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Florida approves mandatory minimums on fentanyl drug possession

A bill was recently signed into law in Florida which establishes mandatory minimums for those caught with the drug known as fentanyl. Governor Rick Scott signed the drug possession measure, which was written with the intention of cracking down on the dealers who are selling the drug or any of its derivatives. Because fetanyl is such a dangerous drug, the hope is that stricter sentencing guidelines will help eradicate its use across the state.

Fentanyl is an intense, man-made opioid that has caused many deaths across the country. For those who are caught with between 4 grams and 14 grams of the drug, the mandatory sentence would be at least three years. Anyone convicted of having between 14 grams and 28 grams would spend at least 15 years in prison, and those possessing over 28 grams would receive a sentence of not less than 25 years.

Opponents tried to remove the mandatory minimums from the bill. Advocates for criminal justice reform believe that having mandatory minimum sentences effectively tie a judge's hands and often results in sentences that are harsher than necessary. The minimum sentences apply even if the individual is found guilty of a first offense.

Those who have been charged with drug possession in Florida would certainly benefit by securing experienced legal representation. A savvy criminal lawyer will be aware of local court procedures and any new laws that may be applicable. There are a number of important decisions that must be made as a criminal case makes it way through the justice system, and a seasoned attorney can help keep the focus on achieving the most favorable result.

Source: governing.com, "Florida Institutes Mandatory Minimums for Fentanyl Possession", June 19, 2017

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