Eric J. Dirga, P.A.

A Florida Trial Attorney

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Cocaine In Florida

Possession Cocaine Defense

Criminal Defense Representation - Orlando, Florida

Last Updated: May 27, 2016

Cocaine is a derivative of the Coca plant. It has been used for hundreds of years as a stimulant tracing its origins as far back as the Maya (see Cocaine: A Short History, -Foundation for a Drug Free World). Colonization of the Americas brought this New World Plant into mainstream use. Initially it was considered a beneficial tonic. Later, Cocaine's dangers to human health turned it into an outlaw drug.

The Making Of Cocaine Into A Chic Drug Of Choice

In 2006 a documentary film called Cocaine Cowboys was released. The film explores the rise of cocaine and resulting crime epidemic that swept the American city of Miami, Florida, in the 1970s and 1980s. The film used interviews from police, journalists, lawyers, smugglers, and gang members to produce an in-depth view of the drug war.

The film shows how cocaine became the import drug of choice, replacing cannabis, beginning in the early 70s. The methods used by the smugglers to thwart law enforcement were complex and so successful that the price of the drug dropped making it affordable for the blue collar worker.

The film points out the economic benefit that occurred with the influx of drug money in South Florida and also the horrific violence that accompanied the trade. Violent crime, including murder, rose dramatically as the lust for money and the fear of harsh penalties if caught increased.

Statistics Regarding Drug Offenses

In 2013, arrests for drug offenses numbered 126,192 far out pacing all other crimes. However, many studies have concluded a relationship between drug use and other types of crime. The United States Department of Justice [DOJ] 1994 report [pdf] drew a clear relationship between the use of drugs and other crimes committed. Using that data, 68% of burglaries and 65% of robberies were committed by individuals using drugs at the time of there arrest. In 2013, nearly 8,000 arrests for robbery and nearly 23,000 arrests for burglary occurred in Florida. If the DOJ statistics are applied, two thirds of those arrests were connected to drug use.

The Harmful Effects On Human Health

Cocaine, once heralded as a benefit to health, has long ago been shown to be a very dangerous drug. The effects on the user are generally stimulative. Users report feelings of supremacy and euphoria while consuming the drug. However, cocaine is very addictive. There is no known pharmacological treatment for cocaine addiction. Prolonged use of cocaine can trigger paranoia and aggression and stopping the use can cause depression making quitting even harder. The only treatment for cocaine addiction are anti-depressants. Read more here.

Florida's Punishment Code And Cocaine Possession

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug. Simple possession of any quantity is punishable by up to 5-years in prison. Transporting any amount of cocaine into the state of Florida is punishable by up to 15-years in prison (See Florida Drug Statute). Possession of 28 grams or more is considered trafficking and requires a minimum mandatory prison sentence (See Florida Drug Trafficking Statute).

What Happens When You Are Charged With Possessing Cocaine

Once you have been arrested for cocaine possession you need to seek out a criminal lawyer to help your situation. Depending on where you are arrested will determine a lot about what you are facing. The facts surrounding your arrest will determine your defenses. Simple possession (less than 28 grams) can result in (if you are found guilty) a short term of probation (12-18 months) or incarceration. Multiple offenses for cocaine will usually obviate the prosecutor's choice about offering probation.

Depending on where your arrest takes place the court may also try to help you by substituting substance abuse treatment for incarceration. However, failure to complete the treatment will usually result in jail or prison.

Defenses to possession charges can be numerous depending on the facts. Consulting with a criminal defense lawyer is the only way to see if the defenses are available. The bottom line is to not just plead guilty to a drug offense. The consequences beyond punishment are severe and you may be giving up several important rights that can save you.

Arrested and charged with a drug offense? Call us now at 407-841-5555 or email us directly at

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