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Orlando Criminal Defense Blog

3 dangers of using and abusing heroin

There are many reasons that people use drugs, and two of the most common culprits are the opioid epidemic and addiction. Both of these factors have contributed to a resurgence in the popularity of heroin use—but this is one of the most dangerous drugs. 

Why exactly is heroin so dangerous, and what can happen from using it? There are a few answers to these questions, but ultimately, the following three are the primary reasons you should be concerned if you or somebody you love has become involved in heroin. Do not underestimate the destructive power of this or any other drug.

3 types of drug crimes and their meanings

Drugs are known to be a danger to public health, but unfortunately, there are still countless people manufacturing, selling and using narcotics. Whether you were caught with an ounce of marijuana or accused of involvement with a drug ring, you should know what kinds of charges might result and how to handle the situation. A conviction will disrupt your entire life, and you need to understand your case.

The following are three types of drug-related crimes and what you should know if you have been charged with them. Consulting with a legal representative is wise if you are facing criminal charges of any kind, but it is particularly prudent in cases involving drugs where the stakes may be high.

What happens if I get caught with heroin in Florida?

Heroin possession in Florida is a crime that law enforcement takes very seriously. However, the law is complex, and no two heroin possession charges are necessarily alike. 

Charges vary depending on how much heroin police found you in possession of, as well as other circumstances. It is important to understand the nature of your specific charges so you can be better informed as you move through the criminal justice system. You should consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney who works with heroin possession charges so you can build a strategic defense against your charges.

Will a drug charge go to state or federal court?

There are many differences between the outcome of a federal drug case and a state one. Perhaps the most significant is that a federal conviction will lead to a longer prison sentence. For example, a conviction in federal court for heroin possession is at least five years. 

You are much better off going to state court for a drug crime than a federal court. A conviction in federal court guarantees the crime will go down as a felony on your record. Under certain circumstances in state court, such as possession of a few grams of marijuana, it is possible you will only receive a misdemeanor, especially for a first offense. Certain conditions must be present for a drug crime in Florida to go to federal court.

Understanding the strict penalties for marijuana in Florida

It may seem to you that every couple of months, another state has legalized marijuana for recreational use, or decriminalized cannabis at the very least. With Florida being such an entertainment-centered state, you might think the law would be lenient toward those who favor marijuana. However, this is not the case. In fact, marijuana penalties in Florida are among the harshest in the nation.

Many states that have not yet legalized marijuana have decriminalized the use of small amounts, treating pot smoking as an infraction rather than a crime. Not so in Florida, where if you are caught with marijuana, you may face the following consequences:

  • A misdemeanor charge for possessing 20 grams or less of cannabis, including a fine and up to one year in jail
  • A felony charge for possessing between 20 grams and 25 pounds of marijuana, including a five years in prison and a $5,000 fine
  • Suspension of driver's license

Heroin charges and your rights in Orlando

As a part of the growing opioid crisis in the United States, arrests and charges for heroin possession are increasing as law enforcement steps up efforts to combat the problem. This means if you are a heroin user, your chances of being caught and charged with possession are likely much greater now than in the past.

If the police have arrested you for heroin possession in Orlando, you should know that you do have rights. A criminal defense attorney, especially one with former experience on the other side as a prosecutor, can help you understand your options. Here is some basic information about heroin charges in Florida and your rights.

BAC less than .08? It may still be a DUI

Police issue DUIs to keep drivers off the road who pose dangers to others and themselves. In many cases, the driver is clearly over the legal limit. Look at a recent situation in Florida where police arrested a man who claimed to have drunk too much Chardonnay in Cape Coral

However, other cases are not so cut-and-dry. There have been instances where a person took a breathalyzer test, blew under the .08 percent limit and still faced arrest. It is usually up to the police officer's discretion, but drivers may face arrest for DUI even if they only have blood alcohol concentration less than .08 percent. There are some justifiable instances, such as a person under the age of 21 driving with any trace of alcohol in his or her system. Other cases are more ambiguous. 

3 drug trafficking defense options

If you are facing drug trafficking charges in the Orlando area, you may think your situation is going to mirror those that you have seen in the movies and on television. You might not realize the seriousness of the charges you have against you. A conviction could carry a minimum of three years behind bars and more.

Now, having criminal charges pending does not have to be the end of the world. You may want to take some time to review a few drug trafficking defense options that, depending on the circumstances, might be able to help improve your situation.

Differences between drug trafficking and smuggling

The United States currently experiences an extreme drug epidemic. Reports indicate that people traffic millions of dollars' worth of drugs into the country every year, and Florida is a major hotspot for where these drugs enter. 

Most drug-related charges carry felony penalties. They can result in several years in prison at the bare minimum to extreme fines. The exact penalties can depend on the precise charge a person faces. That is why it is incredibly important for people to understand the nuances of law, such as the differences between drug trafficking and drug smuggling, which are typically used synonymously. 

Defining drug possession with intent to sell

Over 1 million people face arrest every year as a result of a drug law violation. In 2016, the FBI arrested over 1.5 million people for an array of charges, including possession of a controlled substance and sale or manufacturing of a drug. However, there is another charge many Floridians have faced: possession with intent to sell

This charge often carries much harsher penalties than simple possession. This charge tends to confuse defendants because it seems difficult to prove "intent" was present. This charge can send a person to jail for decades, so it is vital to get a lawyer immediately to start building a case. People can face this charge regardless of the type of drug in possession, whether it was marijuana, cocaine or heroin.

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