Synthetic Drug Crimes
Man-made synthetic or “designer” drugs were developed and became more popular throughout the United States as an alternative to illegal drugs. While certain controlled substances such as 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) and methamphetamine could also technically be considered synthetic because they are comprised entirely of chemicals, this class of drugs largely applies to synthetic marijuana and other substances that are packaged and sold as though they are legal products.
However, the state of Florida has taken aggressive measures to outlaw numerous synthetic drugs. Immediately upon taking office as Attorney General in 2011, Pam Bondi signed an emergency rule outlawing six substances found in “bath salts” and has since worked with the Florida Legislature to add more than 150 additional synthetic substances to Florida’s schedule of controlled substances.Jacksonville Synthetic Drug Crimes Lawyer
If you have been arrested for any type of possession of a synthetic controlled substance in Florida, you should know that these criminal charges can be just as serious as the actual illegal drugs many synthetic substances are attempting to replicate. Roelke Law, P.A. provides legal defense for clients accused of possessing these types of substances in St. Johns County, Clay County, Nassau County, and Duval County.
Jacksonville synthetic drug crime attorney Bill Roelke helps residents and visitors who were arrested for these types of crimes in communities throughout Northeast Florida. You can have our firm review your case to discuss your legal options as soon you call (904) 354-0333 or send us an online message to set up a free, confidential consultation.
Florida Synthetic Drug Crimes Information Center
- What are some kinds of synthetic controlled substances?
- How are these crimes classified?
- What are the consequences if a person is convicted of one of these offenses?
Even a cursory glance over Florida Statute § 893.03 will reveal a significant number of seemingly complex, difficult to pronounce chemical names, such as 5-Methoxy-N-methyl-N-isopropyltryptamine or Eutylone (beta-Keto-Ethylbenzodioxolylbutanamine). These are often active ingredients in synthetic substances that are known by and sold under safer-sounding and much less complicated terms.
Because new chemicals and compounds are constantly being used to create new synthetic drugs, the Florida Attorney General and the State Legislature frequently act very quickly to add additional terms to the state’s list of controlled substances. Generally, there are two types of synthetic substances that are most common in criminal cases:
Synthetic Marijuana and Other Cannabinoids
Often marketed as potpourri or herbal incense, synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of marijuana through chemicals that are sprayed on to plants or herbs. Some of these products may be labeled as “not for human consumption,” but others claim to be an “herbal smoking mixture.” Common synthetic marijuana products include, but are not limited to:
- Black Kush;
- Black Magic;
- Black Mamba;
- Black Widow;
- Bombay Blue;
- California Dreams;
- Cowboy Kush;
- Daisy Potpourri;
- Dead Man Walking;
- Extreme Herbal incense;
- King Cobra;
- Red Magic;
- XXX; and
- Zero Gravity.
Flakka, Bath Salts, and Other Cathinones
Synthetic cathinones are substances that may come in liquid forms or white, off-white, or brown powders. These substances may be snorted, eaten, drank, smoked, or even vaped with electronic cigarettes. Flakka and bath salts are two of the most popular examples of these kinds of substances.
The illegal drugs that such substances intend to mimic can vary, but may include amphetamines, crack, cocaine, crystal meth, or ecstasy (MDMA). Synthetic cathinones are sold under such brand names as:
- Arctic Blast;
- Blue Silk;
- Bolivian Blast;
- C Original;
- Cloud Nine;
- Gold Rush;
- Ivory Wave;
- Lunar Wave;
- Meow Meow;
- Mr. Nice Guy;
- Ocean Burst;
- Pure Ivory;
- Purple Wave;
- Red Dove;
- Route 69;
- Snow Leopard;
- Vanilla Sky;
- White Dove;
- White Knight;
- White Lightning;
- Wicked X; and
Florida classifies most of these types of drugs as Schedule I substances. This means that synthetic substances are not only deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, but a person who is charged with any criminal offense involving these drugs can face very severe consequences.
The Schedule I classification means that a person could face the following possible charges:
- Possession of Less Than 3 Grams of a Synthetic Drug — First-Degree Misdemeanor
- Possession of 3 Grams or More of a Synthetic Drug — Third-Degree Felony
- Possession of a Synthetic Drug With Intent to Sell — Second-Degree Felony
It is important to remember that an “intent to sell” charge is not determined by any set amount and is often at the discretion of police officers or prosecutors. While such charges carry harsher sentences, they can also be more difficult to prove if the prosecution has no evidence of any actual attempt to sell a synthetic substance.
Even though they are not technically the same as the actual drugs they resemble, synthetic substances still have many of the same penalties in Florida. A conviction for possession of flakka, bath salts, or synthetic marijuana will be every bit as damaging as a conviction for possession of actual heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or cannabis.
Depending on the classification of the offense, an alleged offender could receive one of the following sentences:
- First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Additionally, a conviction will also appear as a controlled substance crime on the alleged offender’s criminal record, causing serious difficulties when he or she attempts to obtain employment, housing, or financial aid. A person who is convicted of this offense could also have his or her driver’s license suspended for up to two years, be ordered to complete a treatment program, and possibly lose his or her vehicle under state civil asset forfeiture laws.
Have you been charged with a criminal offense in Florida relating to a synthetic controlled substance? Make sure that you have experienced legal representation. Bill Roelke has spent the last 25 years working in the criminal justice system, and the scientific background he accrued before that can be a major benefit in these very complicated cases.
Roelke Law, P.A. represents clients throughout the greater Jacksonville area, including St. Augustine, Middleburg, Green Cove Spring, Hilliard, Orange Park, and Callahan. Call (904) 354-0333 or send us an online message right now to take advantage of a free consultation that will allow our Duval County synthetic drug crime attorney to review your case.