In recent years, an increasing number of people have taken in an interest in manmade psychoactive substances commonly referred to as synthetic drugs or designer drugs. Because many synthetic drugs are labeled as “not for human consumption,” marketed as “incense,” “plant food,” or “potpourri,” and sold in various retail establishments, many users believe that the substances are a legal and relatively harmless way to experience the “high” they would get from the illicit drugs they are often intended to mimic.
Synthetic drugs, however, have garnered national headlines because of the dramatic increase in emergency room visits all over the nation that are attributed to them. As a result, lawmakers in Florida have prohibited numerous synthetic drugs, and people who possess them can end up facing criminal charges that can be just as serious as if they had possessed the illegal drug that the synthetic one is an imitation of.
Attorney for Synthetic Drugs Arrests in Fort Lauderdale, FL
If you were arrested in South Florida for any kind of alleged criminal offense involving a synthetic drug, it will be in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. Meltzer & Bell aggressively defends clients accused of drug crimes in communities all over the greater Broward County area, including Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, and several other nearby areas.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. They can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 745-7457 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Synthetic Drugs Crimes in Broward County
- What are some of the common kinds of synthetic drugs?
- How are synthetic drug crimes classified?
- Where can I find more information about synthetic drugs in Broward County?
The most common types of synthetic drugs are synthetic cannabinoids—more commonly known as “synthetic marijuana”—and synthetic cathinones—often referred to as “bath salts.”
Synthetic cannabinoids are usually dried, shredded plant-like material that has been sprayed with chemicals and marketed as an “herbal smoking mixture.” Some cannabinoids may be oils or “wax” that is designed to be inhaled in electronic vaporizers or “e-cigarettes.”
Popular brand names of synthetic cannabinoids include, but are not limited to:
- Atomic Bomb;
- Head Trip;
- Black Kush;
- Black Magic;
- Black Mamba;
- California Dreams;
- Zero Gravity;
- King Cobra;
- Yucatán Fire;
- Bombay Blue;
- Cowboy Kush;
- Black Widow;
- Dead Man Walking;
- Extreme Herbal incense;
- Red Magic;
- Mr. Nice Guy; and
- Daisy Potpourri.
Synthetic cathinones are designed to mimic the effects of such controlled substances as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly), methamphetamine, or cocaine. Cathinones are typically sold as powders that can be snorted or smoked, or as liquids that can be smoked using vaporizers.
Popular brand names of synthetic cannabinoids include, but are not limited to:
- Hurricane Charlie;
- White Lightning;
- Arctic Blast;
- Bolivian Blast;
- Gold Rush;
- Route 69;
- Ivory Wave;
- Mr. Nice Guy;
- White Knight;
- Ocean Burst;
- Purple Wave;
- Red Dove;
- Charge Plus;
- Lunar Wave;
- Snow Leopard;
- Vanilla Sky;
- White Night;
- Wicked X;
- Pure Ivory;
- Cloud Nine;
- Purple Sky;
- Blue Silk;
- White Dove;
- Ocean Snow;
- C Original; and
- Meow Meow.
When a person is accused of a criminal offense involving a synthetic drug, the classification of the alleged crime will depend on the specific type(s) of chemical(s) contained in the alleged synthetic drugs. More than 200 different “analogs”—including specific synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones—are currently prohibited under Florida Statute § 893.03(1)(c).
Many of the analogs listed under the statute are extremely complex names like HU-210 [(6aR,10aR)-9-(Hydroxymethyl)-6,6-dimethyl-3-(2-methyloctan-2-yl)-6a,7,10,10a-tetrahydrobenzo[c]chromen-1-ol]. Even though the attorney general often signs emergency orders to add more substances to this list of Schedule I illegal drugs, the makers of synthetic drugs are often able to create a different chemical with only a minor change to the structure of the drug.
Possession, sale, manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a synthetic drug classified as a Schedule I controlled substance is a third-degree felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Synthetic drug charges can be enhanced to second-degree felony offenses punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if alleged offenses occur in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any of the following:
- A child care facility between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight;
- A public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight;
- A state, county, or municipal park;
- A community center (meaning “a facility operated by a nonprofit community-based organization for the provision of recreational, social, or educational services to the public”);
- A publicly owned recreational facility;
- A public or private college, university, or other postsecondary educational institution;
- A physical place for worship at which a church or religious organization regularly conducts religious services;
- A convenience business (meaning “any place of business that is primarily engaged in the retail sale of groceries, or both groceries and gasoline, and that is open for business at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.”);
- A public housing facility; or
- An assisted living facility (meaning “any building or buildings, section or distinct part of a building, private home, boarding home, home for the aged, or other residential facility, whether operated for profit or not, which undertakes through its ownership or management to provide housing, meals, and one or more personal services for a period exceeding 24 hours to one or more adults who are not relatives of the owner or administrator”).
When a synthetic drug does not contain a chemical listed under Florida Statute § 893.03(1)(c), a prosecutor may file criminal charges based on the controlled substance that the alleged synthetic drug was intended to mimic. In such cases, prosecutors often justify such charges by arguing that alleged synthetic drugs were “substantially similar” to listed controlled substances—meaning that the synthetic drugs involved only small changes to the structures of what would have otherwise have been illegal drugs.
Some synthetic drugs intended to mimic prescription drugs can be classified as a “new drug” under Florida Statute § 499.03. An alleged offender who possesses a new drug can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or fine of up to $500, but possession with intent to sell, dispense, or deliver a new drug is a third-degree felony.
Broward County Response to Flakka and Synthetic Drugs — View this educational presentation provided by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Broward County, and the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse. Learn more about synthetic drugs as well as Broward Health Medical Center hospital cases related to synthetic drugs. The presentation also discusses Florida’s “Good Samaritan Act,” which provides that any person who willingly, and in good faith, provides emergency care or treatment to another in an emergency situation will not be charged with drug possession.
Protecting Floridians from Synthetic Drugs — Visit this section of the Florida Attorney General’s website to learn more about the 136 individual chemical compounds Attorney General Pam Bondi worked with state lawmakers to outlaw. You can also find information about other scheduling actions the office has taken relating to synthetic drugs. The website also has recent news releases, an informational pamphlet, and links to national resources.
Meltzer & Bell | Fort Lauderdale Synthetic Drugs Defense Lawyer
Were you arrested for any kind of alleged crime involving a synthetic drug in Broward County? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted Meltzer & Bell.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell represents individuals in Weston, Tamarac, Margate, Coconut Creek, Hallandale Beach, Wilton Manors, Sunrise, Deerfield Beach, and many surrounding areas of South Florida. Call (954) 745-7457 or complete an online contact form right now to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.