Osceola County Sheriff’s Office Recently Arrested Numerous Individuals for Drug Crimes; Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer Examines Florida Drug Charges and Penalties

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Drug busts in central Florida continue to increase despite government efforts to regulate and decrease illegal drug activity. A drug ring of 20 individuals was recently broken up in St. Cloud followed by a drug arrest the next day in Orlando. Orlando criminal defense attorney Richard O. Hale examines charges and penalties these individuals may face for drug crimes in Florida.

The penalties for Florida drug charges are severe and typically include mandatory prison sentences and fines, states Orlando defense attorney Richard O. Hale.

Recent drug activity in central Florida resulted in the arrest of 20 people who were allegedly involved with selling cocaine, pot and prescription narcotics, according to an article published in the Orlando Sentinel on June 21 by Henry Pierson Curtis. Richard O. Hale, an Orlando criminal defense lawyer, discusses Florida’s drug charges and penalties.

According to the June 21 article, 20 individuals allegedly connected to drug activity were arrested on warrants after supposedly selling controlled substances on multiple occasions over a period of months to informants or undercover officers. One such offender was reportedly caught with oxycodone, crack cocaine and a firearm.

As reported in the Orlando Sentinel article, many of the offenders have already been charged with Florida trafficking offenses, but could potentially face charges for conspiracy, controlled substance possession, prescription fraud, possession with intent to sell and possibly manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs, depending on the extent of each individual’s involvement.

According to Orlando drug defense lawyer Richard O. Hale, “Although trafficking in controlled substances is usually a first degree felony offense in Florida, these individuals could also easily be charged with other drug offenses if they were engaged in making the drugs, if the substances were intended for sale to another person, or if the drugs were obtained from the use of an illegal prescription.”

Another arrest for drugs was made in Orlando on June 22, according to an article published by Curtis in the Orlando Sentinel on June 23. The purported drug seizure resulted from a 911 call regarding an allegedly armed man standing outside a home where a smell of marijuana was supposedly coming from.

The individuals charged in the June 22 drug bust were alleged to have significant amounts of cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and firearms. As reported in the June 23 Orlando Sentinel article, those arrested were charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of cannabis with an intent to sell.

“The penalties for Florida drug charges are severe and typically include mandatory prison sentences and fines. For example, trafficking more than 28 grams, but less than 200 grams, of cocaine is a felony of the first degree, and can result in a mandatory fine of $50,000 and mandatory imprisonment for 3 years, but the individual could be sentenced up to 30 years,” states Hale, an Orlando drug trafficking lawyer.

The Orlando attorney asserts, “As the amount of the controlled substance trafficked in Florida increases, so do the mandatory prison terms and fines. Depending on the type of drug and amount, mandatory prison terms in Florida range from 3 to 25 years and mandatory fines can be up to $500,000.”

Trafficking in more than 25 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds of cannabis or marijuana can result in a mandatory three-year prison term and a fine of $25,000. An individual convicted of trafficking in illegal drugs, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone can receive a mandatory prison term of three years and be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000, if the amount was more than four grams but less than 14 grams.

Individuals arrested for drug offenses in Florida could also face federal charges as the offenses also qualify for punishment under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which often regulates drug trafficking crimes across state or country lines.

“Federal drug charge punishments are often more severe and could result in longer mandatory sentences in federal prison, in addition to steep fines,” states Hale.

Richard O. Hale of Hale & Hale, P.A. is a criminal defense attorney in Orlando and represents clients throughout greater central Florida, including the surrounding areas of Orange County, Osceola County, Seminole County, Kissimmee and Winter Park.

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