When it comes to Florida drug possession laws, you don’t get a break when you’re accused of marijuana possession. Despite what seems to be a growing acceptance of the substance, it’s still against the law. And while some states have moved to decriminalize possession of marijuana in small amounts, Florida has not. Yes, this means you can be sentenced to jail time for even a few grams of pot.
Most people charged with possession of marijuana are first time and last time offenders. Because they’ve never faced criminal charges and don’t expect to again, the prospect of potential jail time can be extremely frightening. A local defense attorney is helpful to put these fears to rest. They can provide insight into exactly how the criminal process works and what your options are. Their job is to represent your best interests and help minimize the impact of these charges on your life.
Florida Marijuana Possession – Laws & Penalties
The penalty you face for possession of marijuana depends on how much you are charged with possessing. Obviously, if you are caught with several pounds, you will face a harsher penalty than if you are caught with one joint or blunt.
|Amount of Marijuana||Charge||Potential Sentence|
|25 plants or more||3rd Degree Felony||15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines|
|More than 20 grams||4th Degree Felony||5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines|
|Less than 20 grams||1st Degree Misdemeanor||1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines|
Ref: Florida Criminal Statutes §893.13
Distribution of Marijuana
A far more serious charge than possession, distribution of marijuana carries longer potential sentences and heftier fines. There are evenmandatory minimum sentences for many distribution and cultivation type offenses.
If you are charged with distribution of 25 to 2,000 pounds, you will face a minimum of 3 years in prison. If there are 2,000 to 10,000 pounds, that mandatory minimum sentence jumps to 7 years. And if you are accused of a very large scale operation, distributing more than 10,000 pounds, you will face a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison.
What Are Your Options?
The first thing you should do when you are contacted by police or arrested on marijuana charges is speak to an attorney. Depending on the charge and your record, you could qualify to serve probation instead of jail time. However, if the police violated your rights in any way during the arrest or search, your attorney could motion to have the evidence suppressed and the charges dropped.
Being charged with criminal possession or even distribution of marijuana can be frightening. A local defense lawyer can help put your mind at ease, and help you though the difficult experience of facing a criminal drug charge.