Legal fentanyl can be prescribed by licensed doctors. It can be administered to the patient via injection, transdermal patches, or lozenges. Non-pharmaceutical and illegal fentanyl, on the other hand, are the common causes of fentanyl overdoses. Illegally manufactured fentanyl comes in the form of powder or as tablets. And there are some serious penalties and sentences for importing and distributing fentanyl
Fentanyl Drug Distribution and Trafficking
Fentanyl was previously classified as a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs are controlled and dangerous substances that have a high potential for abuse, and have a severely restricted medical use. Possession of a Schedule II drug can be either a second- or third- degree felony. It is punishable by imprisonment of 5 years to 15 years.
Florida House Bill 477, however, labeled a class of fentanyl mixtures, and other opiates as Schedule I drugs, except for pharmaceutical purposes. According to Florida law, Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous and the least medically useful drugs. Conviction of possession of Schedule I drugs can mean imprisonment for at least 5 years to 15 years, while trafficking can result to up to 30 years imprisonment.
Any person caught to be unlawfully distributing a certain fentanyl-related substance will be charged with felony murder, if said distribution is proven to cause the death of an end-user. Possession of certain fentanyl-related substances under Schedule II is considered as a first degree felony.
Fentanyl traffickers, caught with four grams or more of fentanyl, are subject to a mandatory three-year imprisonment. Those caught with 14 grams of fentanyl will serve 15 years jail time, and those with 28 grams of fentanyl face jail time of 25 years. Prison terms also come with mandatory fines of $50,000 to $500,000.
Fentanyl Drug Importation
Importation of controlled and dangerous substances, unlike possession and trafficking, is strictly a federal offense. Only the federal government has the jurisdiction to prosecute someone who brings illegal drugs into the United States. To be convicted of importation of fentanyl, or any illegal drugs, the prosecution must prove that the illegal substance crossed the US boundary.
It must also be established that the accused is aware that he or she is in possession of the illegal substance. For a conspiracy to import drugs to be established, there must be an agreement by two or more persons to import the said drug. This must be proven beyond reasonable doubt to convict the suspect.
If found with 20 grams or more of Fentanyl, the accused will face at least 10 years imprisonment to life imprisonment. From the possession of 400 grams, it was changed to 20 grams by the Comprehensive Fentanyl Control Act. The Congress enhanced penalties for possession of fentanyl, recognizing the danger it brings, not just to its users, but to others who can unknowingly come in contact with it.
Illegally consumed fentanyl can result to opioid-dependency, overdoses and death, hence the stricter laws.
If You Are Found In Possession Of Fentanyl, Seek Legal Counsel Immediately.
It is important to note that for a drug importation case, you must seek the counsel of a lawyer who is an expert in federal law. For Fentanyl distribution charges, seek the help of a Miami-based criminal lawyer who is knowledgeable about Florida’s state laws.
Do not make any statement without legal representation. An experienced defense lawyer can help get the charges reduced or even dismissed.
If you live in South Florida and need a criminal defense attorney call CP Law today at (305) 204-5000 for a free, no-obligation consultation.