Possession of Heroin Attorney in Tampa, FL
Florida drug laws are complex and often harsh. The criminal justice system in this state treats heroin possession seriously, and a conviction can mean jail time or probation, fines, mandatory drug treatment, driver’s license suspension and, in some cases, substantial prison sentences.
If you or a loved one are facing possession of heroin charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa possession of heroin criminal defense lawyer, today.
Simple Possession of Heroin, FL
Like the federal government, Florida places dangerous drugs on five schedules. Heroin falls on Schedule I, the list reserved for drugs with a high degree of danger, a high risk for abuse and no acknowledged medical uses. Heroin, like other drugs on this list, is banned in all situations. It is a third-degree felony, punishable by as many as five years in prison, to possess heroin for personal use. Probation is more likely than serious jail time, especially for first-time offenders, but mandatory minimum incarceration is possible for offenders convicted of possessing heroin while on probation or parole, offenders who have prior criminal records, and offenders convicted of additional crimes.
Possession of Heroin with Intent to Sell in Tampa, FL
The sale or delivery of heroin, or the possession of any amount heroin with intent to sell or deliver it, is a second-degree felony with penalties that include as many as 15 years. The courts can infer intent from a number of facts, including possession of paraphernalia such as baggies and scales, possession or large amounts of cash, and possession of large amounts of drugs. Possession of more than 10 grams of heroin with intent is a first-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 30 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of nearly three years. Possession of any amount of heroin with intent within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, school, park, community center or recreational facility is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years and a mandatory minimum of three years. Possessing heroin with intent within 1,000 feet of a place of worship or certain businesses is also a first-degree felony with a 30-year maximum; a 21-month minimum applies to this offense. The same crime within 1,000 feet of a college, university or other postsecondary school, or within 1,000 feet of a public housing facility or assisted living facility is likewise a first-degree facility carrying a 30-year maximum, although no automatic minimum is required.
Possession of Heroin: Trafficking in Tampa, FL
The crime of trafficking in heroin is even more serious than possession with intent. Florida’s trafficking statute covers the sale, delivery, purchase, smuggling or possession of large amounts of heroin. It is important to note that possession in this case is simple; as long as the amount of the drug is substantial enough, no intent to deliver is required. Possessing more than four grams of heroin is considered a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 30 years. Possession of between four and 14 grams carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years; between 14 and 28 grams carries a a minimum of 15 years; and between 28 grams and 30 kilograms carries a minimum of 25 years. Possession of between 30 and 60 kilograms comes with a life sentence without the possibility of parole. If someone is murdered or otherwise dies as a result of such large-scale heroin trafficking, the death penalty will be imposed. And offender who traffics in 60 or more kilograms knowing that someone will probably die as a result is also subject to the death penalty.