When most people think of drug trafficking charges in Florida, they think of people selling large quantities of marijuana, cocaine or other illegal drugs in traditional drug deals. However, with prescription drugs being the focus of police more and more, drug trafficking cases can involve many different scenarios. First, drug trafficking does not just mean selling or moving a large amount of drugs. Drug trafficking can also include merely possessing drugs over a certain threshold weight. Also, particularly with pill cases, a person really does not need to possess a great deal of pills to be at risk for a drug trafficking charge.
Medical doctors have also been the subject of drug trafficking investigations. In a recent drug trafficking case near Jacksonville, Florida, a medical doctor was charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking for providing Oxycodone to patients without a proper medical evaluation. The law allows a doctor to prescribe and dispense controlled substances such as painkillers like Hydrocodone in the normal course of his/her professional medical practice. However, if the state believes that a doctor is prescribing or dispensing controlled substance pills in an improper manner, such as without a proper medical evaluation or to people who do not need them or to known addicts in excess, the state may bring criminal charges against the doctor. We have seen this happen quite often in certain pain clinic cases in the Jacksonville and South Georgia areas.
In those cases, the state can charge a properly licensed medical doctor with trafficking in drugs or other drug-related crimes. The doctor can defend him/herself by arguing that the drugs were prescribed in the normal course of his/her medical practice. These cases can be difficult for the state to prove. After all, it is the educated and experienced doctor who normally decides issues related to a proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan, not a police officer or prosecutor. On the other hand, drug trafficking charges in Florida come with severe penalties so there is a lot at stake (a felony conviction, loss of a medical license and prison time), and such cases must be defended appropriately