Over 100 Not Guilty Verdicts At Trial | Over 2,000 Dismissals
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Marijuana is the most frequently used illegal substance in Florida and the United States. Although states throughout the country have amended their laws regarding marijuana, Florida’s marijuana laws remain particularly harsh. Charges and convictions can lead to severe punishments, including both criminal punishments and additional indirect consequences.
One of the most severe consequences of a marijuana offense is its effect on your ability to legally drive. A conviction for any marijuana charge under Florida law will result in an immediate two-year driver’s license suspension. Other indirect consequences include a ban from certain financial aid for educational purposes and public housing.
Marijuana offenses should be taken seriously, no matter the charge. Even if you think possession of the substance should not be a crime, Florida laws still consider the drug illegal. If you are facing any sort of marijuana charges, it is imperative to hire an attorney who will defend your charges aggressively.
The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have defended various drug-related charges throughout Leon County, and they will fight for your rights. The attorneys understand the importance of fighting the criminal charges and keeping your right to drive. A marijuana defense lawyer will handle your case with the utmost importance and work to get the best possible result.
Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout the Florida Panhandle, including Tallahassee Woodville, Midway, Havana, Monticello and Bristol. Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free consultation.
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, pot or weed, remains a Schedule I drug in Florida under Florida Statute § 893.03. This classification means possession and any other act involving the use or sale of the substance is considered illegal in the state.
The Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, codified in Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, defines the state’s marijuana laws and the penalties associated with charges. Some possible marijuana charges in Florida include:
Penalties for marijuana offenses differ based on the alleged crime and the amount of drugs involved in the alleged crime. Certain cannabis convictions in Florida will result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license for two years pursuant to Florida Statutes § 322.055, whether or not the charge was driving related. Other convictions can lead to:
Marijuana offenses in Florida classified as first-degree misdemeanors can incur jail sentences for up to one year, fines up to $1,000 or both. Second-degree misdemeanor offenses can result in up to 60 days in jail, fines up to $500 or both.
A third-degree felony can result in up to five years in state prison up to $5,000 in fines or both. Second-degree marijuana felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in state prison and fines up to $25,000. First-degree felonies can incur up to 30 years in prison, fines up to $200,000 or both.
For amounts of marijuana in excess of 25 pounds or 300 plants, the offense is considered a drug trafficking charge. Marijuana trafficking in Florida is a first-degree felony, which carries up to 30 years in prison, with mandatory minimums and fines defined by statute.
Trafficking in 25 to 2,000 pounds or 300 to 2,000 plants of cannabis also has a mandatory minimum. If convicted, a person could face three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. For 2,000 to 10,000 pounds of marijuana or cannabis plants, trafficking carries a minimum of seven years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine. Trafficking of 10,000 pounds/plants or more of cannabis has a mandatory minimum of 15 years with a maximum $200,000 fine.
Florida passed legislation in 2008 regarding the laws and penalties pertaining to grow houses in the state. The Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, codified in Florida Statutes § 893.1351, makes growing 25 marijuana plants in a home evidence of an intent to sell or distribute marijuana.
This charge would result in a felony conviction with up to 15 years in prison. Also, if you are a landlord or resident of a grow house, you could be charged with a felony and serve time in prison.
Previously, Florida legislation provided that type of punishment for growing 300 or more plants. Now, a number of plants have been drastically reduced. Further, federal trafficking laws permit up to 100 plants to be grown in a house before such a harsh penalty is imposed.
Florida law defines a marijuana plant as anything with evidence of root formation, even if it is a seedling or cutting. This legislation makes Florida one of the most stringent states regarding cannabis laws.
Governor Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 in June of that year, but the bill was highly restrictive in how the low-potency strain of cannabis known as “Charlotte’s Web” could be used and who could use it. In addition to limiting the high cannabidiol (CBD), low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) marijuana to Florida residents suffering from certain medical symptoms, approved users could only utilize pills, oils, or vaporization, as administration by smoking was prohibited.
The following year, Governor Scott signed the Right to Try Act, which allows doctors to prescribe experimental drugs and treatments to terminally ill patients but did not include medical marijuana. Ballot initiatives have sought to expand medical marijuana use, but a state measure in 2014 failed to gain the 60 percent supermajority of support necessary for passage of a constitutional amendment.
The Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative will be on the ballot again in November 2016. Despite the continuing legality issues, some Florida courts have recognized the medical necessity defense in some medical cannabis cases.
Your defense attorney may be able to assist you in finding an error committed by an officer that can result in your charge being dropped or reduced to other defenses. Your attorney can help you determine your best option for a defense or plea deal based on the facts of your case, past criminal history and any other mitigating circumstances.
Your attorney can file a motion to dismiss if there is not enough evidence to charge you specifically with a cannabis offense. For example, if you are charged with possession of marijuana, but were not in actual or constructive possession, then your attorney may be able to file a motion to dismiss.
A motion to suppress could be another possible defense. This can be filed by your attorney to prevent the prosecution from using evidence found as a result of an illegal search and seizure. If a search of your home, car or person was illegally conducted by the police, any cannabis found from the search is inadmissible as evidence.
Other possible defenses to marijuana charges include:
If you have been charged with a marijuana offense in Leon County, contact Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular case. There may be ways to reduce your charge or have it completely dismissed. Finding an experienced Tallahassee criminal attorney who is familiar with Florida drug laws can help you fight harsh punishments. Call (850) 681-7777 for a consultation about your case.
This article was last updated on October 26, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.
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