A derivative of the opium poppy plant, heroin in one form or another has been around for centuries. Although morphine – also a derivative of the opium poppy plant – can be legally prescribed by a physician for pain, heroin is illegal under both state and federal law. In fact, both the State of Florida and the U.S. government classify heroin as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. A conviction for possession of even a small amount of heroin can lead to serious consequences.
At Haas Law, we have the skills and experience necessary to successfully defend clients charged with possession of heroin. If you have been charged with heroin possession in state or federal court, we are dedicated to aggressively defending you and your rights.
Penalties for a Possession of Heroin Conviction
In the State of Florida, possession of up to four grams of heroin is a third-degree felony. The potential penalties for conviction of a third-degree felony in Florida include up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. You could also lose your driving privileges for up to a year. Possession of 10 grams or more of heroin is a first-degree felony in Florida. Moreover, possession of four grams or more of heroin can be charged as trafficking in Florida, also a first-degree felony. Conviction of a first-degree felony carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
At the federal level, possession of any controlled substance (including heroin) carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000, or both. Second convictions are punishable by not less than 15 days but not more than two years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500. Subsequent convictions are punishable by not less than 90 days but not more than three years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000.
Defending a Heroin Possession Prosecution
The defense strategy in your case will depend on the unique set of facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest. One common defense strategy, however, is to attack a constructive possession claim. Under the law, “possession” can be actual or constructive. Actual possession of a controlled substance occurs when a defendant was found with the substance on his/her person. For example, if a law enforcement officer found a baggie with heroin in it inside the pocket of your pants, that would be actual possession. Often, however, the prosecuting attorney relies on a constructive possession argument. Constructive possession occurs when a defendant was aware of the contraband and the contraband was in a place over which the defendant had the intent and ability to control. A baggie of heroin found underneath the seat in a vehicle in which you were an occupant, for instance, could lead to a possession of heroin charge based on a constructive possession argument. A skilled defense attorney will often craft a defense around the “possession” element when it is based on a claim of constructive possession because it can be difficult for the prosecution to prove that a defendant was aware of the heroin and had the ability and intent to control it.
Get Help from Experienced Heroin Possession Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with heroin possession in state or federal court, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced heroin possession defense attorney immediately to discuss your defense and make sure your rights are protected.
At Haas Law, our heroin possession defense attorneys have the experience and dedication necessary to defend you in state or federal court. We are committed to aggressively defending you and your rights.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. Because we understand that time is of the essence when law enforcement authorities are investigating you, our calls are answered 24 hours a day, allowing you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.