Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs in Florida. The potential for abuse, addiction, overdose, and death are very high. Possessing and using heroin in Florida is a bad idea from both a health and legal perspective.
Heroin laws vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the degree of involvement and the amount of drugs involved. Heroin laws have changed at both state and federal levels. It is incredibly important that you know the latest updates and how they may impact you.
Heroin Laws under Florida State Law
Possession of heroin and other narcotics remain strictly prohibited under both state and federal law. Possession of heroin is treated as a felony, with consequences including mandatory jail time and fines. Dealers and traffickers of heroin face even more serious penalties. Heroin manufacturing and cultivation are also restricted at both federal and state levels.
Florida’s Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act was established in 1970. Chapters 775 and 893 of the 2017 Florida Statutes discuss the regulation of controlled or prescription drugs and related penalties.
In the state of Florida, heroin is categorized as a Schedule I drug. Like LSD, heroin is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. The devastating consequences it can have on users make possession and use illegal.
There are two types of heroin possession charges. Actual possession means heroin was found in your wallet, bag, hands, pockets, or immediate vicinity. This is the most common and straightforward type of charge. Constructive possession, on the other hand, means that heroin was found in a location you have access to and control of. Even though you were not caught “red-handed,” the possession is implied.
Constructive possession is more difficult for the prosecutor to prove. In either case, the prosecutor must prove the possession of heroin beyond reasonable doubt.
Possession of heroin is treated as third-degree felony. This means convicted felons can face up to 5 years in prison, $5,000 in fines, and suspension of their driver’s license. Possessing more than 10 grams of heroin can mean up to 30 years in prison.
Florida state law also cover the sale, delivery, and manufacturing of heroin. These are treated as second-degree felonies. People convicted of the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver can face up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000. Their driver’s license will also be suspended.
Individuals convicted of trafficking, i.e. possessing, selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering or transporting 4 grams or more of heroin (or its derivatives), face mandatory prison time. The length of time depends on the amount of heroin involved. Trafficking is considered a first-degree felony.
Heroin Laws Defense Strategy
As mentioned, prosecutors must prove possession of an illegal substance and that that illegal substance was heroin beyond reasonable doubt. Mounting a good defense early is vital to win the case.
Defending possession charges can include:
- Citing illegal search and seizure by law enforcement officers, such that any evidence becomes suppressed in court
- Lack of knowledge on the defendant’s part that the substance was heroin
- Temporary possession defense, meaning the true owner of the heroin was someone other than the defendant
- Constructive possession defense, meaning that there are other people who had access to the location where the heroin was found
A heroin possession charge can be intimidating, but taking early action can prevent serious consequences. Know your options and have a clear plan of action. Contact a Michael Gottlieb today to start your defense!