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Simple possession of marijuana is defined as having anything in your possession less than 20 grams, or about ¾ of an ounce. This can include cannabis, pot, ganja, bud, chronic or weed, but it does not include any resin from the plant, or anything created from the plant’s resin. This is the least penalized marijuana possession offense.
Any officer who arrests you for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana will attempt to find additional evidence to indicate you were trying to sell the marijuana. A charge for possession of marijuana with intent to sell has much greater penalties and repercussions. No matter the charge, a marijuana defense lawyer in Tallahassee can help.
Marijuana charges can have a lasting impact, even if it is a misdemeanor. The charges against you still should be taken seriously, and you should work to ensure your rights are represented. An experienced drug defense lawyer at the Pumphrey Law can analyze the particular facts of your case to find potential defenses or reasons to have your charge reduced or dismissed altogether.
The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are knowledgeable about Florida’s drug laws and can help you avoid serious consequences. Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout the Florida Panhandle, including those in Tallahassee, Bristol, Quincy, Monticello, Crawfordville and the surrounding areas. Contact Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation about your alleged charges.
Florida defines possession as either actual or constructive. Actual possession occurs when someone has direct control over the marijuana, or the marijuana is actually on their body. For example, if a person is found to have marijuana in his or her hand, it could be considered actual possession.
Constructive possession is a little more complex and can be harder to prove. Constructive possession means the substance was within a person’s reach and he or she had the intention to take actual possession of it. Constructive possession usually requires three elements in Florida, including:
Sometimes if a prosecutor is unable to establish you had either actual or constructive possession of marijuana, the charges against you may be dismissed because they will not have enough evidence to charge you with the offense. A Tallahassee drug defense lawyer can examine your case and help you build a defense to the charges.
Florida Statute § 893.13 states that a person convicted of simple possession of marijuana in Florida is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. A conviction could mean a punishment including fines up to $1,000, jail time up to one year or both.
Another harsh penalty could include an automatic two-year suspension of your driver’s license without any possibility of obtaining a work-related or provisional driver’s license for the first year. In addition, there could be increases in automobile insurance and a criminal record. Further, you may be denied certain employment, housing, school scholarships or other governmental assistance for having a criminal record.
Felony possession of marijuana is classified as possessing more than 20 grams. The offense carries harsher penalties than simple possession of marijuana, including steeper fines and longer jail sentences.
Leon County provides for a misdemeanor diversion program where an eligible misdemeanor offender can avoid being charged with the offense if he or she completes all of the necessary programs. This is a good alternative to a criminal record if a person is eligible for the program.
Once enrolled, the offender would be required to complete community service hours under the Work Program, pay required fines and fees and watch an educational video. An offender typically will have 90 days to complete the program. Upon completion, the misdemeanor charge will be dismissed.
There are options to fight this offense. The arresting officer charging you with a possession of marijuana offense may have violated your constitutional rights. For example, if the officer conducted an unreasonable search and seizure or illegally searched you, your home or your car, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the charge.
A motion to suppress will eliminate the prosecution from using any illegal evidence against you. If the prosecution no longer has any evidence to charge you with your possession charge after the motion to suppress is granted, then your charges will likely be dismissed.
Other defenses can include mistaken identity if the marijuana was not yours, inability to demonstrate constructive or actual possession or entrapment by law enforcement. A marijuana defense lawyer can help you establish a defense in your case.
If you have been arrested for simple possession of marijuana in Leon County, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular case. It is important to hire a knowledgeable attorney who can help you find the best possible outcome for the charges against you. Call (850) 681-7777 or contact us online for a free consultation about your alleged offense.
Article last updated August 5, 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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