Heroin is an opioid pain killer that can be snorted, smoked, ingested orally, or most commonly injected into the bloodstream. Florida classifies it as a schedule 1 drug because it is highly addictive, extremely dangerous and has no FDA-approved medical use.
Possession of heroin in Florida
Being in possession of heroin in Florida means having physical control of the drug, whether it’s on your person or in your home. Typically, the amount of drug found on a person or their property should not exceed four grams to be convicted of possession.
To be charged, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused knew the drug was heroin and that they intended to use it. If the amount of heroin is four grams or less, the maximum penalty a person can receive is five years in prison and a $5000 fine. Moreover, if the drug was found on your vehicle, your driver’s license could be suspended for a year.
Trafficking heroin in Florida
If law enforcement catches you with more than four grams of heroin, they would assume you’re trafficking the drug, which is a first-degree felony. Even if you didn’t mean to sell or distribute, that assumption might hold unless you or your criminal defense attorney argues otherwise.
If you’re caught with between four and 14 grams of heroin, you risk facing a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. If caught with between 14 and 28 grams of heroin, you face a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years and a $100,000 fine. 28 to 30 could lead to 25 years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $500,000. Anything above 30 grams could result in life in prison.
Consequences don’t end there. If the defendant serves their time and is released, they will have a felony on their record, which could limit their ability to get jobs, housing or loans. They also may lose their right to vote or own firearms. Therefore, if you or your loved one is charged, it’s important to critically look into the factors of the case to find defenses that may help you avoid these long-term consequences.