Felony Marijuana Possession
When a person is arrested for allegedly possessing more than 20 grams (slightly less than three-quarters of an ounce) of cannabis in Florida, the crime is a felony offense. Felony convictions can have severe long-term consequences for alleged offenders.
In addition to lengthy prison sentences and enormous fines, people can experience numerous hardships relating to employment and public benefits as well as the loss of certain basic rights. Alleged offenders need to explore all of their legal options in order to ensure that they can achieve the most favorable resolutions to their cases.Lawyer for Felony Possession of Marijuana Arrests in Miami-Dade County, FL
Were you recently arrested in Florida for allegedly possessing more than 20 grams of cannabis? The Hoffman Firm can fight to get these criminal charges reduced or possibly even dismissed.
Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman is a former prosecutor who aggressively defends clients accused of marijuana crimes all over Miami-Dade County, including such communities as Aventura, Coral Gables, Hialeah, and South Miami. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (305) 249-0090 to schedule a free consultation.
North Miami Felony Cannabis Possession Information Center
- What are the consequences of being convicted for this marijuana crime?
- Are there any defenses against these cannabis charges?
- Where can I learn more about marijuana issues in Miami-Dade County?
Penalties for Felony Marijuana Possession in Florida
Possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis in Florida is a third-degree felony. Possession in these cases may be actual or constructive.
Actual possession is when an alleged offender has marijuana in his or her hands, on his or her person, in a container in his or her possession, or the cannabis is so close as to be within ready reach and under his or her control. Constructive possession involves the alleged offender being aware of the presence of marijuana that is in a place over which he or she has control.
A conviction for a felony of the third degree can result in serious punishments. The statutory maximums of a sentence for a third-degree felony include:
- Up to five years in prison;
- Fine of up to $5,000; and/or
- Driver’s license revoked for one year.
It is important to note that felony possession of marijuana becomes the crime of drug trafficking when an alleged offender possesses more than 25 pounds of cannabis.
Felony Possession of Cannabis Defenses in Miami-Dade County
An arrest for marijuana possession is not the same as a conviction. The prosecutor still needs to prove an alleged offender’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and there may be several defenses that a lawyer can raise.
While every case is unique, some of the most common defenses in felony cannabis possession cases can include, but are not limited to:
- Illegal Search and Seizure — The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. If law enforcement discovered marijuana after an illegal stop of your motor vehicle or an illegal search of your property, the evidence may be suppressed and the criminal charges will typically be dismissed.
- Unknowing Possession — The Florida Standard Jury Instructions for possession of a controlled substance offenses require the State to prove that an alleged offender knew of the presence of the controlled substance. If a person who was arrested for felony cannabis possession did not know that another party had left or was storing marijuana in the alleged offender’s motor vehicle or other property, the alleged offender may be able to invoke the affirmative defense of unwitting possession.
- Medical Necessity — While Florida has enacted certain medical marijuana laws, the acts have been largely limited. Some Florida courts have recognized use of the medical necessity defense in cannabis possession cases, and an alleged offender may be able use necessity as a defense if he or she can prove that his or her medical danger or emergency created a “real, imminent, and impending” harm that threatened the alleged offender. This defense can be successful when it can be proven that the harm the alleged offender needed the cannabis to avoid outweighed the harm caused by possessing marijuana.
Florida Resources for Felony Marijuana Possession
Florida | Marijuana Anonymous (MA) — MA identifies itself as “a fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction.” The Florida section of the MA website lists in-person meetings in the Sunshine State, but you can also find phone meetings and online meetings. The website also has answers to frequently asked questions and an online forum that allows users to seek help or discuss other marijuana issues.
Florida Marijuana Possession Laws | Public Policy Options for Effective Intervention — View this document published in February 2016 by the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA). Data in this report included comparisons between Florida’s cannabis arrests and the nation’s totals as well as marijuana use rates among teenagers and people of all ages. The report also discusses the impact of an arrest for a cannabis offense, rearrest rates for people charged with possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, and issues with racial disparities and court workloads.
If you were arrested for allegedly possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana in South Florida, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Hoffman Firm helps clients in Miami Beach, North Miami, Opa-locka, Key Biscayne, and many surrounding areas in Miami-Dade County.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who has experience on both sides of the aisle as a former Assistant State Attorney. This unique perspective allows him to help people identify their strongest defense options, and he can review your own case as soon as you call (305) 249-0090 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.