Drug laws in the state of Florida are considered extremely serious. Possession of any amount of heroin in Florida is classified as a Felony, whether it’s a bag or just a spoon, pipe, or foil containing residue less than 10 grams of heroin. If you have been arrested for possessing heroin or for selling heroin, it would be best to contact an experienced and reputable drug possession defense lawyer who has extensive knowledge of federal and state drug laws. An attorney can help you understand the Florida’s heroin laws, navigate the criminal justice system, and appear with you in court.
Heroin charges are serious and you may need an Orlando heroin possession lawyer to help you fight the charges and devise a strategic defense on your behalf. Continue down the page to read the strategies and defenses used in heroin cases.
Since possession of Heroin attracts serious consequences, it is extremely important to know the different types of possession charges.
Actual Possession: This type of drug possession occurs when the heroin was actually found in your bag, pockets, wallet, hands, or within your reach. This is the most common and straightforward type of illegal drug possession.
Constructive Possession: Constructive possession occurs when the heroin was not found in your hands or pockets, or within your immediate reach, but instead in a place that you have access to and control of. This is much more difficult for the prosecutor, especially when there is a lack of evidence in the case.
Like other drug charges, the penalties you may face after a heroin conviction will vary on the amount seized by law enforcement and whether the offense involves manufacturing, trafficking, distribution, or simple possession. The table below provides a general outline of the penalties for the possession, distribution, and trafficking of heroin under Florida law.
Heroin Possession Penalties
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Penalties become more stiff the moment law enforcement has enough evidence to claim you intended to sell the heroin that is found in your possession. Under Florida law, a person may not sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver any amount heroin. Those who violate this law are charged with a second degree felony and may face any of the following penalties.
The Florida drug trafficking statute defines heroin trafficking charges as selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering or knowingly possessing 4 grams or more of heroin. Trafficking charges have the most strict penalties, with each charge carrying a minimum mandatory prison sentence and fine that is based on the amount of heroin involved.
Heroin Trafficking Penalties
Florida § 893.135(3)(c) penalizes heroin trafficking as follows:
|Quantity of Heroin||Penalty|
Often the penalties could include supervised probation, drug counseling, community service, and driver’s license suspension.
1. Illegal Search and Seizure: Law enforcement officers have been known to overly exercise their authority at times by convincing people to submit to a home, vehicle, or body search through intimidation tactics. If your attorney can prove within legal bounds that such instances actually occurred, the courts will suppress any evidence that was illegally obtained. Additionally, there are other possible grounds for suppression that may present themselves to your lawyer; for example, the law enforcement officers simply obtained a search warrant with an intent to deceive or if you got arrested without reasonable cause.
2. Lack of Knowledge: This defense is applicable if you can prove that you were not aware that the substance found in your possession was actually heroin. Basically, you have to testify to your lack of knowledge of the illegal nature of the substance.
3.Overdose Defense: May be an affirmative defense to any individual experiencing a drug overdose who needs medical assistance, or a person helping the other person that needs medical support. However, it must be proven that the evidence was actually obtained due to drug overdose and the need for medical help.
4.Temporary Possession: If a person takes momentary, temporary, or transitory possession of heroin from the true owner, this defense can be raised. The person may not be considered in legal possession of the heroin because he or she never exercised full access and control over the drugs. For example, if you are handed heroin by the true owner to pass it to the third party and you get arrested, temporary possession defense may be applicable.
5.Constructive Possession: The constructive possession defense would apply if the heroin was found in a place where several people had access. The prosecutor will be required to prove your knowledge of the presence of heroin, the ability to access and control over the heroin before you can be convicted of Possession.
If you have been arrested for heroin related charges in Orlando, or anywhere in Florida, you need to speak with a lawyer immediately In order to increase your chance of reaching a positive result. Heroin charges can have serious consequences and waiting to get legal help can worsen an already difficult situation.
At The Umansky Law Firm, we understand that you are anxious and concerned about what the future holds which is why we encourage you to come in and meet with us so we can help ease your mind. Our team of Orlando drug defense lawyers has over 100 years of combined experience and consists of former prosecutors at the state and local. We’ve represented many people you facing a range of drug charges from simple possession to possession with the intent to sell. We can use our extensive criminal defense knowledge to help mitigate charges and penalties.
Start taking action today, call us to schedule your free consultation! Our attorneys collectively have over 100 years assisting those convicted of drug charges in Florida courtrooms. At your initial visit, we will use our strategic planning tool to review every detail of your case and lay out a plan of action so you understand your options and have a clear idea of what to expect in the coming weeks and month. Find out why we were rated as top criminal lawyers by Orlando Home and Leisure Magazine.
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The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys