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Felony Possession / Over 20 Grams

Marijuana lawyer in Tallahassee

Despite Florida starting to become more lenient with its medical marijuana and legal hemp initiatives, it is important to address that you can still be arrested and prosecuted for the unlawful possession of marijuana. Currently, Florida separates marijuana possession charges into two categories: simple possession and felony possession.

Felony possession of marijuana is a more severe offense than simple possession. The main difference between the offenses is the amount of marijuana (also known as cannabis, weed, or pot) found in the accused person’s possession. Felony possession is the charge for possessing more than 20 grams of cannabis. Possession, in this case, does not include any resin from the plant, or anything created from the plant’s resin.

The penalties for a felony marijuana possession conviction are steep and can bear a heavy weight over your future. If convicted, you’re looking at expensive fines, extended imprisonment, loss of driving privileges, and a felony conviction on your record. The best way to combat a drug charge in Florida is by working with a defense attorney experienced in drug offenses.

Tallahassee Felony Marijuana Possession Lawyer

Marijuana charges can carry steep penalties, especially if it is a felony offense. The consequences of a marijuana possession conviction can go beyond the penalties given at sentencing and can create lasting effects on your future. If you’ve recently been arrested for a drug offense, an experienced attorney can analyze your case details and help plan for the best possible outcome.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are knowledgeable about Florida’s drug possession laws and can help you find defense strategies to reduce or dismiss your charge. Our office represents clients in Tallahassee, Bristol, Quincy, Monticello, Woodville, and nearby areas. Contact Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation today.

Information About Felony Marijuana Possession

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What is Felony Possession in Florida?

When it comes to accusations of marijuana possession in Florida, it can seem complicated to a person not well-versed in the legal field. This is partially due to Florida’s continuous changes to its laws pertaining to medical marijuana, hemp, and unlawful marijuana possession.

Keep in mind that in Florida, possession is considered as either constructive or actual possession. To charge a person with actual possession implies that they have current control over unlawful marijuana: meaning the marijuana is found on their actual body, or within their immediate reach. For example, the defendant was caught in possession of marijuana in their hand or in their pocket.

To charge a person with constructive possession implies that the marijuana is in the presence of the defendant, and their awareness that the marijuana was in their presence. Constructive possession is often harder to prove, as it requires the following three elements to prove it in Florida:

  • Defendant had the knowledge that marijuana was in their presence;
  • Defendant had the intent to take actual possession of marijuana; and
  • Defendant was able to take control of the marijuana at any point if they wanted to.

For example, if a defendant had marijuana in the glove compartment of their car, they knew it was there, and they knew it was illegal marijuana, they could be charged with constructive possession of marijuana.

Codified under Florida Statute Section 893.13, felony possession of marijuana is considered when a defendant is caught in the actual or constructive possession of marijuana that is over 20 grams.

A defendant who is caught in the actual or constructive possession of marijuana that is 20 grams or less is considered Simple Possession. Read more about the penalties and defense strategies for simple marijuana possession here.

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Penalties for Possession of Marijuana Over 20 Grams

Florida Statute Section 893.13 states that a person may not sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance. A defendant charged with felony possession of marijuana faces a third-degree felony. If convicted, the crime is punishable by:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines; and
  • Up to five years in prison.

Important: When it comes to penalties for unlawful marijuana possession, the exact fines and sentencing will be based on the quantity found in the defendant’s possession, which is listed below:

  • Possession of more than 25lbs and up to 2,000lbs of marijuana (or 300-2,000 plants): Second-degree felony, with up to $25,000 in fines and 15 years in prison. Includes a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison.
  • Possession of more than 2,000lbs and up to 10,000lbs of marijuana (or 2,000-10,000 plants): First-degree felony, with up to $50,000 in fines and 30 years in prison. Includes a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in prison.
  • Possession of 10,000lbs of cannabis or more: First-degree felony, with up to $200,000 in fines and 30 years in prison. Includes a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Keep in mind that a defendant accused of possessing marijuana in excess of 20 grams may also be charged with related charges, such as possession with the intent to sell, or drug trafficking.

Contact a drug defense attorney in Tallahassee to fight the charges against you.

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Additional Penalties for a Felony Possession Conviction

Unfortunately, the penalties for felony possession of marijuana do not stop at the statute-specific fines and sentencing. If you are convicted of a felony, you will have a criminal record. As a convicted felon in Florida, you may be required to register with the Sheriff in the county you were arrested in and provide the following information:

  • Fingerprints;
  • Defendant’s photograph;
  • Details of the offense;
  • The place of conviction;
  • Defendant’s name and/or aliases;
  • Defendant’s address; and
  • Defendant’s

Additionally, a felony conviction could prevent you from certain civil rights such as owning, possessing, or using a firearm, being allowed to vote, or from being allowed to hold public office.

Florida Statute Section 322.055 explains that a defendant who is convicted of the possession, sale of, or trafficking in a controlled substance shall have their driver’s license suspended for a period of 6 months, or until the individual is evaluated after completing a drug treatment and rehabilitation program. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm if you have questions regarding your license suspension or obtaining a hardship license in Florida.

Leon County Felony Drug Court

Depending on the circumstances of your criminal case, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program or receive help through the Drug Court.

In Florida, each county has an established Drug Court to help reduce drug use and criminal recidivism. The Leon County Drug Court is an alternative to incarceration that is offered to certain offenders charged with a drug crime. The defendant charged with a drug crime will have their case dismissed upon the successful completion of Drug Court. According to Leon County’s website, the Felony Drug Court program lasts for a minimum of 12 months and requires a firm commitment by the participant. To find out more about Florida’s Drug Pretrial Intervention program, you can read our page here.

Contact Pumphrey Law Firm if you have any questions regarding diversion programs or the Leon County Felony Drug Court.

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Defenses to a Felony Possession of Marijuana Charge

Getting arrested for a drug charge is an extremely stressful experience. If you are feeling lost and confused about what to do next, remember that you still have legal options even if you’ve already been charged with the offense. By hiring an attorney experienced in drug charges, you can work together to determine if any of the following defenses are applicable to your case:

  • Illegal Search and Seizure – The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizures by law enforcement. If the evidence in your felony possession case was obtained through illegal search or seizure, it could be deemed inadmissible in court. Example scenarios that may be considered illegal search and seizer include:
    • Lack of probable cause to search your property or person;
    • Officer provided an invalid warrant based on false information;
    • Police officer conducted an unlawful stop and frisk by approaching someone without reasonable suspicion; or
    • Officers obtained a search warrant but exceeded the scope of the warrant during the search.
  • Challenges to “Possession” – A conviction for felony possession of marijuana is based on the State’s proof that the defendant had marijuana in their actual or constructive possession. A defense attorney can help challenge the element of possession by examining police reports, witness statements, and any other relative information.
  • Violation of Constitutional Rights – If the arresting officers violated the defendant’s rights at any time during the investigation or arrest, it may be used as a defense in the case. An example of violating the defendant’s rights would be by failing to read them their Miranda Rights.

A motion to suppress will prevent the prosecution from using any illegally obtained evidence against you. If the prosecution is no longer able to charge you with a felony possession charge because they do not have enough evidence, your charges may be dismissed. Call the office of Pumphrey Law to consult with an experienced defense attorney and determine what defense strategies may help you win your case.

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Finding A Marijuana Defense Lawyer in Tallahassee

If you have been charged with felony possession of marijuana in Leon County or the surrounding North Florida area, contact the attorneys at Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your case. It is important to hire a knowledgeable attorney who can help you through this difficult process. Our goal is to get your charges lessened or dismissed completely so you can get back on the right track and move on with your life. Call (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation and take the first step towards freedom.

 


Page Updated January 15, 2024

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