Each day in communities from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, thousands of doses of narcotics like oxycodone are dispensed in pain clinics—also known as “pill mills.” These storefront operations distribute powerful pain medication to patients without conducting a physical exam or requesting documented, prior medical history. These clinics are usually cash only establishments with an onsite pharmacy visited by out-of-state clients and “doctor shoppers” looking for large volumes of medications.
With prescription drug related deaths surpassing the number of deaths from automobile accidents, law enforcement agencies are focusing their efforts to eradicate drug trafficking. According to Greg Allen, a reporter for National Public Radio, doctors in Florida are prescribing 10 times more oxycodone pills than every other state in the U.S. combined. The reason for the proliferation of pill mills? Florida, unlike other states, lacks a system for monitoring drug prescriptions and does not require a medical license to operate a pain clinic. Lax rules have allowed clinics to pop up all over the state, with the most clinics located off exits along I-75, prompting law enforcement agents to dub the interstate the “Oxy Express.”
Florida’s mandatory drug laws are some of the most severe in the country. New legislation has banned most doctors from dispending prescription medications and has created a monthly dosage cap for pharmacies. The legislation has also increased penalties for doctors or anyone found guilty of unlawful dispensing, failure to report the loss of controlled substances, or pain medication theft. Currently, possession of 28 grams of prescription drugs comes with a possible sentence of 25 years in prison.
The potential punishments you could face for a drug offense depends on the crime you were convicted of and the severity of the defense. When charged with any drug crime, be it state or federal drug trafficking, drug possession, or conspiracy to possess, you could face court costs, extensive fines, probation, license suspension, or even time behind bars. If, for example, you have committed a drug crime in the vicinity of a public school, university, an elementary school, or to someone under the age of 18, your punishment will be more severe. Here are the ranges of punishment for drug possession charges in Florida:
- Misdemeanor of the Second Degree: Jail time up to 60 days, and/or fines up to $500
- Misdemeanor of the First Degree: Jail time up to one year, and/or fines up to $1,000
- Felony of the Third Degree: Prison sentence up to five years, and/or fines up to $5,000
- Felony of the Second Degree: Prison sentence up to 15 years, and/or fines up to $10,000
- Felony of the First Degree: Prison sentence up to 30 years, and/or fines up to $10,000
- Life Felony: Prison sentence from 30 years up to life in prison, and/or fines up to $15,000
Florida law is unwavering when it comes to drug possession. If you or someone you know have been arrested for drug possession, the first step in fighting your charge is hiring a competent drug possession attorney. An experienced drug possession lawyer will provide aggressive legal representation to protect your job, your family, and your reputation from the ruinous effects of a permanent criminal record. If you have been charged with violating Florida drug laws, contact Yale Galanter, a Miami drug charge attorney with over 30 years of experience. Yale Galanter has helped countless clients avoid jail time, lessen their charges, or even have their charges dropped entirely.
The Galanter Law Firm is experienced in:
- State/Federal Drug Possession
- State/ Federal Conspiracy To Possess
- State/ Federal Trafficking Crimes
- Possession With Intent To Sell
- Simple Possession
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession With Intent To Sell Within School Zone
- Drug Court
- Property Forfeiture Due To Related Drug Possession or Crimes
- Drug Programs When Charged With Possession Crimes