Charges involving heroin can range in classification from a third-degree felony to a first-degree capital felony. The type of charge you can receive depends on the quantity of the substance in your possession, whether you were involved in distribution or trafficking of the drug (and where this took place), and additional factors. Regardless of the drug charge being leveled against you, you will need a strong and experienced Sarasota heroin attorney to defend you against such offenses.

If you have been arrested on a heroin possession or distribution charge, it’s important to get help from an experienced heroin possession defense lawyer. Attorney Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is the strong advocate you need at this difficult time.

To set up a free consultation with a Sarasota drug lawyer, call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. today at (941) 363-7900.

Heroin Classification in Florida

State and federal laws categorize controlled substances into five general categories, often referred to as Schedules. The drugs in each schedule are categorized based on particular substances’ potential for abuse, currently accepted medical uses, and the likelihood of promoting dependency. The most dangerous substances are categorized as Schedule I, and the least dangerous are categorized as Schedule V.

Florida Statute § 893.03 categorizes heroin as a Schedule I substance. This classification designates heroin as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse and dependency. Due to this classification, any charge involving heroin can leave you with some of the most severe consequences imposed by Florida law if you are convicted. You will need an experienced Sarasota heroin attorney to mount a vigorous defense on your behalf against such charges.

Penalties for Heroin Crimes

There are a number of heroin-related crimes you can find yourself accused of in the state of Florida. The penalties for these offenses include:

Heroin Possession Penalties

If law enforcement finds you in possession of fewer than four grams of heroin, you may be charged with a third-degree felony that carries with it up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

Heroin Distribution Penalties

While possession penalties for heroin are strict, if law enforcement determines that you intended to distribute the substance, you will face considerably harsher consequences. Something as simple as possessing a large quantity of heroin and having it divided into smaller quantities can be proof enough that you intended to distribute it.

The consequences for distributing heroin or intending to distribute are severe. If you are charged with such an offense, you will need help from an Sarasota heroin attorney. The amount of the substance you possess will determine the charges you face. If you are found to be in possession of less than four grams of heroin and law enforcement believes you intended to sell it, you can be charged with a second-degree felony. The statutory consequences for this offense are up to 15 years in prison, and fines reaching $10,000.

If law enforcement finds you distributing heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, public housing facility, child care facility, park, publicly owned recreational facility, or community center, you will likely face more severe charges.

Heroin Trafficking Penalties

The prison sentences and fines outlined in Florida law are severe for the crime of heroin trafficking. This offense involves knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, or delivering the substance. According to Florida Statute § 893.135(1)(c), if you are knowingly in actual or constructive possession of more than four grams of heroin, you can be charged with a first-degree felony referred to as “trafficking in illegal drugs.” If you are accused of these severe charges, it is highly beneficial to have a Sarasota heroin attorney working on your behalf to mount a vigorous defense.

The penalties for this trafficking offense increase as the amount of heroin involved increases. They are as follows:

Four to 13 Grams

  • Mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence
  • $50,000 fine

14 to 27 Grams

  • Mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence
  • $100,000 fine

28 Grams to 30 Kilograms

  • Mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence
  • $500,000 fine

In addition to the severe statutory penalties mentioned above, a conviction for a heroin charge can leave you with long-term consequences that affect your ability to obtain employment, rental housing, and retain any state licenses you may possess.

Possible Defenses Against Heroin Charges

An experienced attorney can review your case and the circumstances surrounding it to discover possible defenses to combat the heroin charges leveled against you. Some of the defenses that may be useful in your case include:

  • Chain of Custody Issues – If officers temporarily misplaced or lost evidence, it may call into question the reliability of some of their evidence.
  • Coercion or Duress – If someone forced you to handle the drugs through a threat of injury or death, your charges may be subject to reduction or dismissal.
  • Flaws in Obtaining the Evidence – If an unlawful search was conducted, or lack of probable cause exists in your case, your attorney may be able to have evidence removed.

Legal Representation from an Experienced Sarasota Heroin Attorney

If you are facing charges for heroin possession, distribution, or trafficking in the state of Florida, you need a strong legal defense. Attorney Erika Valcarcel knows what it takes to fight these charges. She is here to fight for you, your rights, and your freedom.

Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 to arrange a free case consultation.