While many of traditional “street” drugs are still sold and used in the United States, new synthetic drugs are becoming increasingly popular. Synthetic stimulants, known as “bath salts,” are among the most common of these new designer drugs. Possessing, manufacturing, or distributing bath salts is illegal, and a conviction for a related charge can result in a lengthy prison sentence.
At Haas Law, we have the knowledge and experience needed to successfully defend you if you have been charged with a state or federal criminal offense related to the possession, manufacturing, or distribution of bath salts. Attorney David Haas has twenty years of legal experience, including close to ten years as a federal prosecutor, that he will put to work to protect your rights and defend you against bath salts drug charges.
What Are Bath Salts?
When the average person hears the term “bath salts,” they assume it refers to actual bath salts poured into a bubble bath to soften the skin. On the street, however, “bath salts” refers to synthetic cathinones. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cathinone is a substance found in the khat plant, a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia. Synthetic cathinone typically takes the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled as bath salts. Though the packaging is labeled as “not for human consumption,” users swallow, snort, smoke, or inject the “bath salts.”
Federal Bath Salt Drug Crimes
Both the federal government and most state governments have addressed the synthetic drug explosion by enacting new legislation making the manufacturing, distribution, or possession of these drugs illegal. At the federal level, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, part of the FDA’s Safety and Innovation Act of 2012, placed 26 types of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
This puts bath salts in the same category as heroin, meaning you may face the same potential penalties for a bath salt conviction as you would for a heroin conviction. Moreover, federal law allows many synthetic drugs to be treated as a listed controlled substance if they are chemically and/or pharmacologically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance. As such, slight variations in the chemical makeup of bath salts (and other designer drugs) do not create an easy defense in a bath salt prosecution.
Trafficking a Schedule I or II drug as a first offense carries a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison. A second offense or conviction for a larger amount of the substance could result in a sentence of up to life in prison. A conviction for an “analogue,” meaning the substance is not considered chemically and/or pharmacologically similar to a listed drug, carries a sentence of up to 20 years for a first offense.
Florida Bath Salt Drug Crimes
Controlled substance offenses are predominantly governed by Florida Statute 893.13. Like the federal government, Florida classifies most synthetic drugs, including bath salts, as Schedule I controlled substances.
The penalty for possession of less than three grams of bath salts is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000, if convicted. Possession of three or more grams of bath salts is a third-degree felony in Florida, carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $5,000. Selling, manufacturing, or delivering any amount of bath salts is a felony in Florida. If convicted, you could face a lengthy prison sentence, up to and including life imprisonment, if there are aggravating circumstances.
Common Defense Strategies in a Florida Bath Salts Prosecution
The strategies used by your defense attorney in a bath salt prosecution will be determined by various factors, including the court system involved (state or federal), the nature of the charges (possession, manufacturing, distributing) and the unique circumstances of your arrest. There are, however, some common defense strategies used in criminal cases involving bath salts, such as:
- Arguing that the substance is not illegal. Your defense attorney may have the substance analyzed by an expert. That analysis could show that the substance does not meet the definition of a synthetic drug or an analogue.
- Challenging a search and seizure. If evidence was seized without a valid warrant during a search, and the prosecution cannot prove that an exception to the warrant requirement applied, the evidence seized may be excluded.
- Questioning the credibility of an informant. If a confidential informant was used in the case, your attorney has a right to question the “credibility and reliability” of that informant.
Get Help from an Experienced Florida Bath Salts Drug Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a criminal offense involving bath salts by the state or federal government, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced defense attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are protected. The sooner an experienced drug charge defense attorney is involved and working on your defense, the better.
At Haas Law, we understand the ever-changing state and federal laws relating to synthetic drugs and know how to successfully navigate the state and federal justice systems. Moreover, we have the experience and skills needed to provide you with a successful defense, if you have been charged with a drug crime involving bath salts.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. We understand that time is of the essence when law enforcement authorities are investigating you or you have been charged with a criminal offense. Our calls are answered 24 hours a day so you can schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.