Peterford Law, Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI & Felony Charges in Palm Beach County
Cocaine Possession vs Trafficking: Understanding the Difference

Posted on Feb 13th 2024


Cocaine Possession vs Trafficking: Understanding the Difference

Facing drug charges of any kind can be stressful and scary. One significant reason for this stress is the multitude of unknowns: are you facing a felony or a misdemeanor? What are the possible penalties for these charges? What are the differences between possession and trafficking? Gaining a deeper understanding of cocaine possession vs trafficking charges and the penalties associated with these charges can help you determine your next steps with more confidence.

Cocaine in Palm Beach County

Even being caught with a residual amount of cocaine is a felony in Palm Beach County because it is a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical harm and dependence. While all cocaine charges are felonies, there are different classifications for possession vs trafficking and, therefore, different possible penalties.

Cocaine Possession

Cocaine possession refers to having less than 28 grams of cocaine for personal use. It’s possible to be charged with possession if the cocaine is found on your person, in your vehicle, in your home, or anywhere you have access to. The prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally had the cocaine in their control or possession.

The penalties for cocaine possession can vary based on the amount of cocaine involved, whether there are aggravating circumstances around the arrest, and whether the defendant has prior drug-related convictions. Generally, possession of cocaine is a third-degree felony in Palm Beach County. If convicted, those charged with cocaine possession can face a $5,000 fine, up to five years in prison, and a two-year driver’s license suspension.

Possession with the intent to sell or deliver is a second-degree felony, so the penalties are harsher. Those charged with possession with the intent to sell or deliver face up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

An individual placed under arrest because of a cocaine drug charge - contact Peterford Law for legal representation in Palm Beach County.

Cocaine Trafficking

Cocaine trafficking involves more than 28 grams of cocaine or a mixture containing cocaine. It is considered a much more serious offense than possession. Even without evidence of the sale or delivery of cocaine, being caught with 28 grams or more of cocaine is grounds for trafficking charges. Cocaine trafficking is a first-degree felony in Palm Beach County, which means those convicted can face up to 30 years in prison.

Trafficking charges carry mandatory minimum penalties based on the weight of the substance the defendant is caught with. Minimum penalties in Palm Beach County are as follows:

  • 28-199 grams: 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • 200-399 grams: 7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine
  • 400 grams-150 kilograms: 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

If the cocaine or mixture that contains cocaine weighs 150 kilograms or more, the defendant may face life imprisonment.

If you're facing a drug charge because of cocaine possession or trafficking, work with Peterford Law to win your case.

Next Steps

Cocaine convictions can be devastating and life-altering. Time spent in prison and enormous fines can change the course of a person’s life forever.

Whether facing possession or trafficking charges, individuals should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. With harsh penalties and a permanent criminal record on the line, protecting your rights is crucial. Peterford Law brings experience on both sides of the courtroom and an unmatched dedication to his clients. With over a thousand cases handled, Peterford Law is the most trustworthy and qualified choice for legal representation in Palm Beach County. Request a free consultation today!