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Over the last several years law enforcement has been cracking down on the illegal market for prescription narcotics such as oxycodone, and as a result these drugs became harder to find and more expensive. Numerous pill mills were shut down across Florida, though the market for these drugs has far from dried up. An unintended result of law enforcement focus on prescription narcotics has been an increased amount of heroin and fentanyl becoming available. Heroin and fentanyl overdoses have become an epidemic, and in response law enforcement has taken a harder stance on both these drugs. This includes prosecutors and judges who seek to punish users as well as dealers. If you have been charged with possession of heroin or fentanyl contact South Florida criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime at (954) 543-0305. Benjamin is available 7 days a week to discuss your case, and has flexible meeting hours at his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices. He also is willing to travel anywhere from Miami to Port St. Lucie to meet to discuss your case.
Under Florida law possession of heroin is classified as a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. Heroin is classified as a schedule 1 controlled substance, and the government has concluded it has no medical value and is unsafe. As a result, there is an enhanced first-degree felony charge for possession of over 10 grams of heroin. In cases like this the defendant would also typically face possession with intent to distribute and/or trafficking charges. Fentanyl is a schedule 2 controlled substance (except for certain rare compounds) so there is no enhanced penalty for possession over ten grams, though the same caveat regarding possession with intent and trafficking applies. There is no minimum weight requirement for a possession charge, which means the police can arrest a person on suspicion of possessing even a trace amount of heroin or fentanyl. Anyone who is arrested with a gel cap, syringe or a spoon could be charged and prosecuted for a felony. Do not risk your future by going to court and expecting the charges to be dropped just because there was a small amount. Most counties will continue to prosecute individuals for trace amounts of narcotics. Benjamin Herbst has earned numerous dismissals in drug possession cases, and has won jury trials where his clients were charged with trace and large amounts of narcotics. He does not back down from the state and will never hesitate to take a case before a jury if a dismissal or other satisfactory resolution cannot be worked out. Benjamin is an experienced South Florida heroin possession lawyer who has also filed numerous successful motions to suppress illegal stops and searches. He has also successfully defended numerous clients charged with the possession and distribution of fentanyl, and knows how seriously this substance is taken.
Many defendants in fentanyl cases were unaware that they purchased or possessed fentanyl, as it is usually cut with low quality heroin or other substances to safe costs. Knowledge is not an element that the state has to prove though, so a person cannot claim they were unaware of the contents of the contraband. There are numerous valid legal defenses to possession of fentanyl cases, including the results and method of testing as well as the lack of probable cause for the search or detention. In many cases the state is unable to establish a strong link between the defendant and the drugs. If heroin or fentanyl is found in a home or car with multiple occupants the police will likely charge all people in close proximity, but a good criminal defense lawyer will not let charges like this stand. Benjamin is a South Florida drug possession lawyer who is never satisfied until all applicable defenses are explored, and will examine every angle of the case to look for a weakness. He provides all clients with his cell phone number and is always available to answer questions or discuss the case on nights and weekends.