Blake & Dorsten, P.A. is a criminal defense law firm whose attorneys represent people charged with a wide variety of drug offenses, including those related to heroin possession and trafficking. These are serious crimes that can come with significant consequences for the person charged and their family. Our Tampa Bay heroin crime lawyers are former prosecutors who understand how law enforcement, judges, and juries approach these cases. We work tirelessly to fight the charges that our clients are facing head-on, and we are committed to standing by them at each and every step of the criminal justice process.Penalties for Heroin Crimes
The opioid epidemic across the country has led lawmakers, prosecutors, and police officers to take a closer look at how the criminal justice system treats a wide variety of drug offenses, including those related to heroin. Florida and federal laws consider heroin crimes major offenses. As a result, even the possession of the drug can lead to harsh penalties.
Florida law classifies heroin as a Schedule I drug. The possession of less than four grams is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, $5,000 in fines, and the revocation of driving privileges for one year. A person caught with more than four grams of heroin is considered to be trafficking in the drug. This is a first-degree felony that comes with mandatory minimum punishments, depending on the quantity involved. A person caught with less than 14 grams of heroin is facing a mandatory minimum of three years behind bars. The prison time jumps all the way to a mandatory life sentence in prison for someone convicted of trafficking in 30 kilograms of heroin or more. Since the consequences are potentially so devastating, it is essential to retain a heroin crime attorney in the Tampa Bay area as soon as possible.Defenses and Alternative Sentencing in Heroin Cases
The good news for a person charged with a serious drug felony is that the burden is on prosecutors to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high bar to reach. The law offers a number of possible defenses to people charged with a heroin crime.
Many of the defenses focus on how the police found the heroin. Officers generally need to have a warrant in order to search a home or other property for evidence of a crime. There are several exceptions to that general rule, however, including when the police are in hot pursuit or the evidence is in plain view. The standards are also different for stop and frisk situations and those involving car stops. Still, the legality of a search and seizure is often a big question in drug cases. A Tampa Bay heroin crime attorney can closely investigate the details of your situation to determine whether this type of defense may apply.
Constructive possession is also often an issue in state and federal heroin cases. If police officers find the drug in an area where multiple people have access to it, they need to be able to show that you knew that the drug was there and had the power to exercise control over it. Other defenses may also be available for a person who has temporary possession of the drug or who is arrested while seeking medical attention for an overdose.
Even when a person is convicted of a drug crime, they may be able to avoid long prison sentences by getting released on probation or by taking advantage of Florida’s alternative sentencing system.Contact a Knowledgeable Heroin Crime Lawyer in the Tampa Bay Region
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we offer clients vital insights in drug and other criminal cases based on our previous experience as prosecutors. We know the issues that often come up in these cases, and we understand how to build a thorough defense for the people whom we represent. Our lawyers have also had success negotiating plea deals for clients to resolve certain cases efficiently and to help defendants move on with their lives after a conviction. If you or a loved one has been charged with a heroin crime or another drug offense, such as a cocaine crime, our lawyers are ready to help. We serve defendants in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg, among other cities. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with an attorney.