Pensacola Marijuana Crime Lawyer
If you were arrested for a criminal offense involving marijuana, you need an experienced and dedicated defense team from The Morris Firm. We know the uphill battle you’re facing and the legal ramifications of a conviction. Even if the charges are dropped, your reputation might already be ruined and could pose significant challenges in your life. You might have trouble finding a job, keeping your family together, or maintaining the excellent reputation you once had within your community.
You can depend on your Pensacola drug crimes lawyer to be your advocate and fight hard to secure your freedom and future. Our legal team will work tirelessly to get your entire case dismissed, or at the very least, get the charges dropped or reduced. You don’t have to face this legal challenge alone. We will remain by your side until the end and provide the support, guidance, and services you need and deserve.
At The Morris Firm, we provide clients in Pensacola and throughout Florida with aggressive and compassionate representation. When you hire us, you will receive one-on-one attention from your attorney and honest communication.
We know this is a scary situation that you find yourself in, and you don’t know what your future might hold. We will go above and beyond to reach a favorable outcome in your case and help get your life back on track.
Call The Morris Firm at (850) 503-2626 right now for a free case evaluation with a qualified Pensacola marijuana crime lawyer.
Florida Marijuana Laws
Recreational use of marijuana is not legal in Florida. However, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2014. Any resident with a qualifying medical condition and a valid medical marijuana card may purchase, possess, deliver, use, administer, or transfer marijuana if a certified physician authorizes it. A physician’s recommended cannabis limit cannot exceed three 70-day supplies.
According to Florida statute § 381.986(2), qualifying medical conditions include:
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Being HIV positive
- Medical conditions comparable to or of the same class or kind as those listed above
- A diagnosed terminal condition from a doctor other than the one prescribing the use of medical marijuana
- Chronic nonmalignant pain
If you were arrested or charged with the purchase or possession of marijuana but have a valid card allowing you to use cannabis for medical purposes, you did not do anything illegal. The Morris Firm could use that evidence to show that you’re innocent and should not face any legal consequences.
However, if the offense was recreational possession or another type of crime, you might face criminal penalties. Your Pensacola marijuana crime lawyer will try to find a way to beat the charges you’re facing so you don’t have to serve time in jail.
Types of Marijuana Crimes In Florida
Depending on the circumstances of the offense and the amount of cannabis involved, you could face a range of charges. Some are merely misdemeanor crimes, while others can result in a felony conviction and harsh penalties.
The types of marijuana charges you could face are:
- Possession with the intent to distribute
- Selling or distributing
- Possession of cannabis paraphernalia
State laws provide mandatory sentencing guidelines for judges to use in court. The judge can use these guidelines at their discretion and any mitigating or aggravating factors to increase or decrease the amount of jail time you receive.
A knowledgeable Pensacola marijuana crime lawyer from The Morris Firm understands these laws and the proper defenses to use to reduce the sentence or get the case thrown out for insufficient evidence.
Defining Florida Marijuana Offenses
The Drug Enforcement Administration categorizes marijuana (cannabis) as a Schedule I controlled substance. It’s illegal to commit an offense using any amount of the drug without a valid card authorizing its use for medical purposes.
If an officer found any amount of marijuana in your hands or the pocket of your pants, that would be an actual possession. However, if marijuana is near but not on you, that would be constructive possession. Determining whether someone was in possession of marijuana depends on multiple factors. Prosecutors must prove that:
- You were aware that marijuana was present;
- You were in control of it; and
- There is proof that the substance in your possession was marijuana.
Possession With The Intent To Distribute
This charge involves possessing marijuana with the intent to transfer or deliver possession to someone else. It does not have to include any type of financial transaction. The prosecution also doesn’t have to prove that there was a sale or that you were delivering the cannabis to another person. Merely having a large quantify in your vehicle while you were driving somewhere is typically enough to arrest someone for this offense.
Trafficking refers to anyone who is in constructive or actual possession of more than 25 pounds of cannabis or at least 300 cannabis plants, or manufactures, purchases, delivers, sells, or brings marijuana into the state of Florida.
Selling or Distributing
The sale or delivery of marijuana occurs when someone manufactures, sells, or delivers cannabis or possesses it with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver it to another person.
Marijuana manufacturing involves producing, compounding, growing, converting, cultivating, preparing, or processing via natural resources, chemical synthesis, or both directly or indirectly. It’s also a crime to participate in the packaging, repackaging, or relabeling of the drug. You could be charged with this offense if you were involved in any step of the manufacturing process.
Possession Of Cannabis Paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia includes any product, equipment, or material used, intended for use, or designed for cultivating, planting, harvesting, compounding, propagating, growing, manufacturing, preparing, analyzing, processing, packaging, repackaging, injecting, containing, inhaling, concealing, ingesting, converting, producing, preparing, storing, testing, transporting, or otherwise introducing marijuana into the body.
Possession of paraphernalia, much like possession of marijuana, could be actual or constructive. Actual possession means the offender has it on their person or within easy reach and under their control. Constructive possession means it’s not on them, but they have control over it.
You Have Certain Rights After An Arrest
It’s critical that you understand what your rights are if an officer arrests you for a crime related to marijuana. Even if law enforcement arrests and books you into jail, you do not have to speak to them about the alleged offense. They might try to ask you questions like why you had cannabis in your vehicle, but you do not have to answer. You should treat them with respect but politely assert your right to remain silent.
You also have the right to ask for a lawyer. If you request to speak to your lawyer at any time, the police officer must stop questioning you and provide the means to contact an attorney. If they ignore your request and continue to ask questions about the crime they believe you committed, anything you say would be inadmissible in court.
Florida Penalties for Marijuana Crimes
Since a range of marijuana offenses exist and come with punishments that depend on the amount of drugs found by law enforcement, mandatory sentencing guidelines determine the consequences of a conviction. Each crime is either a misdemeanor or felony.
Florida uses degrees to indicate the severity of the crime. Each degree provides a maximum sentence for fines and jail time. The charge you may face will depend on the type of offense and the weight of drugs involved.
|Second-degree misdemeanor||60 days||$500|
|First-degree misdemeanor||One year||$1,000|
|Third-degree felony||Five years||$5,000|
|Second-degree felony||15 years||$25,000|
|First-degree felony||30 years||$50,000|
The circumstances of the crime you’re accused of could influence the punishment a judge decides you deserve if they convict you. The weight of marijuana determines the mandatory sentencing you face. These penalties include:
Possession of Marijuana
- Up to 20 grams: First-degree misdemeanor
- Between 20 grams and 25 pounds, or fewer than 25 plants: Third-degree felony
- Between 25 pounds and 2,000 pounds, or 25-300 plants: Second-degree felony
- Over 2,000 pounds or 2,000-10,000 plants: First-degree felony
Possession With Intent To Distribute
- Up to 20 grams: First-degree misdemeanor
- Up to 25 lbs: Third-degree felony
- Possession or sale within 1,000 feet of public housing, college, school, park, or place of worship: Second-degree felony
Trafficking of Marijuana
- Between 25 and 1,999 pounds: Second-degree felony
- Between 2,000 and 9,999 pounds: First-degree felony
- Over 10,000 pounds: First-degree felony
Selling or Distributing Marijuana
- Less than 20 grams without a financial transaction: First-degree misdemeanor
- Up to 25 pounds: Third-degree felony
- Over 25 pounds: first-degree felony
- Manufacturing: Third-degree felony
- In possession of a grow house: Second-degree felony
Possession of Cannabis Paraphernalia
- First-degree misdemeanor
Whether you receive a misdemeanor or felony conviction involving marijuana, you not only have to serve time behind bars, but you could also face various challenges upon your release. You might find it challenging to apply for a job or housing since your criminal offense becomes a matter of public record. You could also face issues if you want to apply for higher education. A drug crime ruins your reputation, and it could take a long time for you to get your life back on track.
Common Defenses Used Against Marijuana Charges
One of the first steps in determining the right legal strategy for someone facing a marijuana crime charge is to prove whether law enforcement violated your rights during the traffic stop, arrest, search, detention, booking, or interrogation. You have protection against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. If an officer unlawfully searched your home or vehicle and found something incriminating, we could file a Motion to Suppress Evidence so the prosecutor can’t submit it during the trial.
Other common situations that could justify suppressing evidence during your case include:
- Invalid search warrant or lack of one
- Police did not have probable cause for a traffic stop
- Marijuana was not in plain view of the officer
- Violation of Miranda rights
- Issues with evidence in the chain of custody
- Destruction of or tampering with evidence
- Unlawful detaining or arresting of the defendant
- Improper execution of a search warrant
The next step in preparing a defense against a marijuana offense charge is to find evidence that proves your innocence or look for a way to poke holes in the prosecutor’s theories. It’s the State’s job to prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If we can plant the seeds of doubt in the jurors’ minds, we might be able to get your case dismissed. Examples of defenses we could use include:
- You have a valid medical marijuana card
- You weren’t in actual or constructive possession of the marijuana
- A witness to the crime falsely identified you as the perpetrator
- You had a harmless substance that was mistaken for marijuana
- Someone threatened or forced you into committing the offense
When you hire a Pensacola marijuana crime lawyer from The Morris Firm, we will review the facts of the case and determine the options for defending you. For some clients, the best strategy is to negotiate a plea deal. For others, it might be better to take the case to trial if there’s a lack of significant evidence from the prosecution. The route we choose will depend on the offense you’re accused of committing and the associated circumstances.
Do not hesitate to reach out to The Morris Firm if you were arrested for a marijuana crime in Pensacola. Our legal team will exhaust all resources to develop the right plan that gets the charges against you reduced or dropped. We know a conviction can upend a person’s life and ruin their reputation. You can depend on us to work diligently on your case from start to finish to protect your rights and secure your future.
Your Pensacola marijuana crime lawyer is available 24/7, so you can reach us at times that are most convenient for you. We get to know each client who walks through our office doors so we can meet their needs and achieve their goals. When you hire us, we will provide guidance and support during this challenging time in your life, as well as comprehensive legal services. You won’t have to go through this alone.
If you’re facing a marijuana crime charge and want to discuss a defense strategy with us, call (850) 503-2626 right now for your free case evaluation with a highly reputable Pensacola marijuana crime lawyer.