Facing criminal allegations of drug dealing is a dangerous situation for the accused, especially when a person is accused of dealing opioids. Opioids, such as opium, morphine, heroin, oxycodone, OxyContin, codeine, and Vicodin, are incredibly addictive drugs that could ruin a person’s life. Unlike other drugs of abuse, opioid sellers are often opioid users. In other words, many, but not all, people who deal with opioids also have an opioid addiction and “sell to feed their habit.”
Florida law does not differentiate between people struggling with addiction and those who distribute opioids for other reasons. If you are facing charges relating to opioid dealing in Florida, you need expert legal advice from defense attorneys who understand the complexities of Florida statutory and procedural law.
Musca Law’s opioid defense attorneys fight for the rights of all of their clients. Any person who faces the might of Florida’s crimping justice system needs expert legal help. Aggressive, knowledgeable, and resourceful drug dealing defense attorneys are available 24/7 at 1-888-484-5057 to explain your rights and counsel you on creating the strongest defense possible.
The opioid dealing defense lawyers with Musca Law not only fully understand the complexities of Florida law, but also empathize with the human aspect of Florida’s opioid crisis. The human cost of the opioid crisis is incalculable. That is why Musca Law’s opioid dealing defense attorneys fight exhaustively to get their clients into court-approved rehabilitation facilities as part of probation rather than simply locking them up. Incarceration does nothing to combat the problem when the convicted offender is eventually released.
Penalties for Opioid Drug Dealing Offenses in Florida
A person charged with unlawful dealing of opioids faces strict penalties that could result in long periods of incarceration, coupled with secondary consequences like the loss of driver’s license, immigration consequences, property seizure, loss of professional licenses, and inability to possess a firearm.
Florida Statutes §893.13 penalizes drug dealing as a felony, generally. More specifically, selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to sell, distribute, or manufacture any opioid is a second-degree felony. Accordingly, the person convicted of these offenses faces up to fifteen years incarcerated in the Florida State prison, along with a fine of not more than $10,000.00. Narcotics that fall under the general term of opioids include all forms of opium, heroin, methadone, morphine, fentanyl, and its various forms, codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.
The prosecution could seek enhanced penalties that include minimum-mandatory sentences for the distribution of opioids in prohibited areas. Areas prohibited by statute include 1,000 feet around a school, except between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m., child care facility, a public park, community center, public housing, college, university, church, or other place designated for worship. Distributing opioids in a school zone is a three-year minimum-mandatory prison sentence; otherwise, the maximum sentence is thirty years in prison for a first-degree felony.
Dealing drugs to minors and using minors to deal drugs are also felony offenses. The potential punishment for using a minor in opioid dealing is a 30-year prison sentence for a first-degree felony. An individual can also be charged with a first-degree felony for employing a child as a lookout or help a drug dealer avoid detection. Unlike other components of §893.13, a person convicted of employing a child in drug dealing cannot receive a suspended sentence or split sentence.
Possession of opioids without a prescription or other lawful exception is a third-degree felony. The maximum incarcerated sentence for a third-degree felony in Florida is five years committed to the state’s prison and a fine of no more than $5,000.00. An offender convicted of this charge does not fare a minimum-mandatory prison term and could receive probation instead of incarceration.
Any violation of §893.13 that results in an injury to a first responder, including police, fire, paramedic, or emergency medical technician, public utility worker, or federal agent, could be prosecuted as a third-degree felony if the person was injured in the course of their duties. However, if the person suffered serious bodily injury or died as a result of a violation of this section, then the state could prosecute the charge as a second-degree felony.
Defending Against Opioid Drug Dealing Charges in Florida
Drug dealing offenses arise in a variety of ways. Drug dealing charges could arise after the police execute a search warrant, stop and search a person on the street, stop and search a car, or police witnessed what they believed to be a hand-to-hand drug sale. Usually, charging a person with selling or possession with the intent to sell means that the amount of drugs allegedly possessed by the accused does not meet the minimum trafficking requirements for weight.
No matter how the charges arise, there is always a defense that could counter the allegations. Savvy drug dealing defense lawyers understand how to fight the charges at the pre-trial stages and trial as well.
Fighting the charges before trial involves filing a motion to suppress. A motion to suppress is a criminal pleading that puts the government and court on notice that the accused alleges that the police violated his or her constitutional rights. A judge will hold a hearing on the motion to suppress and then decide if the police violated the defendant’s rights to be free from illegal searches and seizures grand by the U.S. Constitution in addition to the Florida State Constitution.
The type of motion to suppress that must be filed will depend on the police actions and how the charges arose. For example, the accused could argue that the police did not have probable cause to search a residence if a search warrant authorized police entry. As another example, the accused could argue that the police violated constitutional rights by patting down him or her without any cause to do so. The judge must suppress all evidence seized as a consequence of an unlawful seizure. The net result is that the state has no evidence to proceed if a motion to suppress is allowed, and the case will be dismissed.
Trial defenses are similar to other drug cases. Contesting the type of substance is appropriate in the right case. However, arguing that the accused did not have possession of the opioids at all or arguing that the drugs were for personal use are strong defenses. The accused must be acquitted if the state cannot prove possession. Conversely, the jury could find that the accused was guilty of “simple possession” rather than possession with intent to distribute if the government does not prove that element of the crime.
Sophisticated Defense of Opioid Dealing Charges
Relying on Musca Law’s experience, knowledge, and reputation for success could be the determining factor for you if you are facing charges relating to opioid distribution. Call Musca Law now at 888-484-5057 to discuss how we could help you avoid the harsh consequences associated with dealing opioids in Florida.