Will I Go to Jail for Marijuana Possession in Florida?

Will I Go to Jail for Marijuana Possession in Florida?

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Florida, you are likely concerned about what comes next legally. Many visitors to Florida are surprised to learn that the state has relatively strict drug laws. In the absence of a medical-use license, it is illegal to use or possess marijuana in Florida, even in small amounts. In other words, medical use is legal (with a valid medical I.D.), but recreational use is not. The qualifying conditions for a medical I.D. card in Florida are fairly broad, but they are only helpful if you have one prior to possession.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Florida

Possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana constitutes a misdemeanor, which an accompanying penalty of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony, with an accompanying penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The delivery of small amounts of marijuana (20 grams or less) carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $1,000. Delivery of up to 25 pounds of marijuana carries a potential sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

Certain aggravating factors may significantly affect the penalties. For instance, selling or delivering marijuana within a 1,000 foot radius of a school, college, or park constitutes a felony, carrying a possible sentence of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The maximum possible charge for marijuana possession carries a 30-year prison sentence.

It is also important to note that some counties in Florida give police officers discretion to issue a civil infraction or a criminal charge for possession of small amounts of marijuana (under 20 grams). So depending on the county you are caught in, the penalties can vary significantly.

If you are facing criminal charges in central Florida, do not waste any time. Contact HAWM Law and find out how our lawyers can help protect your freedom.

Defenses to Marijuana Possession Charge

If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Florida, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to put forth the strongest possible version of your case and develop a strategy that anticipates and prepares to effectively argue against any arguments from the prosecution.

There are many ways to challenge a marijuana possession charge. For starters, you can challenge the charge by arguing that the marijuana was not yours. This can apply in situations in which you have borrowed a friend’s coat or car without realizing there is marijuana inside. Additionally, you can challenge that the alleged substance is actually marijuana. Field drug tests results are frequently inaccurate and perfectly legal substances are mistakenly identified as illicit substances all the time. It is important to do your due diligence. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to challenge the validity of the search that led to police finding marijuana. If the search uncovering the drugs was not legal, any evidence recovered as a result of the search (including marijuana) is considered “fruit of the poisonous tree” and cannot be considered in court. This generally leads to a dismissal of charges.

If it is a first-time offense, in many cases, your lawyer will be able to help you avoid any prison time.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Florida, the next step you take is a very important one. Contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at HAWM Law and schedule your free consultation today.