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Trafficking in Oxycodone in Florida

Florida imposes mandatory minimum prison sentences and stiff fines on people convicted of Trafficking in Oxycodone.

Because of these serious consequences, it is important to know the:

Definition of Trafficking in Oxycodone

Under Florida Statute 893.135(1)(c), the crime of Trafficking in Oxycodone occurs when a person:

  1. Knowingly possesses, sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or transports;
  2. 4 grams or more of any mixture containing Oxycodone.

Oxycodone Trafficking Quantities

If a person is caught trafficking in Oxycodone, the minimum penalties they face are determined by the following Oxycodone trafficking quantity ranges:

  • 4 to 13 grams of Oxycodone;
    • 3 years prison / $50,000 fine
  • 14 to 27 grams of Oxycodone;
    • 15 years prison / $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams to 29 kilograms of Oxycodone;
    • 25 years prison / $500,000 fine

Weight Determination

The trafficking weight is determined by the combined weight of the Oxycodone pills, not by the combined dosages.

As a result, a person could have ten oxycodone pills whose combined dosage is less than 4 grams of Oxycodone, but because the pills weigh more than 4 grams, the person would be guilty of Trafficking in Oxycodone instead of simple Possession of Oxycodone.

Penalties for Trafficking in Oxycodone

The crime of Trafficking in Oxycodone is classified as a First Degree Felony and, depending on the amount of oxycodone, is assigned either a Level 8 or a Level 9 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

Under Florida law, unless the State Attorney agrees to waive the mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, the minimum sentences depends on whether you are convicted of:

Trafficking in 4 to 13 grams of Oxycodone

If convicted of Trafficking in 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams, of Oxycodone, a judge can impose a maximum sentence of thirty (30) years in prison, but is required to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Trafficking in 14 to 27 grams, of Oxycodone

If convicted of Trafficking in 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams, of Oxycodone, a judge can impose a maximum sentence of thirty (30) years in prison, but is required to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Trafficking in 28 grams to 29 kilograms of Oxycodone

If convicted of Trafficking in 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms, of Oxycodone, a judge can impose a maximum sentence of thirty (30) years in prison, but is required to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Driver's License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, a person convicted of Trafficking in Oxycodone will have their driver’s license or driving privilege revoked for two years by the Florida DHSMV.

Professional License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 893.11, a person convicted of Trafficking in Oxycodone will be subject to the emergency suspension of any Professional License issued by the State of Florida that authorizes the practicing of a profession or trade.

Defenses to Trafficking in Oxycodone

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, five common defenses that are frequently raised in a Trafficking in Oxycodone case are:

Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when an undercover law enforcement officer or confidential informant induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. If it can be shown you were entrapped, the court can dismiss the charges against you.

Illegal Search and Seizure

Often, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search when they otherwise would not be required to; coerce people into agreeing to a search; arrest people without probable cause; or obtain search warrants in bad faith.

If any of these can be proven through the filing of a Motion to Suppress, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States; which can lead to an outright dismissal of the case.

Insufficient Evidence

The prosecutor can only prove you possessed oxycodone for the purposes of trafficking in one of two ways:

  1. Actual Possession
  2. Constructive Possession

Actual Possession

To prove that you actually possessed oxycodone, the prosecutor has to show the oxycodone was found on your person. So if the oxycodone was found in your pocket, the prosecutor would have a case involving actual possession of oxycodone.

Constructive Possession

On the other hand, if the oxycodone was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have a much more difficult time proving you possessed the oxycodone because they would have to comply with the law of constructive possession.

The law of constructive possession requires the prosecutor to prove each of three distinct elements before you can be convicted:

  1. Knowledge the oxycodone is present;
  2. Knowledge the substance was oxycodone; and
  3. Dominion and control over the oxycodone.

Below are scenarios where it could be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive possession.

Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend's car and police found oxycodone in the trunk, they would be unable to convict you of Trafficking in Oxycodone unless they had some proof that you knew the oxycodone was there.
Scenario 2: You were stopped while driving a friend's car and police found a pill bottle containing oxycodone in the back seat, but in plain view. Unless they had some proof that you knew the bottle contained oxycodone, they would be unable to convict you of Trafficking in Oxycodone.
Scenario 3: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend takes a pill bottle containing oxycodone and places it in the passenger side door pocket. The police then stop you, see your friend's pill bottle, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Trafficking in Oxycodone because even though you knew the pill bottle was present, your friend is the only person who had dominion and control over it.

Substantial Assistance

While not technically a defense, Substantial Assistance is the most commonly utilized method to avoid the mandatory minimum sentencing required for the crime of Trafficking in Oxycodone.

The state attorney is authorized by statute to ask the court to reduce or suspend a sentence of any person who is convicted of drug trafficking when the person provides substantial assistance in the identification, arrest, or conviction of any other person engaged in trafficking in controlled substances.

This remedy is routinely offered pursuant to a "Substantial Assistance Contract" that requires you to "assist" law enforcement in arresting a specific amount of individuals involved in trafficking drugs within a limited period of time.

However, if you are unable to deliver the specified amount of people, you will be required to serve the applicable mandatory minimum prison sentence; regardless of how hard you tried to "assist" law enforcement.

Valid Prescription

While it seems obvious, many people are arrested for Trafficking in Oxycodone when they are unable to immediately produce a valid prescription or a recently dispensed pill bottle. These arrests usually occur when law enforcement have stopped your for suspicious behavior and discover the Oxycodone in an unconventional area.

However, if you can subsequently show you were validly prescribed the Oxycodone, you may be able to have the charges dismissed if your charge is based solely on the amount of Oxycodone you had in your possession. The valid prescription defense does not apply if you were selling or dealing in your personal supply of Oxycodone though.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged or arrested with the crime of Trafficking in Oxycodone in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando metropolitan area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.