Question: What are the penalties for possessing heroin in Florida?
Answer: There is no question that heroin has made a big return to the drug scene in Florida, and throughout the nation. Much as law enforcement has cracked down on the local Methamphetamine labs, the focus now includes the heroin drug trade as well. The penalties under Florida law for possessing heroin varies depending upon the amount, and purpose of possessing such. For example, a basic possession of heroin charge is a 3rd degree Felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, if one is in possession of heroin with the intention to sell, manufacture or distribute, or actually does sell, manufacture or distribute heroin, then the offense becomes a 2nd degree Felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
There is also a statute which addresses the trafficking of heroin. Interestingly enough, the word “trafficking” does not necessarily imply any selling or distributing of the drug, as Florida’s trafficking laws are based solely upon the quantity of the drug present. The trafficking of heroin is a 1st degree Felony, punishable up to 30 years in prison, though the fine amount will vary depending upon the quantity. For example, possession of 4 grams or more of heroin, but less than 14 grams, has a minimum day for day prison sentence of three years, and a $50,000 fine, though one can still receive up to 30 years in prison. If the amount of heroin possessed is 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams, then it is a minimum day for day sentence of 15 years in prison (up to 30 years), and a $100,000 fine. Possessing 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms, is a minimum day for day sentence of 25 years in prison (up to 30 years in prison), and a $500,000 fine. Again, each of these quantities may be punishable up to 30 years in prison, as the prison sentences listed are the minimum mandatory drug trafficking sentences. Of course, one can also receive a “split sentence,” where one exits prison with the remaining balance of time on probation, such as a sentence of 15 years in prison followed by 15 years of probation, for example.
A person who is found with more than 30 kilograms of heroin is guilty of an offense referred to as the 1st degree Felony of Trafficking in Illegal Drugs, which is a Life felony. Thus, the individual is sentenced to Life imprisonment, with no early release, no “gain time,” and naturally, no parole. Of course, if one has more than 30 kilograms of heroin, there is a good chance the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (i.e. “DEA”) will want to have a chat with that individual, and likely take over the matter, thus placing you into the Federal Court system. As one can imagine, the penalties under Federal law are different than that for Florida’s Court system, but such is for another article.
If you, or someone you know, has been charged, or is actively being investigated for any drug offense, call my office today for a free consultation. A drug conviction will impact the rest of your life, in ways one cannot even imagine, from the job application process, to even the administrative suspension of one’s driver’s license in Florida. Call while you still have the opportunity to save your future.