Kevin Foley, a 21-year-old who has been hooked on heroin for nearly two years, stood before a judge in Broward County’s drug court and pled with the Judge for counseling and what he hoped was his next, clean chapter. Before that, he was popping oxycodone and other prescription pills snapped up as Florida become a bustling marketplace of illegal pill mills. He turned to heroin after his drug of choice became too expensive. “I was chasing the next high,’’ says Foley, who landed in drug court after a heroin possession arrest in December. “I wanted to try it all.”
Heroin is inching back in Florida, the unintended consequence of the state’s epic war on prescription pills. Now, with Florida officials successfully slowing the supplies, shutting down the pill mills that masqueraded as pain centers and arresting thousands of addicts and even doctors, heroin has become a popular substitute.
Possession of heroin in Florida is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison and a fine up to $5000.00. Possession of more than 10 grams of heroin is a first degree felony with a maximum penalty of incarceration in state prison for up to 30 years as well as a fine of as much as $10,000. In addition to a long jail sentence and fines, you will also have your driver’s license suspended for two years if you are found guilty of heroin possession.
One of the biggest violations the police participate in when attempting to prosecute these cases is violation of one’s constitutional rights. If the police violated the Fourth Amendment by searching you or your home without a warrant or proper cause, or attempted to entrap one in a sale of these drugs, then the evidence collected can be kept out of court. Without evidence, the prosecutor cannot meet the burden of proving you committed the crime.
Many times in cases like this, the person charged with being a major player in the scheme is a peripheral “co-conspirator,” or a person who was most likely an addict themselves simply doing what their bosses told them to do without knowledge that their part in the sale was part of a bigger money-making scheme. Prosecutors may overlook those facts, casting as wide a net as possible. In doing so, weak cases may be pushed as part of the public relations campaign put on for the media. Following coverage of raids and arrests, the media is nowhere to be found when defense attorneys are successful in having the charges reduced or dismissed because of a lack of evidence or other weakness in the state’s case.
Many times, the accused is merely addicted themselves, crying for help. The DEA may be trying to clean these offenders up similar to what other drug sting operations are doing throughout the state. However, new drugs will take over and subsequent charges will be brought. But, that does not mean that one’s hope for a treatment program is out of reach. There are options other than a jail cell. An experienced Jacksonville drug crimes attorney can provide those options.
One should not risk going to jail for a long period of time when an experienced attorney can make sure that their best defense is brought forth and their rights fought are fought for. The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: As Florida shuts down pill mills, heroin fills void AUDRA D.S. BURCH, Miami Herald