Many people use steroids on a short-term basis for performance enhancement, hormone depletion, and anti-aging measures. In fact, in the sports, bodybuilding, and anti-aging communities, steroids are quietly and widely accepted. Nevertheless, steroids are still a controlled substance and strictly prohibited without a valid prescription. Sale and possession of anabolic steroids is a federal and state crime, punishable by imprisonment.
If you have been arrested for steroid-related charges, call Goldman Wetzel to speak to our defense attorneys in St. Petersburg about how to fight your case: 727-828-3900.
How does Florida categorize steroids?
In 1970, Congress enacted a drug policy, the Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes and regulates controlled substances into what it calls drug schedules. Florida has its own drug schedules, found in Florida Statute § 893.03, but they closely resemble the federal schedule.
The schedule places all controlled substances into five categories, Schedule I (most harmful and addictive) to V (least harmful and addictive), based on their potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment, and safety standards.
Steroids fall in the middle of the spectrum on Schedule III. The statutes state that a Schedule III drug like anabolic steroids “has a potential for abuse less than the substances contained in Schedules I and II and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence or, in the case of anabolic steroids, may lead to physical damage.”
Which types of steroids are illegal?
The law defines “anabolic steroids” as “any drug or hormonal substance, chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone, other than estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids, that promotes muscle growth.” This covers just about every muscle-enhancing substance available on the open and black markets.
Florida’s Drug Schedule lists 43 hormones classified as Schedule III anabolic steroids. Some of those listed include:
Is human growth hormone (HGH) illegal, too?
Anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) differ in chemical composition and the way in which they work in the body, but many people use the substances concurrently. The federal government groups both substances together and treats them the same, as per the Anabolic Steroids Control Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
In Florida, however, there is a gray area for HGH possession and sale. The hormone is not in Florida’s Drug Schedules, but it is highly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Under federal law, it is illegal to possess or distribute HGH, except with a valid doctor’s prescription. Federal law does not approve HGH for any bodybuilding, weight loss, or anti-aging purposes.
Even still, many anti-aging and weight loss clinics in Florida prescribe HGH frequently and cash in on the sales, and the general public assumes it is lawful. But it is not. Law enforcement regularly arrests people for involvement in HGH and steroids. In one case for instance, four defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute testosterone and HGH to athletes. They each faced ten years’ imprisonment.
What are the penalties for illegal sale or possession of steroids in Florida?
Illegal possession/sale of Schedule III drugs like steroids is a third-degree felony in Florida. The penalties include:
- Up to five years of imprisonment;
- Up to five years of probation; and
- Up to a $5,000 fine.
However, if there are aggravating factors, the charges will be higher. For example, if you are found in possession of or selling steroids on or within 1,000 feet of a school, college, church, park, community center, or public housing, it will be a second-degree felony, punishable by up to:
- 15 years of imprisonment; and
- A $10,000 fine.
There are also other ramifications of a conviction to consider. If you work with high school or college students or other athletes, you will likely lose your job and licensing. The same holds true for professional athletes, doctors, and anti-aging specialists. Getting arrested for possession or sale of steroids can land you in prison and tarnish your entire career.
You can also face federal penalties for possession and trafficking of steroids.
Possession can get you a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
Trafficking has maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the first offense; the penalties double for a second offense.
What are some valid defenses to possession/sale of steroids?
There are various ways to approach a case involving steroid charges. Our defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel can work together to investigate the facts surrounding your case and determine the best approach. We can fight to have the charges dropped or reduced, or pursue an acquittal, depending on the specifics of your case.
Some of the defenses we may use include the following:
- Unlawful search and seizure
- You did not know the substance was illegal.
- The substance belonged to someone else.
- You have a valid doctor’s prescription.
- The substance was not a prohibited controlled substance.
- The steroids were for your horses.
- The steroids were for personal use only (not sale).
- If you are a healthcare professional, you can show the prescription was valid.
Does Goldman Wetzel accept steroid cases in St. Petersburg?
Our skilled criminal defense attorneys represent people charged with all types of state and federal drug crimes, including sale and possession of steroids. We have a solid understanding of the issues surrounding the field of medicine, evolving standards of care and drug regulations, online marketing of hormone products, and off-label use of medications such as steroids. We will work diligently for the best possible outcome for your case.
If you find yourself the target of a steroid or HGH investigation or are currently facing prosecution, contact Goldman Wetzel for a free consultation today: 727-828-3900.