Drug Trafficking Lawyer West Palm Beach

Arrested for Drug Trafficking in West Palm Beach? Experience Matters.

Florida drug trafficking charges carry severe penalties, including mandatory prison sentences and devastating long-term consequences. You need seasoned legal representation from day one. Meltzer & Bell, P.A., has over 20 years of experience aggressively defending clients against major drug charges throughout the West Palm Beach area.

When Your Freedom and Future are at Stake

Our team understands the gravity of drug trafficking charges. These complex cases demand meticulous defense strategies and relentless advocacy.

Here’s what sets Meltzer & Bell apart:

  • Former Prosecutors on Your Side: Our understanding of prosecutorial strategies allows us to anticipate their approach and build your case proactively.
  • Aggressive and Strategic Defense: We scrutinize every aspect of your case, challenging evidence, and exploring potential defenses to reduce charges or secure dismissals.
  • Trial-Tested Experience: Our attorneys aren’t afraid to take your case to trial, with over 500 combined jury trials fought to verdict.
  • Protecting Your Rights and Reputation: From arrest through the entire legal process, we vigorously defend your rights and fight to minimize the long-term impacts of charges.

Types of West Palm Beach Drug Trafficking Cases We Handle

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Manufacturing of Controlled Substances
  • Trafficking in Cocaine, Heroin, Opioids, and other Illicit Drugs
  • Conspiracy to Traffic
  • Charges Related to Large Quantities of Drugs or High Minimum Sentences

Don’t Let Drug Charges Dictate Your Future

Don’t wait to take action. The sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the sooner we can build a strong defense strategy.

The weight of the illegal drug or controlled substance found in your possession will determine the statutory maximum sentence and mandatory minimum sentence associated with your drug trafficking charge.

Under Florida statutes, “drug trafficking” is defined as the intentional sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transportation into Florida of a “trafficking amount” of illegal drugs or controlled substances.

In addition to facing a mandatory minimum sentence, any criminal conviction for drug trafficking comes with steep fines and lengthy probation terms. Finally, If your property is linked with drug trafficking offenses, you may face severe civil penalties such as the forfeiture of assets, including money, vehicles, or your home.

Drug Trafficking vs. Drug Possession: Understanding the Crucial Differences

The line between drug possession for personal use and drug trafficking charges can be blurry. Yet, the legal penalties and long-term consequences can be vastly different.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Simple Possession: This usually involves possessing a smaller quantity of drugs for personal consumption. While still a serious offense, penalties are generally less severe compared to trafficking charges.

  • Drug Trafficking: This involves manufacturing, selling, transporting, or possessing with intent to distribute larger quantities of controlled substances. Trafficking charges often carry mandatory minimum sentences and severe fines.

Why Does the Distinction Matter?

A skilled drug defense attorney dissects the details of your case. Proving or disproving “intent to distribute” can mean the difference between years in prison and alternative sentencing. Factors courts consider include:

  • Quantity of drugs found
  • Presence of distribution paraphernalia (scales, baggies)
  • Evidence of large cash amounts
  • Witness testimony

Meltzer & Bell: Building a Defense Based on the Specifics

We analyze whether the amount of drugs, circumstances of your arrest, and police conduct support trafficking charges. Our strategic approach aims to reduce charges when possible or expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Palm Beach County Drug Trafficking Lawyer

When you’re been charged with drug trafficking in Palm Beach County, FL, you need to move fast and discuss your case with Meltzer & Bell, P.A. Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Our drug trafficking lawyers in West Palm Beach represent you from the first appearance through every stage of your case. We have decades of combined experience representing clients accused of drug trafficking in Florida.

We’ll help you through the critical first step of getting your bond amount set as low as possible and getting the Nebia hold lifted. Next, we’ll aggressively fight to protect your rights by filing every viable motion and carefully presenting all mitigating evidence available in your drug trafficking case.

Our drug trafficking lawyers regularly represent clients charged with money laundering and drug crimes in Palm Beach County, FL. Many of our clients are accused of smuggling controlled substances through interstate highways, cargo freight, private boats, and small planes.

We’re familiar with the tactics used by the West Palm Beach Police Department, members of the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Interdiction Unit through highway traffic interdiction, parcel inspections, and airport enforcement.

Contact us to discuss your recent drug trafficking bust or sting operation by undercover narcotics officers and their confidential informants. Our team is experienced in fighting drug trafficking cases and we understand the severe consequences of receiving a conviction for drug crime.

Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.

Call (561) 557-8686 Today for your FREE initial consultation with an experienced attorney.


Drug Trafficking Charges in Florida

The most common charges that are prosecuted for drug trafficking in Florida include the following:

  • Trafficking in Cannabis § 893.135(1)(a), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Cocaine § 893.135(1)(b), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking In Morphine, Opium, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Heroin § 893.135(1)(c), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Hydrocodone § 893.135(1)(c)2. and § 893.135(1)(c)4., Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in LSD s. 893.135(1)(l), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Phenethylamines (Includes MDMA) §. 893.135(1)(k), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in GHB, GBL, 1,4-Butanediol] §. 893.135(1)(h), (1)(i), (1)(j), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Flunitrazepam §. 893.135(1)(g), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Amphetamine or Methamphetamine § 893.135(1)(f), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Methaqualone § 893.135(1)(e), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Phencyclidine § 893.135(1)(d), Fla. Stat.
  • Trafficking in Oxycodone § 893.135(1)(c)3. and § 893.135(1)(c)4., Fla. Stat.

Quantities Required for the Threshold of Drug Trafficking

Under Florida law, specific minimum threshold quantities are needed to support a felony charge of trafficking. Higher quantities trigger more serious increases in the mandatory minimum sentence:

  • Trafficking in Cannabis requires either twenty-five (25) pounds or three hundred (300) plants;
  • Trafficking in Oxycodone requires seven (7) grams;
  • Trafficking in MDMA or Ecstasy requires ten (10) grams;
  • Trafficking in LSD requires one (1) gram;
  • Trafficking in Heroin requires four (4) grams;
  • Trafficking in Hydrocodone requires fourteen (14) grams;
  • Trafficking in Cocaine requires twenty-eight (28) grams; and
  • Trafficking in GHB requires one (1) kilogram.

Mandatory Minimum Penalties for A Drug Trafficking Charge

Under Florida Statute 893.135, the law provides for minimum mandatory prison sentences and fines for drug trafficking, which depend on the quantities of drugs possessed. When a minimum mandatory sentence is imposed, the trial court will sentence the defendant to no less than that term in prison, even if the sentencing guidelines are far below the minimum mandatory sentence.

The Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Trafficking in:
Cannabis:
  • 10,000 lbs. or more; or 10,000 or more cannabis plants – 15 years prison and a $200,000 fine
  • 2,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs.; or 2,000 to 10,000 cannabis plants – 7 years prison and a $50,000 fine
  • 25 lbs. to 2,000 lbs.; or 300 to 2,000 cannabis plants – 3 years prison and a $25,000 fine
MDMA or Ecstasy:
  • 400 grams or more – 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams – 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 10 grams or more, but less than 200 grams – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
Methamphetamine:
  • 200 grams or more – 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams – 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
Oxycodone:
  • 100 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms – 25 years prison and a $750,000 fine
  • 25 grams or more, but less than 100 grams – 15 years prison and a $500,000 fine
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 25 grams – 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 7 grams or more, but less than 14 grams – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
Cocaine:
  • 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms – 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams – 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
GHB:
  • 10 kilograms or more 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
  • 5 kilograms or more, but less than 10 kilograms – 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 1 kilogram or more, but less than 5 kilograms – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
Heroin:
  • 10 kilograms or more – Life in Prison and a $500,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms – 25 years prison and a $500,000 fine
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams – 15 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
Hydrocodone:
  • 200 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms – 25 years prison and a $750,000 fine
  • 50 grams or more, but less than 200 grams – 15 years prison and a $500,000 fine
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 50 grams – 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
LSD:
  • 7 grams or more – 15 years prison and a $500,000 fine
  • 5 grams or more, but less than 7 grams – 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 1 gram or more, but less than 5 grams – 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine

Substantial Assistance Agreements

In many of these cases, shortly after the arrest and sometimes before the arrest, law enforcement officers will try and convince the person accused of the crime to provide “Substantial Assistance” by setting up others involved in the drug trade.

The defendant might avoid the mandatory minimum sentence that would otherwise be required after a conviction by providing substantial assistance.

Under Florida law, the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office is authorized to ask the court to reduce or suspend a sentence for any person convicted of drug trafficking when the person provides a substantial level of assistance, which can include the identification, arrest, or conviction of another person engaged in drug trafficking or other serious crimes.

In these cases, the defendant will enter into a “Substantial Assistance Contract” that requires the defendant to help law enforcement officers set up a specific number of other people involved in drug trafficking within a certain amount of time. If the defendant is unable or unwilling to complete the required conditions, then the prosecutor will refuse to ask the court to reduce or suspend the sentence.


The Most Common Defenses For A Drug Trafficking Offense

drug trafficking lawyer

An Illegal Search and Seizure under the Fourth Amendment

If a law enforcement officer exceeds the scope of their authority, then the criminal defense attorney can file a “Motion to Suppress” the evidence. The judge hears these motions before trial. An illegal search and seizure can occur when the law enforcement officer conducts a search without a valid search warrant or forces the defendant into “consenting” to a search when the consent is not “free and voluntary.” These illegal searches often involve a seizure of evidence from the person, home, or vehicle. Our team has many years of experience defending clients against unreasonable searches, and we will confirm that law enforcement has conducted your search legally.

Also, if a person is arrested without probable cause, then evidence seized as a result of that search might be suppressed. Even if a search warrant is obtained, any flaw in the search warrant might lead to the suppression of evidence before trial. If the evidence is suppressed, then the entire charge might be dismissed.

The Entrapment Defense in Florida

In many drug prosecutions, the defendant will allege that the crime was actually manufactured by a law enforcement officer or a confidential informant working on behalf of law enforcement. As discussed above, many people facing charges will enter into substantial assistance contracts to set up their friends and neighbors. These confidential informants work with little supervision and have been known to frame innocent people.

Even short of planting evidence, the confidential informant might use unduly suggestive techniques to get another person to commit a crime. If the person accused is not already predisposed to commit the crime when the opportunity presents itself, then the entrapment defense can be used for either mitigation, before trial as a matter of law, or at trial as an affirmative defense.

Many entrapment defenses involve a showing that the informant made threats or persistent enticements, causing the defendant to act contrary to a law-abiding predisposition.


Additional Resources

Drug Trafficking in Palm Beach County, FL– Visit the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office website to learn more about drug trends in drug trafficking cases.

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties – Visit the website of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to learn more information about federal drug penalties for Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V drugs for a first offense or a second offense.

UNODC on the Drug Trafficking – Visit the website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to learn more about facts related to drug trafficking, the illicit trade involving the sale, distribution, manufacture, and cultivation of substances that are subject to drug prohibition laws.

Bagley, Bruce. “Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime in the Americas.” Woodrow Wilson Center Update of the Americas (2012) – This scholarly article explores the major trends that have characterized the evolution of illicit drug trafficking and organized crime (organized criminal networks) in the Americas over the last quarter of a century.


How Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You

When you are accused of trafficking drugs in Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach County, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. is the first step in getting your life back on track.

A Meltzer & Bell, P.A. criminal defense attorney can help you understand:

  • The controlled substance charges pending against you
  • Potential defenses
  • Opportunities to avoid the harsh penalties that often come with a conviction for trafficking a controlled substance.

Our drug trafficking attorneys in Fort Lauderdale represent clients charged with drug crimes and money laundering in Palm Beach County, FL. We know the techniques of law enforcement officers with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Interdiction Unit, the West Palm Beach Police Department, and members of the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force.

Many of these operations involve investigations of crimes in highway traffic interdiction, parcel inspections, and airport enforcement. Although many of our cases involve accusations of smuggling drugs through interstate highways, we also represent clients charged with crimes related to small planes, cargo freight, and even private boats.

Call us NOW for a FREE consultation to discuss your case.

  • Law Firm 500 Fastest Growing Law Firms In the U.S - 2017 Honoree
    Meltzer & Bell, P.A. was an honaree for the Fastest Growing Law Firm In the U.S. award in 2017.
  • National College for DUI Defense
    The NCDD is a professional, non-profit corporation dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar, and to the dissemination of information to the public about drunk driving law and related issues.
  • Broward Association of Criminal Defense lawyers
    BACDL's mission is to assist, support, and strengthen the Broward County criminal defense practitioner in the zealous defense of individuals and their Constitutional rights.
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    Promoting excellence and integrity in the practice of criminal law.
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    NACDL is an American criminal defense organization. Members include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, active U.S. military defense counsel, judges and more.
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
    NORML is an American non-profit organization based in Washington, DC whose aim is to achieve the legalization of non-medical marijuana in the United States.
  • DUI Defense Lawyers Association
    The DDLA was founded on principles of democracy, transparency, and freedom of speech. We provide support, resources and education to the top DUI attorneys nationwide.
  • Better Business Bureau
    The BBB, founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.
  • Law Firm 500 Fastest Growing Law Firms In the U.S - 2017 Honoree
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • Broward Association of Criminal Defense lawyers
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
  • DUI Defense Lawyers Association
  • Better Business Bureau

    Contact Us Now

    Call (561) 557-8686 or complete the form. Phones answered 24/7. Most form responses within 5 minutes during business hours, and 15-20 minutes during evenings and weekends.

    100% Secure & Confidential