Orlando Heroin Lawyers
Definition of Possession of Heroin
Florida Statute §893.13(6)(a) states that a person may not be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice or to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance except as otherwise authorized by this chapter. Heroin is a Schedule I controlled substance, which is the most addictive and serious category or schedule of drugs.
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.
Before a prosecutor can secure a conviction for possession of heroin, he or she needs to prove all of the following elements:
- The defendant had actual or constructive knowledge that he or she possessed the heroin
- The defendant was in possession of heroin which is a Schedule 1 controlled substance
- The defendant exercised a care, custody, control, or management of the heroin
What is Heroin?
Heroin can be a white or brownish powder or a black sticky substance which is commonly referred to as “black tar”. Heroin is a highly addictive opiate drug processed from morphine and extracted from poppy plants. The users will inject, smoke or snort the drug.
Penalties for Possession of Heroin Charges in Florida
Defendants charged with possession of fewer than 4 grams of heroin face third-degree felony charges. Florida recognizes three degrees of felonies. Felonies in the third degree come with penalties of up to five years in prison, up to a $5,000 fine, and five-year probation. Trafficking of Heroin in Florida is possession of Heroin over 4 grams.
Defenses to Possession of Heroin Charges
There are many defenses against possession of heroin charges. First, the defendant can claim that he or she was not in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. When law enforcement finds heroin in the defendant’s car, the defendant may be able to argue that he was not in actual possession or control of the drugs. Perhaps his passenger placed the heroin in the car without the defendant’s knowledge.
The defendant might argue that he was not in actual possession of the heroin. Actual possession of heroin happens when the heroin was in the defendant’s physical custody, such as in his pants, hand, or backpack. Prosecutors do not have to prove actual possession. They can prove constructive possession which does not require actual physical contact with the heroin. The prosecution must prove that the defendant had knowledge of where the heroin was and the ability to control the heroin.
Some of the potential defenses include:
- Mere proximity to the Heroin does not establish possession
- Temporary possession
- Knowledge is required. In actual possession the knowledge is presumed however in constructive cases the knowledge of the heroin is not presumed.
- Fourth amendment violation due to unlawful search and seizure – this could be an unlawful search of your vehicle or an unlawful search of your pockets.
Why You Need a Heroin Defense Lawyer
If you are convicted of any type of heroin crime in Florida, you will have your driver’s license suspended for at least 6 months. It can be extremely difficult to pay for ride-sharing vehicles or taxis in order to get to your work and do errands. Even if you have public transportation available, it can be time-consuming. Hiring an experienced heroin defense lawyer is extremely important. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we can investigate the charges against you and identify legal issues in the prosecution’s case.
Possession of Heroin Resources:
Florida Statute §893.13(6)(a) – Possession of controlled substance statute
Florida Statute 322.055 – driver’s license suspension for drug conviction
Florida Statute 893.21 – overdose possession
Florida Statute 777.201 – Entrapment Statute
Heroin Street Terms:
Thunder, Black Tar, Big H, Hell Dusts, Horse, Smack, Dope
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.