offenders that focuses on counseling and rehabilitation over incarceration. Florida's Felony Drug Court Program allows drug offenders to participate in an 18 month supervision program in conjunction with the state Department of Corrections and Drug Pre-Trial Intervention. Drug offenders who qualify for drug court and successfully complete their treatment program will have their charges dismissed. Tampa's drug court is the Hillsborough County Thirteenth Judicial District.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a narcotics offense, contact a Tampa drug crime lawyer at our firm. Thomas & Paulk, P.A. is dedicated to defending the accused and securing the most favorable outcome. Call or fill out a free consultation form.

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