Synthetic Drug Charges
Just a few years ago, the popularity of synthetic drugs skyrocketed, as drug users sought to obtain a high from undetectable substances. As the number of synthetic drug users increased, so too did the number of calls made to poison control centers, emergency room visits, and national headlines painting synthetics as a mind-altering menace to society. It didn’t take long for Florida lawmakers to prohibit numerous synthetic drugs and impose severe penalties for those convicted of synthetic drug charges.
In 2012, Governor Rick Scott signed a new law that expanded the list of Schedule I controlled substances to include substances found in synthetic drugs. Today, a person convicted on synthetic drug charges in Orlando may very well end up serving the same sentence he or she would serve for having possessed the real thing. If you face such charges, you are advised to work with a criminal demefense lawyer with extensive experience handling drug charges throughout central Florida.
What are synthetic drugs?
Synthetic drugs are man-made psychoactive substances that are designed to mimic the effects of illicit drugs. Synthetic drugs, also known as “designer drugs” have chemical structures to similar to those of controlled substances and can produce narcotic, stimulant, depressant, and hallucinogenic effects. They are sometimes used as alternatives to illegal drugs because they often go undetected in drug tests.
Synthetic drugs are commonly trafficked into the United States from China and are produced in unregulated laboratories. Two main types of synthetic compounds exist:
- Synthetic cannabinoids
- Synthetic cathinones
Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the texture and effects of real marijuana. They are made of dried, shredded plant-like material that has been sprayed with chemicals and marketed as an herbal smoking mixture. Some cannabinoids may also be sold as oils that can be inhaled via vaporizes or e-cigarettes. These substances are sold under dozens of brand names, the most well-known being K2 and Spice.
Synthetic cathinones imitate the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. They are usually sold in powder form and are water soluble. People can snort, smoke, ingest, or inject them. Common synthetic cathinones are bath salts and flakka.
Possessing Bath Salts or K2 in Florida
Possessing a controlled substance like bath salts, K2/Spice, or flakka in Florida can mean you have the substance in your physical possession or you have control over a place where you are keeping the substance. The state will have to prove you were in “actual” or “constructive” possession of the drug to prove their case.
Actual vs. Constructive Drug Possession
To be in actual possession of a substance means the drug is on your person. If police discovered an illegal synthetic substance in your hand, your pocket, or in your car at the time of arrest, you were in actual possession of the drug.
Constructive drug possession occurs when you do not have the drug in your physical possession, but law enforcement believes the drugs are in a remote location to which you have access and that is under your control. Additionally, police may believe that more than one person knows about the drugs and has access to them. It may be more difficult for the state to prove constructive possession.
Penalties for a Synthetic Drug Possession Conviction
A conviction for possessing synthetic drugs can result in severe consequences that can derail your future. It is crucial for a skilled synthetic drug attorney to intervene as soon as possible after your arrest.
Florida law classifies possession of three or fewer grams of a synthetic drug as a first-degree misdemeanor offense. Any combination of the following is possible:
- 1 year in jail
- 1 year of probation
- $1,000 fine
Possessing more than three grams of a synthetic drug is a third-degree felony offense punishable by any combination of the following:
- 5 years in prison
- 5 years of probation
- $5,00 fine
You can also lose your driver’s license for a year upon a conviction.
What can The Umansky Law Firm do for me?
At The Umansky Law Firm, we are a team of dedicated drug defense lawyers who have over 100 years of combined experience practicing criminal law throughout central Florida. We are former prosecutors who can provide a unique advantage to each and every case that comes our way. Our lawyers will investigate all the facts surrounding your case to construct the best defense strategy possible.
Several defenses may be raised to combat synthetic drug charges:
- Illegal search and seizure
- Lack of knowledge
- Overdose defense
- Temporary possession
- Challenge the actual chemical composition of the drug the State alleges is illegal
It is up to your attorney to determine the best course of action based on the circumstances of your case. Call our office or contact us online to discuss your synthetic drug case in Orlando for free.