The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has cracked down on hydrocodone crimes. Hydrocodone is the most widely prescribed narcotic painkiller, sold under the brand names of Vicodin and Norco. It is a drug with accepted medical uses, similar to marijuana, but it is considered to have a high potential for harm and abuse. If you are charged with hydrocodone trafficking, you should be aware that this is a charge that is taken seriously by prosecutors and courts alike. You can be charged simply because you possessed a threshold amount of hydrocodone, so you should consult an experienced Bradenton hydrocodone trafficking lawyer. At Hanlon Law, we protect the rights of the accused.Consequences of Hydrocodone Trafficking Charges
You can be charged with hydrocodone trafficking under Florida Statute 893.135 if you (1) knowingly (2) bought, sold, manufactured, delivered, imported into the state, or were in actual or constructive possession of a minimum of 14 grams of hydrocodone or a hydrocodone-containing mixture. This is a first-degree felony drug trafficking charge. The sentencing depends on how much hydrocodone was involved. Fourteen grams of hydrocodone can translate to about 22 10 mg. pills, or less than a month's supply of painkillers, a pittance if you suffer from a chronic pain condition. You will be charged for the total weight of the substance even if it is not pure hydrocodone but hydrocodone containing acetaminophen instead. A hydrocodone trafficking attorney in Bradenton can explain the level of the charge that you may face.
When you are convicted of hydrocodone trafficking involving 14 grams-28 grams of hydrocodone, the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. When you are convicted of hydrocodone trafficking involving 28 grams-50 grams of hydrocodone, the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years and a $100,000 fine. When you are convicted of hydrocodone trafficking involving 50 grams-200 grams, the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a $500,000 fine. If the amount of hydrocodone involved is 200 grams-30 kg, the mandatory minimum sentence is 25 years and a $750,000 fine.
Although it can be stressful to be charged with hydrocodone trafficking, you should not despair. It is important to call a Bradenton hydrocodone trafficking attorney right away. The earlier that we get involved, the greater is the likelihood that we can mount a strong defense. There are a number of potential defenses that may be appropriate to use, depending on the circumstances of the offense and the arrest.
When you are being charged with hydrocodone trafficking based on actual possession, we may be able to argue that you have a valid prescription. Alternatively, we may be able to argue that the search and seizure that resulted in your being found in actual possession of hydrocodone was illegal. Fourth Amendment search and seizure case law is complex, and we would need to look at the specific events that led to your being arrested for hydrocodone trafficking in order to determine whether it was lawful. For example, if you were pulled over without a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing while driving, and then you were searched and found with hydrocodone on your person, we may be able to get it suppressed. On the other hand, if you are at the scene of a crime, and an officer reasonably believes that criminal activity is underway, he can conduct what is known as a Terry stop and perform a carefully limited search of your outer clothing for guns and other weapons. If hydrocodone was found, it may be admissible, unless we are able to show that the officer did not have a reasonable belief.
When hydrocodone is found in a place where you live or a car that you drive, but not on your person, the prosecutor will likely pursue your case under a theory of constructive possession. The prosecutor will need to prove that the hydrocodone was found in some place where you knew that it was and that you knew that it was illegal and had dominion or control over it. In some cases, we may be able to raise a reasonable doubt about whether you had dominion and control over the hydrocodone or show that you did not know that it was there.Retain a Knowledgeable Hydrocodone Trafficking Lawyer in Bradenton
Hydrocodone trafficking is a crime that is taken seriously and punished harshly in Florida. If you have been charged with hydrocodone trafficking in Bradenton, you should retain a tough criminal defense attorney. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has represented people accused of drug crimes since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 941.253.0254 or use our online form.