Florida treats cocaine possession harshly, and the potential penalties can be even more severe when the defendants are alleged to have engaged in illegal drug sales. Because of the severity of the potential penalties, people who are charged with these types of crimes should retain an experienced Vero Beach criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Vero Beach cocaine possession lawyer Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq. has defended people charged with serious drug crimes for decades and understands how to build the strongest possible defense strategies based on the facts and circumstances of a given case. A drug bust that happened in April 2021 in Vero Beach illustrates the seriousness of these types of drug charges.
Vero Beach Drug Bust
Deputies with the Special Investigation Section of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office reportedly made controlled drug purchases of crack cocaine two times on April 6, 2021, and once on April 7, 2021. The purchases were made at a Vero Beach home located on 27th Avenue. Following the controlled purchases, officers obtained a search warrant, and the SWAT team served it on the home on April 7.
During the search of the home, officers reportedly found crack cocaine contained in a purse in a woman’s bedroom together with drug paraphernalia. The woman in whose bedroom the cocaine was found allegedly admitted that she had possessed it. She was charged with possessing cocaine, possessing drug paraphernalia, and resisting arrest.
The police also reportedly found loose crack cocaine on a nightstand of another bedroom and a bag containing more cocaine. The man and woman who shared the bedroom were both arrested for possession of cocaine. The woman claimed that the cocaine belonged to the man but admitted that she had smoked it.
A fourth woman was charged with unlawful confinement of six dogs, which were taken away by animal control officers. The deputies stated that the woman’s dogs were kept in kennels without water or food, and the kennels reportedly contained a large amount of animal feces.
Penalties for Cocaine Possession
Cocaine and its derivatives, including crack cocaine, is a Schedule II controlled drug in Florida under § 893.03, Fla. Stat. (2021). The penalties for possessing crack cocaine depend on its weight and whether the person possessed it with the intent to sell or traffic it. Under § 893.13(6)(a), Fla. Stat. (2021), the simple possession of a small amount of cocaine is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, people who possess crack cocaine with the intent to sell it face much harsher penalties if convicted. People who possess crack cocaine with the intent to sell it can be charged with a second-degree felony under § 893.13(1)(a)(1), Fla. Stat. (2021). If convicted of a second-degree felony for possessing less than 28 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell it, a person will face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The penalties are even more severe when people are caught with 28 or more grams of cocaine. People who possess more than this minimum threshold are considered to be engaging in cocaine trafficking under § 893.135, Fla. Stat. (2021). The penalties for cocaine trafficking depend on the total weight of the drugs as follows:
- 28 to 199 grams – Minimum mandatory three years up to a maximum of 30 and a fine of $30,000
- 200 to 399 grams – Minimum mandatory seven years up to 30 years and a fine of $100,000
- 400 grams to 149 kilos – Minimum mandatory 15 years to 30 years and a $250,000 fine
- 150 kilos or more – Life in prison
Talk to an Experienced Vero Beach Cocaine Possession Lawyer
Even a conviction for simple possession of crack cocaine is a serious felony. People who are charged with selling crack cocaine or trafficking the drug can face even more serious penalties, including up to life in prison for large quantities. If you or someone you know are facing similar charges, it is critical for you to get experienced legal help as soon as possible from the law firm of Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq., & Associates, LLC. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at (772) 489-8501.