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Florida Considering Bills to Ease Mandatory Minimums

In 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 477 (HB 477), adding the opioids fentanyl and carfentanil to the list of drugs that can result in mandatory minimum sentences. Now, two bills have been proposed in the Florida Legislature that could allow judges to depart from mandatory minimum sentencing requirements.

House Bill 481 (HB 481) provides that mandatory minimum sentences for controlled substance offenses may be reduced by up to specified percentage for offenders meeting certain criteria. Senate Bill 694 (SB 694) authorizes a court to impose a sentence other than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and mandatory fine for a person convicted of trafficking if the court makes certain findings on the record.

“This year, the momentum is stronger than ever in the Senate for real criminal justice reform,” State Senator Rob Bradley, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told the Miami Herald. “It remains to be seen if our friends in the House share that appetite.”

SB 694 cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 15-5 vote on February 22, 2018, and now heads to the Senate floor for consideration. Shortly before that vote, the Senate Justice Appropriations Subcommittee had heard from a vocal opponent of the measure, lobbyist Barney Bishop from the conservative criminal justice reform group Smart Justice Alliance.

“You’re helping drug traffickers,” Bishop said of the SB 694. “Do you know how much pot you’ve got to have to meet the trafficking minimum for this bill? You have to have 25 pounds. That’s 25 backpacks.”

With very little time remaining in the 2018 legislative session, it remained to be seen whether the Senate measure would gain any traction in the House of Representatives—where a separate measure had not moved through the chamber.

Miami Criminal Defense Attorney for Mandatory Minimum Drug Crimes

Florida Statute § 893.135 imposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking offenses involving certain amounts of controlled substances. It is important to remember that an alleged offender can be charged with a drug trafficking crime as the result of simply possessing more than a specified amount of a controlled substance—drug trafficking crimes do not require any actual or intended distribution of the illegal drug.

Mandatory minimums under this statute include offenses involving people who knowingly sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver, or bring into Florida, or who are knowingly in actual or constructive possession of any of the following:

Drug Amount Mandatory Minimum
Cannabis, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(a) More than 25 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds, or 300 or more cannabis plants, but not more than 2,000 cannabis plants Three years in prison and fine of $25,000
2,000 pounds or more, but less than 10,000 pounds, or 2,000 or more cannabis plants, but not more than 10,000 cannabis plants Seven years in prison and fine of $50,000
10,000 pounds or more, or 10,000 or more cannabis plants 15 years in prison and fine of $200,000
Cocaine, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(b) 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms 15 years in prison and fine of $250,000
Morphine, opium, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, or any salt, derivative, isomer, or salt of an isomer, including heroin, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(c)1. 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 15 years in prison and fine of $500,000
Hydrocodone, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(c)2. 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
28 grams or more, but less than 50 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
50 grams or more, but less than 200 grams 15 years in prison and fine of $500,000
200 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 25 years in prison and fine of $750,000
Oxycodone, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(c)3. 7 grams or more, but less than 14 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
14 grams or more, but less than 25 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
25 grams or more, but less than 100 grams 15 years in prison and fine of $500,000
100 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 25 years in prison and fine of $750,000
Alfentanil, carfentanil, fentanyl, sufentanil, a fentanyl derivative, or a controlled substance analog, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(c)4. 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
28 grams or more 15 years in prison and fine of $500,000
Phencyclidine (PCP), Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(d) 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
400 grams or more 15 years in prison and fine of $250,000
Methaqualone (Quaalude), Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(e) 200 grams or more, but less than 5 kilograms Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
5 kilograms or more, but less than 25 kilograms Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
25 kilograms or more 15 years in prison and fine of $250,000
Amphetamine or methamphetamine, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(f) 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
200 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 15 years in prison and fine of $250,000
Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol or “roofies”), Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(g) 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
200 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 15 years in prison and fine of $500,000
γ-Hydroxybutyric acid (Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid or GHB), Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(h) 1 kilogram or more, but less than 5 kilograms Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
5 kilograms or more, but less than 10 kilograms Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
10 kilograms or more 15 years in prison and fine of $250,000
γ-butyrolactone (gamma-butyrolactone or GBL), Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(i) 1 kilogram or more, but less than 5 kilograms Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
5 kilograms or more, but less than 10 kilograms Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
10 kilograms or more 15 years in prison and fine of $250,000
1,4-Butanediol (BD), Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(j) 1 kilogram or more, but less than 5 kilograms Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
5 kilograms or more, but less than 10 kilograms Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
10 kilograms or more 15 years in prison and fine of $500,000
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(l) 1 gram or more, but less than 5 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
5 grams or more, but less than 7 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
7 grams or more 15 years in prison and fine of $500,000
Synthetic cannabinoids, Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(m) 280 grams or more, but less than 500 grams Three years in prison and fine of $50,000
500 grams or more, but less than 1,000 grams Seven years in prison and fine of $100,000
1,000 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 15 years in prison and fine of $200,000

When a person is accused of one of the crimes listed above, a judge is powerless to issuing a sentence that deviates from the mandatory minimum required. It is in the best interest of any individual facing one of these charges to immediately retain legal counsel.

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Miami who can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Contact The Hoffman Firm today to receive a free, confidential consultation that will let our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case.

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