Opiate Drug Crimes
To combat opioid abuse in Florida, the legislature has enacted tough penalties for opiate drug crimes. These offenses are prosecuted aggressively by state attorneys, who may seek harsh sentences against defendants. If you or someone you love has been arrested for opiate drug crimes, a skilled defense lawyer can help you fight against a conviction. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville opiate crime lawyers have significant experience representing people charged with drug possession, prescription drug offenses, and many other felony offenses. We are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and pursuing a fair outcome in opiate drug crime cases.Overview of Florida Opiate Drug Crimes
Opiates and opioids are a group of controlled substances that include illegal drugs, such as heroin, as well as prescribed medications. In fact, many opiate and opioid drugs are effective pain-relievers commonly used by physicians to treat and manage physical pain in their patients. Morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine are a few opiate drugs that may be lawfully prescribed or administered by doctors. Due to their addictive properties and high potential for abuse, opiates and opioids are strictly regulated by state and federal laws. Most opiates are classified as Schedule II controlled substances under Florida law. A notable exception is heroin, which is a Schedule I narcotic. Opiate-related crimes are some of the most the harshly penalized drug offenses in Florida, as they are generally felony charges, as summarized below.Possession of Opiate Drugs
In Florida, it is a crime to possess any controlled substance, including opiate and opioid drugs, unless it was lawfully obtained from a health care practitioner, or pursuant to a valid prescription, or otherwise authorized under the law. In addition, there are multiple felony offenses related to opiate possession. Falsifying an opiate prescription, withholding information from a medical practitioner to obtain an opiate or opiate prescription, or otherwise acquiring possession of an opiate by misrepresentation, fraud, or forgery are third degree felony crimes in Florida. An opiate crime attorney in Jacksonville can defend you against any of these charges.
Although unlawfully possessing opiates in any amount is illegal, the quantity of drugs may determine the severity of the charge in some situations. For example, simple possession of a relatively small amount of opiates for personal use, such as a few vicodin pills, is generally a third degree felony offense, while possession of more than ten grams of heroin or fentanyl is a first degree felony that carries significantly more severe penalties.Dealing Opiate Drugs
Dealing in opiates may lead to multiple felony charges with the possibility of a harsh sentence if convicted. Selling, manufacturing, or delivering most types of opiate drugs, in any amount, is a second-degree felony offense. Likewise, possession of opiates with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver them is a second-degree felony. It is also a second-degree felony crime to purchase, or possess with the intent to purchase, most kinds of opiates. There are a number of factors that may elevate an opiate dealing charge to a first-degree felony, particularly when minors are involved in the offense. A Jacksonville opiate crime attorney can advise you on whether you may face an elevated charge.
If the defendant is accused of dealing a large quantity of opiates, the prosecution may file trafficking charges. Opiate trafficking is a first-degree felony offense, and a conviction is subject to mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. A lawyer can be crucial to defend against these and other felony charges for opiate drug crimes.Retain an Attorney in the Jacksonville Area
Defending against an opiate drug charge with assistance from a qualified lawyer may help to avoid conviction or unnecessary penalties. At Ellis and Bryant, our attorneys can provide guidance and legal representation after an arrest. We advise defendants facing DUIs, drug charges, and other criminal law matters in Clay and Duval Counties, including Jacksonville, Orange Park, and Middleburg. Request a free consultation today by calling the offices Ellis and Bryant at (904) 551-4120 or use our online form to contact us online if you have been arrested or charged and need an opiate crime lawyer in the Jacksonville area.