Opiate Drug Crimes
Over the past decade, opiate use and overdose deaths in Florida have increased dramatically. In response to the opiate crisis, the Florida legislature has imposed harsh penalties for opiate drug convictions, and state attorneys have aggressively prosecuted these offenses. Opiate drug crimes may involve illegal substances, such as heroin, as well as some prescription medications, including oxycodone and vicodin. If you have been arrested for unlawful possession or sale of opiates, the St. Petersburg drug crimes attorney at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. can assist you. We have successfully represented defendants in opiate drug crime cases and are prepared to advocate for you.Florida Opiate Drug Crimes
Opiates are drugs that originate from naturally occurring components of the poppy plant. Some well-known examples of opiates are heroin, opium, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. Opioids, while having the same or similar effects on the human body as opiates, are synthetically manufactured drugs. Opioids include fentanyl and methadone. In Florida, most opiates and opioids are Schedule II controlled substances, with the exception of heroin, which is classified as a Schedule I drug. Controlled substances, particularly opiates and opioids, are heavily regulated by federal and Florida laws. Crimes involving Schedule I and Schedule II narcotics are among the most serious drug offenses, with harsh penalties for a conviction.Opiate Possession
In Florida, a person may not be in actual or constructive possession of an opiate unless it was lawfully obtained from a health care practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription. Unlawful possession of any amount of opiates in Florida is a criminal offense. Generally, simple possession of an opiate for personal use is a third degree felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine. If the amount of opiates possessed exceeds the statutory limit established for that particular drug, the offense may be charged as a second or first degree felony, depending on the circumstances. For example, possession of more than ten grams of heroin or methadone can result in a first degree felony charge, with the potential for significantly greater penalties if convicted.Criminal Offenses for Dealing Opiates
Selling, manufacturing, or delivering opiates in any amount is illegal in Florida, as well as possessing opiates with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver them. In many situations, this offense is a second degree felony. However, there are a number of factors that may elevate the offense. For example, dealing opiates within 1,000 feet of a childcare facility, school, college, community center, park, church or place of worship, public housing facility, or an assisted living facility may be charged as a first degree felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum prison sentence. When a minor is involved in the sale or delivery of opiates, or suffers a bodily injury arising out of an opiate drug crime, the defendant may be charged with a first degree felony.
Trafficking is a serious crime involving a large quantity of a controlled substance. Opiate trafficking is a first degree felony offense. A conviction for trafficking in opiates may be subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence from three to twenty-five years, depending on the amount and the type of opiate. If you have been accused of an opiate drug crime, retaining a lawyer may be crucial to avoid unnecessary penalties.Contact an Attorney Serving the St. Petersburg Area
If you are facing criminal charges for heroin or other drug crimes, a lawyer can help you fight against a conviction. The attorneys of Blake & Dorsten, P.A., are committed to pursuing a favorable outcome for our clients. In addition to St. Petersburg, our skilled lawyers can defend people charged with drug possession or trafficking crimes in Clearwater, Tampa Bay, and many other areas of Pinellas County. To request a free consultation with a knowledgeable opiate defense attorney, call Blake & Dorsten today at 727-286-6141 or contact us using our online form.