Those who possess, sell or distribute controlled substances in Florida or any other state may face criminal penalties for doing so. In many cases, there is a distinction between dealing drugs and trafficking them. A drug trafficker is someone who plays a role in making, transporting or selling substances such as cocaine, heroin or marijuana. Depending on where the drugs are sold, a person could face state or federal charges.

Defendants typically face federal charges when they commit an offense on a military base or if they transport controlled substances across state or international borders. The federal government may impose mandatory minimum sentences on those convicted of a drug crime. There are several factors that may determine the exact penalties a person could face if convicted of a drug possession or distribution charge. Typically, those variables include the type of substance a person possesses and the quantity that he or she is in possession of.

It is possible for an individual who is in possession of a large quantity of a controlled substance to be charged with intent to distribute even if that person had no intention to sell anything. A person who is in possession of a firearm while committing a drug offense may face additional jail or prison time. In addition, that individual may be barred from owning a gun in the future.

Individuals who are charged with drug crimes may spend decades in prison and pay significant fines if convicted. A criminal conviction may also jeopardize their ability to own a gun or find a job. A person who is facing drug charges may want to hire an attorney to help obtain a favorable outcome in a case. An attorney may take steps to negotiate a plea deal or have a matter dismissed.