What Are the Levels of Fentanyl Charges You Could Be Facing?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, similar to morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent, as stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is a prescription medication, used to treat patients with severe pain, particularly after surgery, or patients with chronic pain who cannot tolerate other opioids. As a prescription medication, fentanyl is sold under names such as Durgesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze.
In addition to its medical uses, fentanyl is also manufactured and used illegally. It is a highly addictive drug – users develop a tolerance and need larger and more frequent doses to get the desired effect. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are currently the most common cause of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. In a recent year, 59% of deaths from opioids involved fentanyl.
What Charges Could You Be Facing If You Were Caught with Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is listed as a controlled substance. If you are caught in possession without a valid prescription, you could be in serious legal trouble. The degree of trouble will depend on the amount of the drug in your possession, and whether the police believe there was intent to sell. Possible charges you may be facing include the following:
- Fentanyl possession: Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug. It is illegal to possess any amount without a valid prescription. In most cases, it is charged as a misdemeanor, with penalties upon conviction that may include up to a year in jail and up to $20,000 in fines. For registered sex offenders and individuals convicted of violent crimes such as murder or rape, possession may be charged as a felony, with possible jail time of two to four years.
- Fentanyl possession with intent to sell: If you were found with larger amounts of this controlled substance, law enforcement will see it as evidence of intent to sell. Penalties upon conviction may include between 16 months and three years of jail time. A diversion program is not an option in this case, because intent to sell does not revolve around personal drug use.
- Fentanyl sales or transportation: Under the California Health and Safety Code, it is a criminal offense to transport, import into the state, sell, furnish, administer, or give away a controlled substance, or to offer to do any of the above. Upon conviction, this crime carries penalties, including up to five years in state prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
What Are Some Common Legal Defenses Against Fentanyl Charges?
If you have been charged with a drug crime involving fentanyl, your best chance of obtaining the most favorable outcome is to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer handling your case. Legal defenses your attorney can raise against the charges will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Common defenses include:
- The fentanyl was not yours.
- You did not know the drug was there.
- You knew it was there, but you did not know it was fentanyl.
- The fentanyl was discovered during an illegal search and seizure.
- The drugs were for your use alone (if facing possession with intent to sell charges).
- You were entrapped by the police.
- You were a victim of illegal police misconduct.
Why Choose Us?
At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we are uniquely qualified to defend against fentanyl charges. Founding attorney, James N. Dicks, is a drug recognition expert, a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, and a former Los Angeles Police Department narcotics investigator.
Call us today at (760) 630-2000 to get a San Diego criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your rights and your future. We have extensive experience defending clients against drug crime charges.
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