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Some are Rallying for Mandatory Minimum Sentencing ‘Safety Valve’

Drugs3

Mandatory minimums have wreaked havoc on millions of lives ever since they were created throughout the war on drugs. Nonviolent offenders are forced to spend hard time with those convicted of murder, assault, rape, and armed burglary. When drug possessors or distributors are released, they often have few options but to continue down a path of law breaking. Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly ruined the lives of thousands of opioid users in Florida as well, who most often become addicted to the painkillers after suffering a workplace or auto accident. According to the James Madison Institute think tank, 2,310 Floridians are currently serving mandatory minimum sentences for possession of hydrocodone and oxycodone offenses, as reported by FloridaWatchDog.org. Judges essentially have their hands tied when it comes to sentencing. If an offender has in their possession a certain number of pills, they must be given the mandatory minimum sentence, at least, whether the judge or the jury believe that is fair. In many cases, such harsh prison sentences are not fair, and some believe that it is time for Florida law to create a little wiggle room. Lauren Krisai, director of criminal justice reform at the Reason Foundation, argues that a ‘safety valve’ could let certain offenders, when their crime does not fit the sentence, get by without serving that mandatory time in prison. She argues that “Public safety is not enhanced when individuals are incarcerated for years longer than necessary.” Until then, the penalties for possessing or selling opioids is incredibly harsh.

Opioid Mandatory Minimums

According to Florida statute 893.135, the mandatory minimum sentences and fines for knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering, or bringing into the state of Florida the following drugs are listed below each type of drug:

  • Morphine;
  • Opium;
  • Hydromorphone; and
  • Any salt or derivative of the above substances, including heroin.
    • Four grams or more but under 14 grams: Three years in prison and a fine of $50,000;
    • 14 grams or more but under 28 grams: 15 years in prison and a fine of $100,000; and
    • 28 grams or more but under 30 kilograms: 25 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.
  • Hydrocodone or any salt or derivative of hydrocodone; and
  • A mixture of such substances.
    • 14 grams or more but under 28 grams: Three years in prison and a fine of $50,000;
    • 28 grams or more but under 50 grams: Seven years in prison and a fine of $100,000;
    • 50 grams or more but under 200 grams: 15 years in prison and a fine of $500,000; and
    • 200 grams or more but under 30 kilograms: 25 years in prison and a fine of $750,000.
  • Oxycodone or a salt or derivative of hydrocodone; and
  • A mixture of such substances.
    • Seven grams but under 14 grams: Three years in prison and a fine of $50,000;
    • 14 grams or more but under 25 grams: Seven years in prison and a fine of $100,000;
    • 25 grams or more but under 100 grams: 15 years in prison and a fine of $500,000; and
    • 100 grams or more but under 30 kilograms: 25 years in prison and a fine of $750,000.

Call the West Palm Beach Attorneys of Skier Law Firm Today

If you have been charged with drug possession or distribution, call the Skier Law Firm today at 561-820-1508 for immediate legal assistance. We will assist you throughout each step of your case.

Resource:

watchdog.org/291739/mandatory-minimum-drug/

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