Call Today: 407-540-1551

Possession of Marijuana in Florida

It is a crime to possess any amount of marijuana in Florida and, depending on the amount, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony.

  • Possession of less than 20 grams is a First Degree Misdemeanor, and
  • Possession of more than 20 grams is a Third Degree Felony.

And because of the serious consequences for such a simple crime, it is important to know the:

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The possible penalties for marijuana possession depend on whether you are charged with misdemeanor possession or felony possession.

Misdemeanor Penalties for Possession of Marijuana

If convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana, you could receive any combination of the following penalties:

  • One year of probation,
  • One year in jail, or
  • A fine of up to a $1,000.

Felony Penalties for Possession of Marijuana

If convicted of felony possession of marijuana, you could receive any combination of the following penalties:

  • Five years of probation,
  • Five years in prison, or
  • A fine of up to a $5,000.

Driver's License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Possession of Cannabis will have their driver’s license or driving privilege revoked for one year by the Florida DHSMV.

Defenses to Marijuana Possession

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific and common defenses to the crime of Possession of Marijuana are:

Constructive Possession

If the cannabis was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Possession of Marijuana: [1]

  1. Knowledge of the cannabis' presence;
  2. Dominion and control over the cannabis.

Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Possession of Marijuana.

Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend's car and police found cannabis in the glove box, they would be unable to convict you of Possession of Marijuana unless they had some proof that you knew the cannabis was present.
Scenario 2: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend takes his personal stash of weed and places it at his feet. The police then stop you, see your friend's stash, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Possession of Marijuana because even though you knew the marijuana was there, your friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over it.

Illegal Search and Seizure

More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.

Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.

Lack of Knowledge

It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Possession of Marijuana if you can prove that you did not know the substance in your possession was cannabis. Importantly, this defense requires you to testify to your lack of knowledge of the substances' illegal nature. [2]

Overdose Defense

A person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose that needs medical assistance, or a person assisting the person that needs medical assistance, is immune from prosecution for Possession of Marijuana if it can be shown the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical assistance. [3]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged or arrested with the crime of Possession of Cannabis in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. GG v. State, 84 So. 3d 1162 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012)
  2. Florida Statute 893.101
  3. Florida Statute 893.21