What to Know if you are Facing a Heroin Possession Charge
If you have been arrested for the possession of any type of controlled dangerous substance, you could be facing substantial penalties such as fines, probation, and jail time. The specific penalties you face depend on the type of drug you allegedly possessed and the amount of it you allegedly had.
Depending on your circumstances, you can also be spared these penalties and seek rehabilitation by court order. You can also work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend your case and have your charge downgraded or dismissed.
America is Experiencing a Heroin Epidemic
Heroin has seen a surge in use in the United States in the past few years. In Florida, the number of deaths attributed to heroin overdose rose from 62 in 2011 to 117 in 2012. In some counties, the death rate rose 120 percent or more in that time frame.
So what does this mean for somebody facing a heroin possession charge? For many people, emotions run high when heroin is discussed and you will likely face a bias from others when discussing your charge. Do not discuss your charge with anybody other than your lawyer and when you interact with law enforcement and the court concerning the charge, follow your lawyer’s instructions to avoid saying or doing something that will incriminate you.
Penalties for Heroin Possession in Florida
Heroin is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. Other examples of Schedule I substances include ecstasy and LSD.
To be convicted of heroin possession in Florida, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- The substance seized by law enforcement was heroin;
- You knew about the heroin; and
- You had control over the heroin.
If you are charged with possession of heroin with the intent to distribute it, the prosecution also must prove that you were planning to sell the heroin.
Heroin possession is both a state and federal crime. In Florida, possession of less than 10 grams of heroin is a third degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, five years in prison, five years of probation, and a driver’s license suspension for up to two years. Possession of more than 10 grams of heroin is a first degree felony, for which a convicted defendant can face up to 30 years in prison, $10,000 in fines, and a driver’s license suspension for up to two years.
At the federal level, a first time heroin possession conviction can land a convicted defendant in jail for up to one year and saddle him or her with a $1,000 fine. For a second offense, this increases to two years in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Work with an Experienced Miami Drug Charge Defense Attorney
If you are facing a heroin possession charge, you need to be proactive and start working on your defense with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC in Miami today to set up your initial consultation with us.