Florida Gov. Rick Scott took aim at opioid trafficking by imposing harsher penalties for those convicted of dealing and even using pills, heroin, fentanyl and more. The new law sets mandatory minimum sentences for convicted sellers which forces judge to lock away offenders for extended periods of time with little discretion.

While most of the legal world recognizes that drug laws simply do not work in cutting down the use of drugs, the state of Florida has indicated that it feels the route to accomplishing this is stiffer penalties.

This is interesting considering Florida used to be, and may still be, the center of the opioid crisis. For years pain clinics and other doctors have been over prescribing opioids leading to addictions.

People who have become addicted risk their careers, their lives, and their futures to obtain their addictive drug. Many crimes are affected by the opioid crisis including false prescriptions, robbery, theft, as well as sale of drugs and possession. For most opioids a minimum of 4 g and the mere possession of that will result in a three-year prison sentence minimum. 14 g of fentanyl would result in a 15 year minimum sentence and 28 g would be a 25 year minimum sentence.

Although the declaration by the Florida governor that this is a public health emergency sounds positive, it may still result in the incarceration of persons who have become addicted through no fault of their own. Often someone who has become addicted needs more of the drug and their prescriptions will not suffice. As a result, they turn to selling the drug on the street to obtain money to purchase the same or similar drugs to support their habit. These people, many of whom previously had no criminal background or very little criminal background then make themselves major criminal targets. Meanwhile, the issue of overdoses and the destruction of families suffers.

Here at Sandefer Law Firm we can help you through the legal processes which may ensnare you or a loved one. Under Florida law a person in mere possession may be subject to minimum mandatory prison sentences. Only the office of the state attorney can reduce the minimum sentences. If you qualify, we can help you obtain this reduction or even a reduction in the charge. We are also able to refer you for an evaluation or for the appropriate substance abuse treatment. We most often recommend being proactive in these matters in order to help you both legally and personally. Let us help you avoid the severe consequences of Florida’s drug laws, many of which were passed under the guise of solving Florida’s opioid crisis.

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