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What Are Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines?

Mandatory sentencing guidelines tell a judge how to sentence a particular case. Here is a brief overview of the penalties you can expect for a drug conviction in Florida.

Rather than the judge taking into consideration the circumstances of the case, any efforts to mitigate harm, or what the defendant’s record looks like, mandatory sentencing guidelines tell a judge how to sentence a particular case. There are mandatory sentencing guidelines at both the state and federal level. In Florida specifically, there are mandatory minimums for drug crimes, sex crimes, and gun crimes.

What Are the Sentencing Guidelines for Drug Offenses?

Florida takes drug crimes very seriously, and the State’s mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for drug offenses is an effort to combat drug trafficking and drug use.

For example, the sentencing guidelines for drug trafficking mandate between three and twenty-five years in prison, and a fine ranging from $25,000 and $750,000. In comparison, sentencing guidelines for drug charges not related to trafficking, such as possession, limit the maximum penalty allowed rather than imposing a mandatory minimum. Therefore, the judge has discretion and can choose to impose probation or opt for the maximum sentence allowed under the guidelines.

Here is a brief overview of the penalties you can expect for a drug conviction in Florida:

Drug Possession – Maximum Penalties Limited

  • First Degree Misdemeanor: Possession of less than twenty grams of cannabis, or less than three grams of synthetic drugs, can result up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and a $1,000 fine.
  • Third Degree Felony: Possession of more than twenty grams of cannabis, less than twenty-eight grams of cocaine, less than four grams of heroin, less than fourteen grams of methamphetamine, less than seven grams of oxycodone, any amount of xanax without a proper prescription, or more than three grams of synthetic drugs can result up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Drug Trafficking – Mandatory Minimum Penalties

  • First Degree Felony: Being in possession of higher quantities than those named above may be charged as drug trafficking. Duration of imprisonment and the amount of fine depends on the type of substance being trafficked and in what amount. These charges lead to a minimum of three to twenty-five years in prison and at least $25,000 to $750,000 fine:

For more information on sentencing guidelines, you can read Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes or discuss your charges with one of our criminal defense attorneys.

Can I Get A Lesser Sentence Than the Ones Outlined in the Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines?

While mandatory sentencing guidelines mean there is no room for negotiating a lesser sentence, the circumstances of your case may warrant a reduced charge. Alternatively, you may be able to plea to a lesser charge which would allow judicial discretion in sentencing. It is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to help you navigate your options.

How Can A West Palm Beach Drug Attorney Help with My Case?

Florida’s mandatory sentencing guidelines take no mercy, even for first-time offenders. If you are charged with a drug crime, your character, reputation, and even the circumstances of your arrest may not be considered in sentencing. You need an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney on your side, ensuring that your legal rights are protected. Contact our office 24/7 for a free consultation.

Gregory Salnick
Mr. Salnick is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. He began his legal career at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted over 90 jury trials, ranging from DUI to murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Mr. Salnick quickly gained a reputation as a tenacious and ethical attorney at law. Mr. Salnick now serves as state and federal criminal defense attorney at Salnick Law, P.A.
Call us today at 561-471-1000

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"Best attorneys around! From the moment I met Michael I knew I was in good hands. Also the father and son dynamic duo leave no stones unturned. Extremely professional and knowledgeable. They are also highly respected by judges and prosecutors alike! You will not regret hiring this law firm for any of your needs!"

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"I am a client of Greg and Mike Salnick. While I dont have any pending matters they are handling for me, it is my belief that once you are a client of these gentleman, you are always their client. They put their heart and soul into representing their clients. These are highly competitive men that find true pleasure in zealously advocating for their clients..."

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"I reached out to Salnick Law when I was wrongly criminally charged by my employer. A conviction would have cost me my professional certification along with jail time. Michael and Greg stood by me when I refused to accept any plea deals. We went to trial and with the expertise of Salnick Law I was found NOT GUILTY! Throughout my year and a half ordeal Michael and Greg were available to me at any time of the day or night..."

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former client

"My family and I are so grateful for The Salnick Law Firm. Michael and Greg treated me as if I was family. They believed in me at a time when I felt like the world was against me. Because of Salnick Law Firm I have my life back. Their expertise in criminal law gave me my freedom. I thought to be home with my family and free to travel was only a dream but it is reality! Thank you!"

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"Greg Salnick is a fantastic attorney. I am grateful for the care and time he put into my brother’s case. Greg was professional, knowledgeable, and accessible. Greg explained every step in the legal process, and we were thrilled with the outcome."

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"Greg Salnick is not just a great lawyer but a solid human being. He made sure that our entire family was kept apprised every step of the way and generally cared for the well-being of us all. Criminal cases are hard enough but with Greg in your corner you are getting the best hands down."

former client

"Greg Salnick is Harvey Spector from the show suits lol all jokes aside he is the best lawyer I could ask for and Greg will do the best he can always for you and to make you feel like your not just another case"

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"Could not ask for a better lawyer then Greg, was looking at life in prison but he was able to prove my innocence. He has helped many of my friends as well. Trust me I wouldn’t put my life in anyone else’s hands other then Gregs."

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"This Law firm deserves an additional 100 stars ⭐. I'm so pleased with the level of care and time Attorney Michael Salnick put into my brother's case. He did it with passion, love, and honesty. If you need a criminal defense attorney, look no further. Highly recommended! Best attorney ever! His reputation and results are impeccable!"

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