For decades now, a war has been declared on drugs in the United States. This aggressive stance has led to the creation of sophisticated task forces, massive spending on sting operations and enforcement efforts, as well as some of the harshest standards for criminal penalties.
However, in recent years, this so-called war has had an increasing number of vocal critics arguing that the current atmosphere surrounding drug crime enforcement is ineffective. If anything, critics argue, it is actually contributing to a larger epidemic of racial bias and outrageous incarceration levels. Whether you agree with these critics or not, the fact remains that people all across Florida continue to face extremely harsh penalties for drug offenses.
This is especially true when we look at offenses involving serious drugs like heroin. Unlike substances like marijuana which has recently seen a surge in legal acceptance in states across the U.S., heroin is generally considered to be dangerous and understandably illegal.
Because of this, possession, sale and trafficking offenses involving heroin are all considered felonies in Florida. If you are found with any amount of heroin, you could be facing huge fines and jail time if you are convicted.
However, it is important to keep in mind that harsh criminal penalties are not unavoidable in every case. There are situations where people charged with possession of heroin can work with courts to track down higher-level offenders in exchange for a lesser sentence. First-time offenders may qualify for drug treatment programs in lieu of jail time in an effort to help them deal with addiction and avoid additional offenses. There are also a number of effective defenses to drug allegations.
Knowing these options exist is one thing; pursuing them in court is another. It can be overwhelming and intimidating for someone facing drug charges to handle the legal complexities of these cases alone. Working with an attorney familiar with state and federal drug crimes can be a wise decision if you or your loved one is in this difficult situation.