This month, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 477 imposing new minimum mandatory prison sentences on individuals convicted of trafficking in Fentanyl or Carfentanil. See: Drug Trafficking in Florida... A Crime You Thought You Understood. Unsurprisingly, this legislation was passed after the governor had designated Florida's opioid epidemic as a statewide emergency earlier this year.
As the image depicts, Fentanyl and Carfentanil are highly concentrated drugs that require a substantially less quantity to induce similar effects as herion.
Effective October 1, 2017, Florida Judges will be required to impose the following minimum mandatory prison sentences for those individuals found in possession of Fentanyl and Carfentanil:
4 Grams but less than 14 grams – 3 years mandatory prison sentence
14 grams but less than 28 grams– 15 years mandatory prison sentence
28 grams or more – 25 years mandatory prison sentence
Our office has written several past articles and posted website pages on related topics:
Record Pinellas Oxycodone Prosecutions – How Did We Get Here?
Generic Oxycontin Likely to Fuel the Pain Pill Addiction Epidemic
Heroin Now Used As Pain Pill Substitute
Pinellas County Prescription Fraud
Doctor Shopping the St. Petersburg / Clearwater Area
Outstanding Pinellas Warrants for Drug Offenses
Florida Legislature Changes Trafficking in Hydrocodone and Oxycontin Laws
Focusing on the Pill Problem in Pinellas
Oxycodone...A Scavenger Hunt in Pinellas for Those with Addiction
Prescription Drugs - An Open Invitation into Pinellas County's Criminal Justice Center
Understand the Concept of "Mixture" In Drug Trafficking Offenses
Florida drug trafficking laws are written in such a way that if an individual is simply in possession of a threshold amount of a controlled substance it is considered a "trafficking" offense, regardless if he has never participated in the manufacturing or selling of the drug. Further, the total weight calculation is not based solely on the amount of Fentanyl or Carfentanil that the individual may possess. Rather, Florida law considers the entire "mixture" of substances contained in the pills. This means that if 1 gram of Fentanyl is cut with 3 grams of cocaine or Aspirin, the accused would be still subject to the 3 year minimum mandatory prison sentence under the Law.
Possession of Fentanyl vs. Trafficking of Fentanyl
The criminal defense attorneys in our office can encourage the Pinellas prosecutor to amend your charge to the lesser offense of "simple possession." This might be an effective strategy when the following factors are present:
- When the Fentanyl was seized by law enforcement, it was not found to be individually packaged, manifesting an intent to sell;
- You were not in possession of a significant amount of cash or a firearm suggesting your involvement in the distribution of prescription medication;
- At the time of your arrest you never told the police that you intended to sell the pills found in your possession or that you had sold controlled substances in the past;
- Your possession was motivated strictly by your need to feed your addiction;
- We can prove that you have a legitimate addiction and that the best interest of justice point to the superiority of substance abuse counseling over imprisonment;
- No scales, baggies or cutting agents were discovered as evidence in your case;
- Your prescription medication addiction may have originated by an initial, lawful prescription provided to you by your physician.
We Can Help With Your Controlled Substance Charge
The lawyers in our office are former state prosecutors and are highly experienced in defending drug trafficking charges. You should contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation. At this meeting we can discuss the possibility of challenging the admissibility of the State's evidence. Let us examine an entrapment defense and consider the role that a confidential informant may have played in your arrest. We can discuss the facts of your case and ascertain whether your charge may be a good candidate for an amendment to a "simple possession offense." We can also determine your eligibility to participate in the Pinellas County Drug Court.
What to do if you are arrested for Trafficking in Fentanyl
If you are arrested for the offense of trafficking in Fentanyl in the Clearwater or St. Petersburg area you should contact an experienced Pinellas County criminal defense attorney. We are former state prosecutors that can help.
Contact our office to discuss your options
- DEA Issues Carfentanil Warning to Police and Public
- DEA Warnings to First Responders about Fentanyl and Carfentanil
- How we Defend Felony Drug Charges
- Prescription Fraud
- Drug Trafficking
- Doctor Shopping
- How Long Will a Drug Test Be Positive?
- A Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Database