In Florida, is in other states, law enforcement takes drug possession seriously. There are specific laws that apply to marijuana possession. If you have been charged with possession you need to take action to defend yourself. If convicted, the penalties can be severe, even for a first offense. Of course, the penalties will vary depending on how much marijuana was found in your possession. If you are found to possess less than 20 grams of marijuana you will typically be charged with a misdemeanor. If you are found with more than 20 grams it is considered a third degree felony charge. Drug charges are not to be taken lightly and the penalties, if convicted, can cause serious problems in your life for years to come.

Constructive Possession and Actual Possession

There are two main types of possession charges that may be made. Actual possession of marijuana means that you were found with drugs on your person, such as in your pocket. However, many cases of drug possession are constructive possession. Constructive possession is when the marijuana was found in a location where you, and possibly others, may have had access. In order to prove constructive possession of marijuana the prosecutor must show that you knew that marijuana was present, that you knew that the substance was indeed marijuana, and that you had control over the location where the marijuana was found. Your attorney will review the facts of your case to determine if this is provable in your situation.  Remember, the prosecutor must prove that you were in possession of marijuana in order to be convicted.

Probable Cause

Police must have probable cause in order to arrest someone of a crime, including possession of marijuana. Sometimes, law enforcement does not have enough probable cause to make an arrest but do so anyway. An experienced criminal defense attorney will review the facts of your arrest to determine if you were arrested without probable cause. If so, your attorney will try to prove that there is insufficient evidence against you and that any drugs found as a result must be suppressed. This is one of the best ways to defend drug charges. Another situation that may need to be suppressed is when any drugs were found through an illegal search warrant.  Again, your lawyer will utilize this to defend your drug charges.

What are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession Conviction?

Marijuana possession may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. The penalties for possession depend on how the crime is charged.

Penalties for Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession:

  • Up to a year of probation
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for a period of 2 years

Penalties for Felony Marijuana Possession:

  • Up to 5 years in jail
  • Up to 5 years probation
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for a period of  2 years

If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana you need the help of an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will review the case including the police and arrest report to determine your best defense. You must protect your rights and get the help of an attorney who will assist you in resolving the matter. A strong defense is important in reducing or eliminating charges and in the least possible penalties.