You Can Still Get Criminal Charges For Possession Of Fentanyl Test Strips In Florida
The five categories of drugs according to the federal Controlled Substances Act are not based directly on the quantity of the drug considered a lethal dose. Therefore, fentanyl, cocaine, Adderall, and hydrocodone are all Schedule II controlled substances, but they do not all carry an equal risk of fatal overdose. Fentanyl is no ordinary drug; it causes more than 60,000 fatal overdoses per year, accounting for approximately two thirds of all overdose deaths. Therefore, last month, Gov. DeSantis signed into law HB 95, which deals specifically with criminal charges related to fentanyl. If you are being accused of buying, selling, or possessing fentanyl, contact a Florida drug offense attorney.
Provisions of HB 95
HB 95 will go into effect on October 1 of this year. It is primarily concerned with increasing the penalties for crimes related to trafficking in fentanyl. For example, it raises the mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking between four and 14 milligrams of fentanyl from three years to seven years in prison, and it raises the minimum sentence for trafficking between 14 and 28 milligrams from 15 years to 20 years.
Additionally, HB 95 now enables prosecutors to charge you with first degree murder for providing the drugs that led to a fatal overdose on fentanyl. This means that the judge could sentence you to life in prison if you are convicted, and prosecutors could even seek the death penalty.
Misdemeanor Charges for Drug Paraphernalia Are Better Than Death
The scariest thing about fentanyl is that most people who ingest it do so unknowingly, even though it only takes a tiny quantity of fentanyl to cause a fatal overdose. One of the major criticisms of HB 95 is that it does not decriminalize possession of fentanyl test strips. By contrast, Alabama recently decriminalized fentanyl, and in the Canadian province of British Columbia, several public health clinics distribute them to patients. Most street level drug dealers do not know whether their product contains fentanyl. By using test strips, they can stop themselves from selling drugs that could get them charged with murder, and buyers would be able to know whether the drug they had bought was likely to kill them.
In Florida, fentanyl test strips are considered drug paraphernalia, so you can get misdemeanor charges for possessing them. This does not mean that you should flush your fentanyl test strips; getting misdemeanor charges for paraphernalia is better than dying, and it is better than getting charged with murder. Even with the best criminal defense lawyer, the best possible outcome for paraphernalia charges is better than the best possible outcome with charges for providing the fentanyl involved in a fatal overdose.
Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Criminal Charges Related to Fentanyl
A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for possession of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, or fentanyl test strips. Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.