Sale or Delivery of Heroin in Florida

If charged with Sale or Delivery of Heroin, it is important to know the:

Definition of Sale or Delivery of Heroin

Under Florida Statute 893.13(1)(a)(1), the crime of Sale or Delivery of Heroin is committed when a person:

  1. Sells, manufactures, or delivers any amount of heroin; or
  2. Possesses any amount of heroin with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver the heroin.

Penalties for Sale or Delivery of Heroin

The crime of Sale or Delivery of Heroin is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 5 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Sale or Delivery of Heroin, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Driver's License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Sale or Delivery of Heroin will have their driver’s license or driving privilege revoked for one year by the Florida DHSMV.

Professional License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 893.11, a person convicted of Sale or Delivery of Heroin will be subject to the emergency suspension of any Professional License issued by the State of Florida that authorizes the practicing of a profession or trade.

Defenses to Sale or Delivery of Heroin

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, common defenses to the crime of Sale or Delivery of Heroin are:

Constructive Possession

If the heroin was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Sale or Delivery of Heroin: [1]

  1. Knowledge of the Heroin's presence; and
  2. Dominion and control over the heroin, which means more than the mere ability to reach out and touch the heroin. [2]

Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Sale or Delivery of Heroin.

Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend's car and police found heroin in the glove box, they would be unable to convict you of Sale or Delivery of Heroin unless they had some proof that you knew the heroin was present.
Scenario 2: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend takes a large bag of heroin and places it at his feet. The police then stop you, see your friend's bag, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Sale or Delivery of Heroin because even though you knew the heroin was present, your friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over the bag.

Illegal Search and Seizure

More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.

Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.

Lack of Knowledge

It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Sale or Delivery of Heroin if you can prove that you did not know the substance in your possession was heroin. Because knowledge is an affirmative defense, you would be required to testify to a lack of knowledge of the substance's illegal nature. [3]

Personal Use

It is a defense to the crime of Sale or Delivery of Heroin that the heroin was possessed for personal use. [4]

In such cases, the State would have to present evidence that is inconsistent with personal possession; such as an abnormal quantity of drugs, scales, bundled money, ledgers, or distribution paraphernalia.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged with the crime of Sale or Delivery of Heroin in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. GG v. State, 84 So. 3d 1162 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012)
  2. Smith v. State, 123 So. 3d 656, 658 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)
  3. Florida Statute 893.101
  4. Glenn v. State, 824 So. 2d 1046 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002)