Heroin is classified as a Schedule I controlled under Florida Statute § 893.03(1)(b), meaning it has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Thus, any person who is arrested for an offense involving heroin is likely to face extremely serious criminal charges.
Possession, sale, or trafficking of heroin may result in federal charges, but even state charges in Florida can have severe consequences. Regardless of the specific venue in which an alleged offender will be tried, prosecutors will attempt to seek very stiff penalties in these types of cases.
Tallahassee Heroin Charges Lawyer
If you were arrested for any type of heroin crime, you need to immediately get the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Pumphrey Law is licensed in all Florida state courts as well as United States District Courts for the Northern District and Middle District of Florida.
Our firm represents clients in the greater Tallahassee as well as many nearby communities, including Bristol, Apalachicola, Port St. Joe, Carrabelle, Wewahitchka, and Chipley. Call (850) 681-7777 right now to set up a free, confidential consultation that will let us review your case to see how we can help.
Leon County Heroin Charges Information Center
- What are the different types of heroin offenses a person may be charged with?
- Are there any aggravating factors that can trigger enhanced penalties?
- How might a person defend himself or herself against these charges?
There are multiple types of state charges that an alleged offender can face for a heroin-related crime. Criminal offenses involving federal agents, large amounts of heroin, or crimes committed on federal property can result in federal charges.
Most drug offenses in Florida are handled in state courts. The different types of charges could include any of the following:
Simple possession of less than 10 grams of heroin is classified under Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(a) as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If an alleged offender is charged with possession of 10 grams or more of heroin, then the crime is classified as a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Under Florida law, there are two types of possession that an alleged offender may be charged with:
- Actual Possession — This is when police find heroin on the person of the alleged offender, whether it be in his or her hands, pockets, or some other immediate location that only the alleged offender had access to.
- Constructive Possession — This is when law enforcement finds heroin in a location that more than one party had access to but the alleged offender had dominion and control.
Sale, Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture, or Deliver Heroin
If an alleged offender is accused of one of these crimes with less than 10 grams of heroin, this offense is classified as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the alleged offense involved 10 grams or more of heroin, then this is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
It is important to understand exactly how the terms related to these charges are defined in Florida:
- Sell — Transfer or deliver heroin to another person in exchange for money or something of value or a promise of money or something of value.
- Manufacture — The production, preparation, propagation, compounding, cultivating, growing, conversion, or processing of heroin, either directly or indirectly, by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.
- Deliver or Delivery — The actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another of heroin, whether or not there is an agency relationship.
Trafficking is one of the more common federal charges, but state charges in Florida are determined by the amount of heroin involved. Heroin trafficking is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, but the amount involved can result in increased mandatory minimum sentences and fines:
- 4 grams or more but less than 14 grams — Mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and $50,000 fine
- 14 grams or more but less than 28 grams — Mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and $100,000 fine
- 28 grams or more but less than 30 kilograms — Mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison and $500,000 fine
- 30 kilograms or more — Mandatory life sentence in prison with ineligibility for any form of discretionary early release except for pardon, executive clemency, or conditional medical release
Numerous locations in Florida are considered protected areas that are often referred to as “drug-free zones” (DFZs). An alleged offender is subject to increased penalties that may include mandatory minimum sentences, longer maximum sentences, or elevated felony charges.
Some of the DFZs listed in the Florida Statutes include selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver heroin in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the following locations:
- Child care facility
- Public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school
- State, county, or municipal park
- A community center (facility operated by a nonprofit community-based organization for the provision of recreational, social, or educational services to the public)
- A publicly owned recreational facility
- Public or private college, university, or other postsecondary educational institution
- Physical place for worship at which a church or religious organization regularly conducts religious services
- Convenience business
- Public housing facility
While an arrest for any heroin-related crime can be very intimidating, an alleged offender may be able to utilize one or more of several defenses in these cases. For example, Florida Statute § 893.21 states that a person who experiences a drug-related overdose and is in need of medical assistance or a person is who is acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose cannot be charged, prosecuted, or penalized for possession of heroin if the evidence for possession of heroin was obtained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance or overdose and the need for medical assistance.
Some other possible defenses can include, but are not limited to:
- Alleged substance was not heroin and did not contain any heroin
- Heroin belonged to another person
- Illegal search and seizure
- Invalid search warrant
- Lack of evidence
Find A Heroin Charges Lawyer in Tallahassee
Were you arrested for any sort of heroin-related crime in Northern Florida? Pumphrey Law aggressively defends clients against both state and federal charges, and our criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to achieve the most favorable outcome with the fewest possible consequences in these cases.
We provide legal representation for residents of Tallahassee and surrounding communities in Leon County in addition to nearby areas in Liberty County, Franklin County, Gulf County, Washington County, and more. Our firm can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free legal consultation.
This article was last updated on August 5, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.