Bill Proposes Enhanced Penalties for Selling Drugs Near Rehab Facilities
October 7, 2021 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Drug Charges Social Share
On September 13, State Representative Scott Plakon filed HB 95 which revises elements that constitute capital offense of first-degree murder, defines “substantial factor,” and prohibits specified activities involving controlled substances within 1,000 feet of mental health facilities. An identical measure, SB 190, was filed the following day by Senator Jason Brodeur.
What Would These Bills Do?
First, the bills would amend Section 782.04 of the Florida Statutes that codifies murder. Specifically, it amends section 782.04(1)(a)(3) to read that murder is the unlawful killing of a human being
“Which resulted from the unlawful distribution by a person 18 years of age or older of any of the following substances, or mixture containing any of the following substances, when such substance or mixture is proven to have caused, or is proven to have been a substantial factor in producing the death of the user.”
The bills then state a substance or mixture is proven to be a “substantial factor” when the use of the substance or mixture alone is sufficient to cause death, regardless of whether any other substance or mixture used is sufficient to cause death. By removing the terminology of “proximate cause,” which requires a heightened level of proof in comparison to “substantial factor,” it will likely be easier to prove murder under this revised statute. Furthermore, the bills would add methamphetamine to the list of unlawfully distributed substances under 782.04(1)(a)(3) that have caused, or have been proven to have been a substantial factor, in producing the death of the user.
Interestingly, the bills would also amend Section 893.13 of the Florida Statutes that codifies prohibited acts and penalties regarding drug abuse prevention and control. This provision would create a criminal penalty for selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance in, on, or within 1,000 feet of a mental health facility. A mental health facility includes a facility that
- Is licensed under Chapter 395 that provides substance abuse treatment;
- A licensed service provider as defined in Section 397.311(26);
- A facility providing services that include clinical treatment, intervention, or prevention as described in Section 397.311(26);
- A recovery residence as defined in Section 397.311(26);
- A recovery residence as defined in Section 397.311;
- An assisted living facility as defined in Chapter 429; or
- A pain management clinic as defined in Section 458.3625(1)(a)(1)(c) or Section 459.0137(1)(a)(1)(c).
The current statute regulates selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with the intent to sell a controlled substance in, on, or within 1,000 feet of a childcare facility, school, park, community center, recreational facility, public or private college, university or postsecondary educational institution, church or religious institution, public housing facility, or assisted living facility. Including mental health facilities to this list that results in greater criminal sanctions and undoubtedly provides the individuals within the facility greater protection from being exposed to controlled substances.
If you or a loved one has been accused of selling drugs, contact an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tallahassee, FL today.
If passed, the revisions would go into effect October 1, 2022.
This article was written by Sarah Kamide