While many states have relaxed their laws regarding marijuana possession, Florida continues to impose heavy penalties even for relatively small amounts of the drug. Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. Holding more than 20 grams is a felony carrying penalties of up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Nevertheless, if you are facing marijuana possession charges in Florida, an experienced attorney can raise one or more of many possible defenses available, depending on the circumstances. They include:
- Medical marijuana use — While Florida does not allow possession of marijuana for recreational use, medical use is allowed for holders of a special card issued by a state-certified physician. This is a defense to possession under circumstances consistent with medical use. Holding large amounts may violate the scope of the privilege.
- No constructive or actual possession of the marijuana — In order to be charged with possession of a drug in Florida, a suspect must have actual possession or constructive possession (within his immediate control) of the drug. Mere presence of the drug in the defendant’s vicinity is not enough.
- Entrapment — Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer or informant induces a person to commit a crime he or she otherwise would not have committed. If an officer pressures a suspect to hold or pass marijuana to another person, this could be considered entrapment.
- Illegal search & seizure —If the marijuana is found during an illegal search, namely, one that occurs without a warrant or in connection with a valid arrest, it cannot be admitted into evidence at trial.
- Failure to Mirandize upon arrest — Law enforcement must advise an arrested person of his or her rights to remain silent and to consult with an attorney. If the arresting officer fails to do so, any confession or evidence obtained from the arrest will not be permitted at trial.
If you have been charged with a marijuana possession crime in Florida, the attorneys at Largey Law Firm are here to help. We are skilled at building strong defenses and negotiating plea bargains when advantageous to our clients. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced lawyer, contact us online. We have offices in Tavares, Clermont and Inverness.