Posted on Monday, November 1st, 2021 at 11:45 am
If you have been arrested for marijuana possession in Florida, you may be facing serious penalties in the event of a conviction. But depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have legal rights and options available to you so you can avoid the penalties and consequences of a marijuana possession charge.
When Can You Be Charged with Possession of Marijuana?
Possession of marijuana under Florida’s criminal law comes in one of two forms. Simple possession of marijuana occurs when a person possesses marijuana that is intended for personal consumption. Possession with intent to distribute occurs when a person possesses marijuana that they intend to transfer, sell, or give to another person. Possession with intent to distribute is usually presumed based on the quantity of marijuana that a person has in their possession when they’re arrested.
Simple possession of marijuana occurs when a person is found with 20 grams or less of marijuana. Simple possession is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying a maximum possible sentence of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana results in a felony charge. The grading of the offense and the possible sentence vary based on the quantity of marijuana the person had in their possession when arrested.
In addition, felony possession may be charged if a defendant was found in possession of marijuana on or within 1,000 feet of a school or college property or a public park.
Potential Defenses to a Marijuana Possession Charge
You should not assume that you will automatically be convicted of marijuana possession. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have defenses that can allow you to avoid conviction on a marijuana possession charge. Potential defenses include:
- You did not possess a product that contained marijuana – Individuals may have possession of CBD products that have small percentages of residual THC.
- You did not have legal possession – If you were not found in actual possession of the marijuana (i.e., the marijuana was found on your person), the prosecution may argue that you had constructive possession. This often occurs when marijuana is found in your home or a vehicle that you were sharing with others. In this case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had knowledge of the presence of the marijuana and the ability and intent to exercise control over it.
- You did not know that the substance you had in your possession was marijuana.
- You had possession of marijuana pursuant to a Florida medical marijuana use registration.
- Law enforcement found marijuana in your possession after conducting an unlawful search and seizure. This may occur when police initiate or extend a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Unlawful search and seizure could also occur if they enter and search a vehicle or a home without a search warrant or without exigent circumstances that legally excuse the requirement to obtain a warrant.
Finally, under Florida law, a person may be entitled to immunity from arrest or prosecution for simple marijuana possession when they seek medical assistance for themselves or for someone that is experiencing an alcohol- or drug-related overdose, where the evidence that would support such an arrest or prosecution was obtained due to the person seeking medical assistance.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Arrested for Possession of Marijuana?
If you are arrested for possession of marijuana, you can take steps that can help protect your legal rights and options. These steps include:
- Do not consent to a search. If you are stopped by police, they may ask for your permission to search your home or vehicle based on their hunch or suspicion that you may have possession of marijuana or other contraband. You have the right to refuse consent to a search.
- Remain silent. If you are arrested for marijuana possession, do not think that you can try to talk your way out of your arrest. Exercise your right to remain silent. Even if you want to try to explain that the marijuana found by the police “wasn’t yours,” you may only end up giving the police statements that can later be used against you in a criminal prosecution.
- Be respectful and do not resist. Although you may think that you are being unfairly targeted by police or that they are violating your rights by detaining or searching you or your vehicle or home, you should remain respectful towards the officers. You should not do anything that hinders the officers or attempt to physically resist arrest or flee, as these actions can be charged as criminal offenses separate from a possession of marijuana charge.
Contact Us Today for Help Facing a Marijuana Possession Charge
If you were arrested and charged with marijuana possession, call The Morris Firm at (850) 503-2626 for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your legal rights and options for defending yourself against your possession charge.
Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2020 at 1:04 pm
If you’re like most adults over the age of 18, you’ve heard about “marijuana decriminalization.” Essentially, decriminalization means that if someone is caught possessing marijuana for personal consumption for the first time, they will not be arrested, they won’t be sent to jail or prison, and they won’t acquire a criminal record.
Some of the states that have fully or partially decriminalized marijuana include California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont, Mississippi, Connecticut, Maine, and Maryland. Florida however, is NOT on the list and one of the main reasons for this is that Florida, like Texas, has a significant drug trafficking problem.
Florida is a Gateway for Illegal Drugs
“Florida’s proximity to drug-producing and transshipment countries and its well-developed transportation infrastructure make it an ideal gateway for the movement of both licit and illicit goods into and through the United States. Drug transporters frequently use maritime vessels, commercial and private aircraft, and package delivery services to smuggle illicit drugs into Florida.
“They also use commercial trucks and private vehicles and, to a lesser extent, buses and railcars to transport drugs into the state. Many of these conveyances also are used to transport illicit drugs from Florida to other states and cities–particularly New York and Atlanta–that serve as major transportation hubs and distribution centers for various illicit drugs,” according to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Florida Drug Threat Assessment.
In light of the above, marijuana possession is still illegal in Florida, unless they are a Florida resident who holds a Florida medical marijuana card and possess only what they’ve been prescribed (like any other prescription). For those who do not have a marijuana card, the penalties for marijuana possession in Florida are as follows:
- Possession of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000.
- Possession of more than 20 grams to 25 pounds is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
- Possession of more than 25 pounds but less than 2000 pounds is a felony, punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $25,000.
Are you facing marijuana charges? If so, we urge you to contact the Morris Firm at once to schedule a consultation. With extensive experience defending marijuana cases, we stand ready to fight zealously on your behalf.
Posted on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 at 12:39 pm
Legal Sex Age in Florida
In Florida, the age of consent is 18 years old, sexual intercourse with someone who is under 18 is considered statutory rape. There is a close-in-age exemption (Romeo & Juliet Law) allowing minors who are 16 or 17 to have sex with someone no older than 23 years old.
Here are the types of sex crimes in Florida that fall under statutory rape:
- Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors – This crime occurs when an adult who is at least 24 sexually penetrates a minor who is 16 or 17. Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum 15-year prison term and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
- Lewd and lascivious crimes involving a minor less than 16 years old – This crime occurs when a person over 18 years old engages in sexual conduct with a minor between 12 and 15 years of age. Depending on the circumstances of the case, lewd and lascivious crimes involving a minor less than 16 years old is charged between a third-degree felony and a life felony.
- Sexual battery on an individual less than 12 – This crime occurs when a person commits a sexual offense against a child who is younger than 12 years of age. Sexual battery is either a first-degree felony offense or a capital felony offense.
- Computer pornography or meeting up with minors – This crime occurs when an adult discusses sexual activity with a minor on the internet, with the intention to meet up and make sexual contact. Computer pornography or meeting up with minors can be charged as either a third- or second-degree felony.
Posted on Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 8:02 am
Florida businesses have a right to be drug-free workplaces. But the introduction of medical marijuana — combined with treatments for opioid addiction — leaves some with questions. Can you be high at work, if it’s prescribed by a doctor?
The answer, of course, has plenty of precedent.