Carfentanil, also spelled carfentanyl, is a highly-potent synthetic opioid commonly used as a sedative for large animals. It is classified in the same group of opioids as fentanyl, heroin, and oxycodone. However, one of its greatest dangers is when it is mixed in with other powerful drugs such as heroin – something that has recently been taking place in several states such as West Virginia, Ohio, and Florida.
This combination creates a potent and deadly narcotic mixture for users. Facing drug charges related to carfentanil possession or trafficking can leave you in great legal jeopardy and require representation from an experienced Sarasota carfentanil drug charge attorney.
At Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., attorney Erika Valcarcel understands the daunting nature of drug charges, and how they can affect you and your loved ones. During this difficult time, you need a strong advocate who will fight for your freedom and protect your rights every step of the way.
The Deadly Power of Carfentanil
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl. It’s important to note that fentanyl by itself is 30 to 50 times more deadly than heroin. Additionally, carfentanil is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. Due to its potency, police officers and emergency health personnel take precautions to protect themselves from accidental ingestion of the substance when coming into contact with overdose victims.
In fact, use of the anti-overdose drug Narcan, even in large quantities, may not be effective to reverse the effects of carfentanil. Exposure to the substance can produce shallow breathing, clammy skin, dizziness, heart failure, and other issues.
An experienced Sarasota carfentanil drug charge attorney can explain how much devastation this drug can quickly inflict upon its victims, and what criminal charges you could face if you’re caught with the substance.
Carfentanil Drug Trafficking Charges
The drug trafficking laws in Florida are written in such a manner that if a person simply possesses a certain amount of a controlled substance it is automatically considered as a trafficking offense. This is true regardless of whether the person actually participated in the selling or manufacturing of the drug. You will need an experienced Sarasota Carfentanil drug charge attorney to combat the charges and penalties that accompany the new law.
Using carfentanil as an example, the weight of the drug is not calculated based exclusively on the amount of the substance you possess. Florida law calculates the weight based on the entire mixture of all substances contained in a pill. If two grams of carfentanil are cut with two grams of heroin or aspirin, the individual possessing this mixture would be subject to the three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for the four grams of illegal substances.
Penalties for Carfentanil Crimes in Florida
In June 2017, Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed House Bill 477 into law which imposes new mandatory penalties for individuals convicted of possessing or trafficking carfentanil or fentanyl. Under the law, the consequences for distributing carfentanil are more severe.
If you are caught possessing less than four grams of carfentanil, you face third-degree felony charges. Potential penalties for this offense are up to five years in prison, and $5,000 in fines.
If the amount of carfentanil in your possession is equal to four or more grams, the possession is upgraded to a trafficking offense.
Judges in Florida are required to hand down the following minimum mandatory prison sentences for individuals convicted of trafficking the following levels of carfentanil:
- Four to 13 grams – three years in prison, and $50,000 in fines
- 14 to 27 grams – 15 years in prison, and $100,000 in fines
- 28 or more grams – 25 years in prison, and $500,000 in fines
In addition to these statutory penalties, other potential collateral consequences stemming from a carfentanil possession or trafficking conviction include loss of potential job opportunities, difficulty obtaining rental housing, and loss of any professional licenses you possessed.
Defenses Against Carfentanil Charges
It takes an experienced carfentanil possession defense attorney to defend you against any form of drug charge you are facing. However, possible effective strategies may be used to encourage prosecutors to amend your trafficking charge to a lesser offense. These strategies include:
- You possessed the drug solely to satisfy your need to fulfill your addiction
- You were not also in possession of a large amount of cash or a firearm that would suggest your involvement in distribution
- There were no baggies, scales, or cutting paraphernalia recovered as evidence in your case
- The carfentanil seized by law enforcement was not individually packaged, which would indicate intent to sell
- It can be shown that your prescription medication addiction originated from a lawful prescription
Contact an Experienced Sarasota Carfentanil Drug Charge Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime involving synthetic narcotics or any other type of illegal substance, the consequences can be severe. That’s why it is vital to have a dedicated advocate on your side make sure you receive the best defense possible to minimize or eliminate these consequences. Attorney Erika Valcarcel will fight hard on your behalf to achieve this result.