Orlando Florida Heroin Lawyers
If you are convicted of a heroin-related offense, there are serious consequences, and very often you need a good attorney to help avoid an outcome that could close a lot of doors to you. The skilled criminal defense lawyers at Moses & Rooth offer years of experience and know-how to those in need of representation.
Heroin is one of the drugs for which Orlando once developed a reputation, and unfortunately, it still affects many lives in and around the city. In December 2015, Orlando police conducted Operation Snowplow, which resulted in 15 arrests being made, and approximately 8.5 kilograms of heroin and countless weapons being seized. This operation was conceived after a whole year that saw 683 heroin-related arrests. However, this is simply the tip of the iceberg – law enforcement will continue to crack down hard on heroin offenses.
Possession of Heroin in Orlando
Florida’s drug laws are some of the strictest in the nation. While in some states, possession of miniscule amounts (under a gram or half a gram) is considered a misdemeanor, under Florida law possession of any amount is immediately a third degree felony. This even applies to traces – for example, if you had a used syringe or foil on your person, it could be used to land you in jail for up to five years.
If you are convicted of possession, you not only face jail time, but may also face a host of other consequences. Examples include:
- Immediate suspension of your driver’s license for at least two years. The judge has no discretion to waive this;
- Mandatory counseling or drug treatment, especially if you are granted probation instead of jail time;
- Possibly having your property, including your car or other vehicle, seized by law enforcement if it was used during the commission of your felony; and/or
- Significant monetary fines.
More Serious Heroin Offenses
If you are caught with more than 4 grams of heroin, you are able to be charged with trafficking, even if you had no intent to give any to anyone else. Trafficking is a first degree felony and mandates anywhere from three years to life imprisonment under Florida law, plus attendant fines and other consequences. Much depends on how much heroin is involved, as well as your previous record (if any) and where the sale or delivery took place.
Selling heroin is also a serious offense, classified as a second degree felony – if the amount sold is greater than 10 grams, it will be a first degree felony, which carries a possible sentence of life in prison. If your sale happened within 1,000 yards of a school or assisted living facility, the penalty will be even higher – the rationale is that these places should be safe from the violence that often accompanies the drug trade.
Defenses & Plea-Bargains for Heroin
Sometimes, there are partial or complete defenses that your attorney can raise that may help to get the charge lowered. The most common is to argue that the search performed by law enforcement to obtain evidence against you was illegal. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution bars illegal searches and seizures, which means that any search of your person or your property that is not properly conducted – for example, a warrantless search – will render the evidence inadmissible in court. Consult an experienced legal professional to get further information on your specific case and the potential outcomes.
Heroin Possession FAQs
What Should I Do If I Was Arrested on Heroin Charges?
If you were arrested on heroin charges — whether it was a possession charge or a trafficking charge — you need to speak to an experienced legal professional right away. It is not in your best interests to make a statement to law enforcement. Under the Fifth Amendment, you have a right to remain silent.
You are not required to answer any questions: Do not admit to wrongdoing or thoughtlessly plead guilty without speaking to an attorney. For guidance with your case, call a top-rated Orlando heroin lawyer. Your lawyer can review the charges and help you take the proper steps to protect yourself, and possibly seek heroin treatment in Orlando.
What is the Difference Between Actual and Constructive Possession?
Under Florida state law, there are two different types of drug possession: actual possession and constructive possession. With actual possession, the defendant allegedly had the heroin — or another illegal substance — on their person. It could be in their hands, in their pockets, or somewhere else on their body. Regardless, actual possession is physical possession.
With constructive possession, the defendant does not have actual physical possession of the heroin, but instead has both knowledge of and control over the substance. As an example, a person who is found to have heroin in the glove box of their vehicle may be charged with constructive possession. In Florida, knowledge is a required element in a constructive possession case.
What are the Penalties for Heroin Possession in Florida?
Heroin possession is a very serious criminal offense in our state. Prosecutors have the ability to charge heroin possession as a third-degree felony offense. If convicted of a third-degree felony drug possession in Florida, you face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. To be clear, you can be charged with a felony even if you only have a small amount of heroin. If you were arrested for this offense, please contact an Orlando heroin attorney right away.
What are the Penalties for Selling Heroin in Orlando?
In recent years, prosecutors and public officials in Florida have been especially aggressive in pursuing punishment for defendants accused of selling or trafficking heroin. Indeed, trafficking of heroin is a first-degree felony offense in the state. Notably, under Florida Statute § 893.135, heroin trafficking is subject to mandatory minimum penalties.
As an example, if a defendant is caught with at least four grams of heroin on their person and they are deemed to be engaged in a distribution operation, they face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison.
The more heroin you are alleged to have sold/trafficked, the more severe the penalties. When more than 30 kilograms are trafficked, defendants face a mandatory minimum of life in prison. If you or your loved one was arrested for drug trafficking in Central Florida, contact an experienced heroin defense lawyer at Moses & Rooth immediately. Do not plead guilty to drug trafficking without first consulting with a defense attorney.
An Experienced Orlando Heroin Attorney Can Help
Facing criminal charges can be a terrifying experience, even without the countless other factors that may influence your life, family and career for the worse. The stakes are high – you need attorneys who are well versed in the relevant law, and ready, willing and able to try to find weaknesses in the state’s case so that your life is not put on hold for any longer than it has to be.
The experienced Orlando criminal law attorneys at Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law are both former prosecutors, so we know some of the ways the state will try to make criminal charges stick. Our firm practices nothing but criminal law, and we do our best to stay up to date on changes and news in the field, so we can provide the best possible services to our clients.
Contact us today at (407) 377-0150, or via the form on our website, to discuss your options in a free initial consultation. We will fight for you.