As a criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you that trafficking cocaine is one of the most serious offenses on the books. This is due to the very hefty minimum mandatory prison sentences one can receive for trafficking in cocaine. It is also due in part to the nature of cocaine trafficking investigations. Such investigations often times involve the use of audio and video surveillance, wire tapping, controlled calls, computer access, confidential informants, as well as buy/bust operations or controlled sales where an offender is observed dealing in trafficking amounts of cocaine by multiple members of law enforcement.
That said, trafficking in cocaine is nonetheless subject to the same Constitutional protections as in any other case. As a criminal attorney, I can tell you there are scores and scores of trafficking in cocaine cases that have been dismissed for any of the following reasons:
- Illegal traffic stops
- Illegal search and seizure
- Failure to read Miranda warnings
- Warrantless wire taps
- Unlawful electronic device access
- Unreliable informants
- Missing witnesses
- Crime lab problems
- Lost or tampered evidence
- Internal affairs issues
No matter how serious the penalties are, it pays to have a criminal attorney investigate your case. In many instances motions to suppress may result in charges being dropped or reduced, minimum mandatory prison sentences being waived, or cases being dismissed by a judge, or reduced to lesser charges by a prosecutor.
In the alternative, your case may present a winnable defense for trial. Each case is unique and must be analyzed and considered according to its own facts.
The one element of defending a trafficking cocaine case that makes things challenging are the minimum mandatory penalties. These penalties are applied depending on the quantity of cocaine at issue, as well as other factors. These penalties can range in severity from 3 years in Florida State Prison to 7 years, to 15 years, 25 years, or even LIFE – depending on the circumstances.
Contrary to popular belief, being a first time offender does not prevent a person from being subject to a minimum mandatory penalty either. In fact, this is a big misconception that many people have. While being a first time offender certainly helps in other regards, it is not a legal basis for avoiding a minimum mandatory prison sentence.