Drug Crimes

Because the state of Florida views drugs as a major and direct source of criminal activity, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors vigorously pursue cases against those who commit drug-related crimes.

This has expanded in recent years from the traditional targets of marijuana, cocaine and heroin to the unlawful possession and distribution of prescription drugs.

Jacobs Keeley Trial Lawyers are tenacious in the defense of clients accused of drug crimes in South Florida. With extensive experience on the other side of the fence in prosecuting accused drug traffickers, we are familiar not only with how the system works, but also how cases are built against our clients. That puts us at a unique advantage to fight back.

We represent clients who have been arrested for:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Possession With Intent to Sell
  • Possession With Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Manufacturing
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Prescription Drug-Related Crimes

We assist clients facing charges at both the federal and state level.

Failed War on Drugs

Part of the reason our attorneys are so passionate about defending drug crime offenders is that the so-called War on Drugs has been an epic failure in so many ways.

Prosecutions of drug-related crimes disproportionately impact racial minorities. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, while African Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users, they account for 37 percent of those arrested for drug-related offenses. For years, sentencing laws regarding powder cocaine (largely used and sold by whites) versus crack cocaine (largely used and sold by African Americans) were gravely disparate, with the latter resulting in federal penalties that were 100 times harsher. Legislation passed in 2010 reduced the disparity, but hasn’t eliminated it entirely.

An estimated 130,300 people are arrested for drug-related crimes in Florida each year. Of those, 50 percent are black, despite the fact that African Americans comprise just 16.5 percent of our population.

What’s worse, a 2012 Pew Center study found that in Florida, inmates convicted of non-violent drug crimes spent nearly 195 percent more time behind bars in 2009 than they did in 1990, with offenders serving an average of 2.3 years in prison in 2009, versus nine months back in 1990. That has increase costs to taxpayers by about $1.4 billion, but it hasn’t made us any safer.

One of the major underlying reasons has to do with the fact that state legislators passed a law mandating prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. The effect of this reverberates beyond the lives of individuals incarcerated. It decimates opportunities, drives apart families and weakening the fabric of society.

Drug Crime Penalties in Florida

Florida has some of the toughest drug crime punishments on the books. That means individuals facing allegations of involvement in a drug crime must seek immediate legal counsel. With early intervention, there may be steps our criminal defense lawyers can take in the very beginning to minimize the case against you.

Most laws pertaining to drug crimes and penalties in Florida can be found in F.S. 893.13. The statute can be somewhat confusing if you aren’t familiar with legislative jargon, but essentially, it metes out penalties based on the amount of the drug, it’s “schedule” or “class” and your intent with it. A drug is classified based on several factors, including its possible danger, potential for abuse and accepted medical uses.

While possession of a small amount of marijuana can result in entry into a diversion program, certain drug trafficking offenses can result in up to 30 years behind bars.

Here’s a quick break down of minimum mandatory sentences for knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering or knowing possession of certain substances:


  • 25 pounds to 2,000 pounds – 3 years, $25,000 fine.
  • 2,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds – 7 years, $50,000 fine.
  • More than 10,000 pounds or plants – 15 years, $200,000 fine.


  • 28 grams to 200 grams – 3 years, $50,000 fine.
  • 200 grams to 400 grams – 7 years, $100, fine.
  • 400 grams to 150 kilograms – 15 years, $250,000 fine.

Morphine, Heroin, Opium, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone

  • 4 grams to 14 grams – 3 years, $50,000 fine.
  • 14 grams to 28 grams – 15 years, $100,000 fine.
  • 28 grams to 30 kilograms – 25 years, $500,000 fine.
  • 30 kilograms or more – life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Amphetamine or Methamphetamine

  • 14 grams to 28 grams – 3 years, $50,000 fine.
  • 28 grams to 200 grams – 7 years, $100,000 fine.
  • 200 grams or more – 15 years, $250,000 fine.

Again, these are the minimum mandatory sentences for these offenses, so the actual penalty may in fact be higher. This is why it is imperative to immediately contact an experienced drug crime defense attorney.

Contact the Miami Drug Crime Defense Lawyers at Jacobs Keeley Trial Lawyers for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

Call us at (305) 358-7991.

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