Orlando Attorney’s Guide on Sale or Delivery of Hydrocodone in Florida
According to Sec. 893.13 of Florida Statutes, the crime of Sale or Delivery of Hydrocodone in Florida is committed when an individual either sells, manufactures, delivers hydrocodone, or possesses hydrocodone with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver it.
Sale: The term “sale” refers to the act of transferring hydrocodone in exchange for money, goods, or services.
Delivery: “Delivery” is defined as the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer of hydrocodone from one person to another.
Manufacture: Manufacturing involves the production, preparation, or propagation of hydrocodone, typically through chemical synthesis or extraction.
Possession with Intent: Possession with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver hydrocodone means that an individual not only has the drug in their possession but also intends to distribute it in some manner.
Elements of the Crime
If you are facing charges for the sale or delivery of Hydrocodone in Florida, it’s vital to understand the specific elements that make up this crime. In legal terms, “elements” are the set of facts that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction to occur. Here are the key elements for this crime:
The substance in question must be confirmed as Hydrocodone, which is a Schedule II controlled substance in Florida.
Transfer or Sale
There must be proof that you sold, delivered, or intended to sell or deliver the Hydrocodone. Simply possessing the drug is a separate charge.
The prosecution must prove that you knew the substance was Hydrocodone and that you were not authorized to sell or deliver it, such as lacking a valid pharmaceutical license.
There usually needs to be evidence of an exchange, whether monetary or otherwise, although actual money does not have to change hands for the crime to be committed.
Penalties for Sale or Delivery of Hydrocodone in Florida
Sale or Delivery of Hydrocodone is deemed a second-degree felony in Florida. This charge holds severe implications, such as a maximum of 15 years of prison or probation time, along with a fine up to $10,000.
The sale or delivery of hydrocodone is a serious criminal offense in Florida, classified as a second-degree felony. The penalties for this crime are severe and can have a long-lasting impact on your life, including your freedom, financial stability, and future employment opportunities. Below, we delve into the specifics of the penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and other collateral consequences.
If convicted, you could face up to 15 years in a Florida state prison. The length of the sentence can vary depending on various factors such as prior criminal history, the amount of hydrocodone involved, and whether minors were targeted.
Minimum Mandatory Sentences
Florida law may impose minimum mandatory sentences for drug offenses, including the sale or delivery of hydrocodone, particularly if large quantities are involved or if the offense occurred near a school or other protected area.
In some cases, the court may opt for probation instead of, or in addition to, imprisonment. The probation period can last up to 15 years.
Probation conditions often include regular check-ins with a probation officer, drug testing, community service, and completion of drug treatment programs. Failure to comply with these conditions can result in the revocation of probation and imposition of the original prison sentence.
A conviction can result in a fine of up to $10,000. This is in addition to court costs and other fees that you may be required to pay.
In some cases, the state may seize assets that are believed to be connected to the drug offense, such as vehicles used to transport hydrocodone or property purchased with proceeds from drug sales.
Permanent Mark: A conviction will result in a permanent criminal record, which remains accessible in background checks for the rest of your life.
Employment Challenges: Having a criminal record can significantly hinder your ability to find employment. Many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with a criminal background, particularly in roles that require a high level of trust or security clearance.
Housing Difficulties: A criminal record can also make it challenging to secure housing, as many landlords conduct background checks and may be unwilling to rent to someone with a criminal history.
Certain professions require state licensing, and a criminal record can make it difficult or even impossible to obtain or retain these licenses.
Loss of Civil Rights
Convicted felons in Florida lose the right to vote, which means you will be unable to participate in elections or referendums.
You will also lose the right to serve on a jury, limiting your civic participation.
Convicted felons are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, which can affect your personal safety and recreational activities.
Those in regulated professions such as healthcare, law, and education may face disciplinary action from licensing boards or professional organizations.
Loss of Licenses and Certifications
In severe cases, you may lose professional licenses and certifications, which can effectively end your career in that field.
The stigma associated with a criminal conviction can have long-lasting effects on your professional reputation, making it difficult to rebuild your career even if you retain your license.
The penalties for the sale or delivery of hydrocodone in Florida are severe and far-reaching. A conviction can result in a lengthy prison sentence, substantial fines, and a host of other collateral consequences that can affect your life long after you’ve served your sentence. If you’re facing charges, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney to explore your legal options and potential defenses.
|Charge Severity Level
|Severity Level 5 (28 points)
||No minimum mandatory sentence unless there are aggravating circumstances (such as prior criminal convictions)
|License Suspension (Sec. 322.055, Florida Statutes)
||6 months of driver’s license suspension
Moreover, under Sec. 322.055, Florida Statutes, the court is required to suspend your driver’s license for 6 months if you are convicted of Sale or Delivery of Hydrocodone. However, the court may allow you to obtain a restricted business-purposes-only license if warranted by a “compelling circumstance.”
How can Leppard Law Fight a Charge of Sale or Delivery of Hydrocodone in Florida for You?
Facing a charge related to the sale or delivery of hydrocodone in Florida is a daunting experience that can have life-altering consequences. Leppard Law understands the gravity of these charges and brings extensive expertise in defending clients against them. Below are some of the key strategies we employ to challenge the State’s case and protect your rights.
Proving Intent to Sell
The Importance of Intent
In criminal law, especially in drug-related cases like the sale or delivery of Hydrocodone, proving “intent” can be the linchpin that either secures a conviction or leads to an acquittal. But what does “intent to sell” actually mean? It means that the defendant had the conscious objective to distribute or sell the Hydrocodone, not merely possess it for personal use.
Types of Evidence for Intent
- Quantity of the Drug: A large amount of Hydrocodone, more than what would be considered reasonable for personal use, could indicate an intent to sell.
- Packaging: If the Hydrocodone is found in multiple, small, ready-for-sale packages, that can imply intent.
- Paraphernalia: Tools and equipment like scales, baggies, or even a customer list can serve as evidence of intent.
- Communications: Text messages, phone calls, or computer records discussing the sale of Hydrocodone can be used as proof.
- Surveillance Evidence: Being caught in the act of selling or distributing, either through video or eyewitness accounts, provides direct evidence of intent.
- Location: If the accused is found in a place known for drug dealing, it may be inferred that they intended to sell.
- Financial Records: Large sums of money, especially in small denominations, can also indicate a drug-selling operation.
Actual or Constructive Possession
When it comes to drug offenses such as the sale or delivery of Hydrocodone in Florida, one of the key elements that the prosecution must prove is possession. Understanding the difference between “actual” and “constructive” possession is critical in comprehending how the law operates in these cases.
“Actual possession” means that the individual has direct and immediate physical control over the substance. In layman’s terms, it’s in your hand, your pocket, or otherwise on your person.
How It’s Proven:
Actual possession is often straightforward to prove. If Hydrocodone is found in your hand during a search, for example, that’s actual possession. The chain of custody from the moment of the search to the presentation of the drug as evidence is generally enough to establish actual possession.
Defenses against actual possession could include proving that the search was conducted illegally (e.g., without a warrant or probable cause), or that you had a valid prescription for the Hydrocodone.
“Constructive possession” is a bit more abstract. It means that while you may not have had the Hydrocodone on your person, you had access to it and the ability to control it. For example, if the Hydrocodone is found in a glove compartment of a car you’re driving, that’s constructive possession.
How It’s Proven:
Proving constructive possession is usually more complex. The prosecution must show that:
- The defendant knew the substance was present.
- The defendant had the ability to control the substance.
Often, this involves circumstantial evidence, such as the defendant’s fingerprints on the packaging, or evidence that the defendant had the keys to the location where the drugs were stored.
Defenses against constructive possession can involve challenging the idea that you knew about the drugs or had the ability to control them. For instance, if you were a passenger in a car where Hydrocodone was found, but you didn’t own the car or have any control over the glove compartment, you might be able to argue that you didn’t have constructive possession.
Why It Matters
Whether possession is labeled as actual or constructive can have significant implications for your legal case. The defenses available may differ, and the difficulty of proving possession often varies between the two categories. Understanding this concept is essential for anyone facing a charge involving the sale or delivery of Hydrocodone or any other controlled substance.
Legal Disposal Defense
The concept of “Legal Disposal Defense” is specific to drug offenses and deals with the argument that the accused was in the process of disposing of a controlled substance in a lawful manner when they were arrested or charged. This defense is particularly complex and its admissibility varies depending on jurisdiction and the particularities of a case. Here is a breakdown:
What Is Legal Disposal Defense?
“Legal Disposal Defense” is invoked when a defendant claims that they were in the act of legally disposing of the controlled substance — in this case, Hydrocodone — when they were apprehended. This could mean that the individual was on their way to a medical facility to turn in unused pills or was following a specific procedure for lawful disposal outlined by healthcare providers or law enforcement.
How Is It Proven?
- Demonstration of Intent: The defendant needs to demonstrate a clear and undeniable intent to dispose of the substance lawfully. This might involve showing evidence like GPS routes to a medical facility, text messages or calls arranging a legal disposal, or even witness testimonies confirming the intent.
- Timing: The timing must be reasonable. For example, if the Hydrocodone was found in your car, but you had driven past several opportunities to dispose of it legally, this could weaken your defense.
- Compliance with Regulations: The defendant must show that the method of disposal intended was in compliance with federal, state, or local guidelines for the lawful disposal of controlled substances.
- Burden of Proof: Typically, the burden of proof may lie with the defendant to show that they had every intention of lawfully disposing of the substance.
- Credibility: For this defense to be effective, the defendant’s story needs to be credible and backed up with concrete evidence. Mere verbal claims usually won’t suffice.
- Limitations: Note that this defense may not be applicable to other related charges, like intent to distribute, and the presence of large quantities of the drug could complicate the defense.
Motion to Suppress
In criminal law, a “Motion to Suppress” is a formal request made by a defendant asking the court to exclude specific evidence from being presented during trial. The basis for such a motion generally rests on the argument that the evidence in question was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights, such as illegal search and seizure, lack of a proper warrant, or coerced confessions.
What Is a Motion to Suppress?
A Motion to Suppress seeks to disallow certain pieces of evidence from being used against a defendant, particularly if they were improperly or illegally obtained. This could be anything from physical evidence, like confiscated Hydrocodone pills, to testimonies and statements.
Grounds for Filing
The reasons for filing a Motion to Suppress may vary, but they generally relate to violations of:
- Fourth Amendment: Protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the Hydrocodone was found during an illegal search, it might be suppressible.
- Fifth Amendment: Protects against self-incrimination. If a confession was obtained without properly informing you of your right to remain silent, it might be suppressible.
- Sixth Amendment: Guarantees the right to legal counsel. Statements given without a lawyer present, after you’ve requested one, may be suppressible.
How Is It Proven?
- Chain of Custody: The defense can question the handling and storage of the evidence, emphasizing any irregularities or opportunities for tampering.
- Warrant Scrutiny: If a search warrant was issued, the defense would scrutinize it for any discrepancies, including the specifics of what was to be searched and seized.
- Procedural Errors: Any failure to read Miranda rights, improper questioning techniques, or lack of legal counsel can also be grounds for suppression.
- Burden of Proof: The defendant has the initial burden to produce evidence suggesting that the seizure was illegal. If that is met, the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove legality.
- “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” Doctrine: Even evidence discovered as an indirect result of an unconstitutional action may be suppressible, but there are exceptions like inevitable discovery or good faith on part of the officers.
- Hearing: Typically, a special pre-trial hearing is held to decide on the motion. The judge, after hearing arguments from both sides, decides whether the evidence in question should be suppressed.
The Alibi Defense
The term “alibi” originates from the Latin word that means “elsewhere,” and in the context of criminal law, an alibi defense is used to show that a defendant was physically unable to commit a crime because they were at a different location when the crime occurred. It’s one of the most straightforward defense strategies, but proving it convincingly can often be a complex matter.
What Is an Alibi Defense?
An alibi is a form of defense where the accused aims to prove that they were not at the scene of the crime and therefore could not have committed it. This is different from claiming that the defendant did not commit the crime; rather, it asserts that they could not possibly have done so.
Types of Evidence Used
- Witness Testimony: Perhaps the most compelling form of alibi evidence. Friends, family, or even strangers can testify that they were with the defendant at the time the crime was committed.
- Physical Evidence: This could be a time-stamped receipt from a store or restaurant, proving the defendant was somewhere else when the crime happened.
- Digital Footprints: Cell phone records, social media activity, or surveillance footage can corroborate an alibi.
- Official Records: Employment records, school attendance records, or medical records that indicate the defendant was at work, in class, or in a hospital, for example.
How to Establish a Strong Alibi
- Corroborate: The more sources that can confirm your whereabouts, the stronger the alibi.
- Timing: The alibi must cover the specific time when the crime was committed. Being accounted for just before or just after isn’t usually enough.
- Reliability: Witnesses should be credible and physical evidence should be hard to dispute.
Legal Requirements and Challenges
- Disclosure: Many jurisdictions require that the defense notify the prosecution in advance if they intend to use an alibi defense. This is to allow the prosecution enough time to investigate the alibi claims.
- Credibility: A weak alibi can sometimes do more harm than good, as it might actually help to convict the defendant if the jury thinks they are lying.
- False Alibi: Presenting a false alibi is itself a criminal offense in many jurisdictions.
Alibi vs. Other Defenses
An alibi is a factual defense, not a legal one. It doesn’t assert that the defendant had a good reason for committing the crime or that they committed it but shouldn’t be held fully responsible. It simply says they couldn’t have done it. This makes it different from defenses like self-defense, insanity, or entrapment.
Importance in Trial
A strong alibi can result in a not guilty verdict because it directly contradicts the prosecution’s assertion that the defendant committed the crime. If the alibi is compelling and substantiated with credible evidence, it imposes reasonable doubt, making it difficult for the prosecution to prove guilt beyond that threshold.
We have a range of other strategies at our disposal, depending on the specifics of your case about the sale or delivery of hydrocodone. These may include:
- Challenging the credibility of witnesses
- Questioning the reliability of forensic evidence
- Presenting expert testimony to counter the State’s claims
Leppard Law is committed to providing robust legal defense for clients facing charges related to the sale or delivery of hydrocodone in Florida. With our comprehensive understanding of the law and a tailored approach to your case, we aim to secure the best possible outcome for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a second-degree felony in Florida?
A second-degree felony in Florida, such as the Sale or Delivery of Hydrocodone, carries penalties of up to 15 years in prison or probation, and a fine up to $10,000.
2. What is ‘intent to sell’ in drug possession charges?
‘Intent to sell’ means that an individual is not just in possession of a drug but intends to distribute it. This generally requires additional evidence beyond just possession.
3. What is the difference between actual and constructive possession?
Actual possession means the drug was on the person, while constructive possession implies the drug was in a location under the person’s control and they knew of its presence.
4. What is a ‘motion to suppress’ in a legal context?
A ‘motion to suppress’ is a request by the defense to exclude certain evidence that was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.
5. What is an alibi defense?
An alibi defense is when the defense presents evidence that the defendant was elsewhere at the time the crime occurred.
Why Trust Leppard Law? We Let The Results Speak For Themselves!
But don’t just take our word for it, experience the Leppard Law difference for yourself.
Personalized Legal Support When You Need It Most
What does it feel like to have an attorney who actually has your back? At Leppard Law, we treat you like family. We dive deep into your case, prioritize your best interests, and aggressively advocate for your rights.
We’ve been honored as the “Best of Orlando” for Criminal and DUI Defense for six consecutive years. Your trust drives our commitment to legal excellence.
Stressful Situation? We Make Legal Help Easy and Painless
We understand that dealing with a criminal charge is stressful and disorienting. That’s why we’ve streamlined our process to make it as straightforward as possible for you.
One call to Leppard Law can change the course of your future.
Schedule Your FREE Consultation Today!
Don’t gamble with your future; put it in the hands of a trusted, top-rated legal team.