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Felony possession of marijuana is a more serious crime than simple possession. The two vary based on the amount of cannabis involved in the alleged crime. Felony possession is commonly known as 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.
A person also can be charged with this offense if he or she has 25 or more cannabis plants. Florida laws define illegal marijuana plants as anything with even the smallest amount of root formation. If someone possesses this amount of plants, it can be used as evidence the person was intending to sell or distribute the marijuana, which can lead to even greater penalties.
Marijuana charges can carry steep penalties, especially if it is a felony charge. The consequences of a marijuana possession conviction in Florida go beyond the penalties given at sentencing and into the lasting effects such a conviction can have on your future. If you have been charged with felony possession of marijuana, an experienced attorney at Pumphrey Law can analyze the facts of your particular case to find the best possible outcome.
The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are knowledgeable about Florida’s drug possession laws, and they can help you find defenses to reduce your charge or have it dismissed altogether. The law office represents clients in Tallahassee, Bristol, Quincy, Monticello, Woodville and nearby areas. Contact Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 for a consultation about your alleged charges.
Possession in Florida can be either constructive or actual possession. In order for someone to have actual possession, they have to have control of the marijuana, or the marijuana has to be on their actual body. For example, they have to have the marijuana in their hand or in their pocket.
Constructive possession can be harder to prove and it requires three elements in Florida. The marijuana has to be in the presence of the person charged with the offense, and they had to know the marijuana was in their presence. The alleged offender also must know the marijuana was an illicit, or illegal, substance.
For example, if someone has marijuana in the glove compartment of their car, they knew it was there, and they knew it was illegal, they could be charged with constructively possessing the marijuana. However, if the marijuana is somewhere else in the car, it could be argued the driver did not know it was there.
Whether or not you were in possession of the cannabis can be a factor in reducing your charges or even having them dismissed. For example, if a prosecutor cannot demonstrate you had either actual or constructive possession, the prosecution probably would not have enough evidence to charge you with felony possession of marijuana. If there is not sufficient evidence, the charges could be dismissed.
Under Florida Statute § 893.13, felony possession of marijuana is a felony of the third degree. The crime can be punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
Also, if someone illegally possesses 25 marijuana plants or more, he or she can be charged with a second-degree felony and serve up to 15 years in prison and face fines up to $10,000.
A two-year suspension of your driver’s license can also be a penalty for a felony conviction, without any possibility of obtaining a work-related or provisional driver’s license for the first year of the suspension. Contact a drug attorney in Tallahassee to fight the charges against you.
If you are convicted of a felony, you will have a criminal record. This means you will not be permitted licensing for certain occupations and you will be required to disclose the information on job applications.
As a convicted felon in Florida, an offender may be required to register with the sheriff of any county they enter within the first 48 hours as stated in Fla. Stat. § 775.13. They must provide the additional information:
Also, a felony conviction could prevent you from owning, possessing or using a firearm, from being allowed to vote, being able to enlist in the military and from being allowed to hold public office.
If you are convicted of this offense, you may have certain options available to reduce your charges or have them dismissed, including various violations of your constitutional rights. For example, the arresting officer may have violated your constitutional right against self-incrimination if they did not read you Miranda Warnings.
If you said anything against your interest after the officer failed to give you Miranda warnings, the prosecution will not be able to use this evidence against you. Therefore, if the prosecution does not have enough other evidence to charge you with felony possession of marijuana, your charge may be dismissed.
Also, if an unreasonable search and seizure were conducted by your arresting officer, or they illegally searched you, your home or your car, your attorney may be able to file a motion to suppress the charge.
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 will likely be dismissed.
If you have been charged with a felony possession of marijuana in Florida, 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 the process. Call (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation and begin putting your life back on track.
Article last updated October 22, 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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