With the popularity of medical marijuana, the United States has slowly over time decriminalized cannabis possession in many states. In some areas, the possession and sale of marijuana is even legal. However, the state of Florida still recognizes possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor offense. This means you could be fined excessively and face possible incarceration if convicted for marijuana possession under 20 grams.
Florida courts refer to possession cases with small amounts of a controlled substance as “simple possession.” Don’t let the name fool you, however. The penalties associated with misdemeanor marijuana possession are incredibly serious and can cause a multitude of long-term difficulties in the future. If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of marijuana under 20 grams, then it’s important you seek experienced legal representation.
Defense Attorney for Simple Marijuana Possession in Palm Beach County, FL
Have you been charged with simple possession of cannabis in Florida? Don’t plead guilty or you’ll face the harsh penalties which can include time in jail. Get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney to review your legal options today. Find a skilled defense lawyer with a background in marijuana cases at Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. will fight to achieve the best possible outcome with the fewest long-term consequences for their clients. We have years of criminal defense representation experience and can utilize our knowledge for your case. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington and Jupiter.
Overview of Simple Marijuana Possession in FL
- Penalties for Simple Marijuana Possession in FL
- License Suspension Because of Marijuana Charges in FL
- Notice to Appear Citation for Possession
- Additional Resources
Penalties for Simple Marijuana Possession in Florida
The State of Florida determines the penalties of marijuana possession by the drug amount found at arrest. Under Florida Statue Section 893.13(6), possessing anything less than twenty grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to one year in jail; and
- Fine of up to $1,000
In Florida, you can be found in either actual or constructive possession of marijuana. Actual possession is when cannabis is found on your person such as in your pockets, hands or anywhere else that’s considered in your direct and immediate control.
Constructive possession is when the drug is found in a place where you had control such as your car, apartment, in a locker, or anywhere else where only you have access. If a simple possession case involves constructive possession, then the prosecutor is obligated to prove that you not only had control over the area where the marijuana was discovered but was also aware that there was cannabis secured in that area.
License Suspension Because of Marijuana Charges in Florida
As an additional penalty, the State of Florida automatically suspends your driver’s license for up to two years after a simple marijuana possession conviction. The license suspension would make it illegal for you to drive until the license is reinstated. It could also lead to a drastic increase in your auto insurance rates, which could last for years.
In addition, you cannot receive a hardship or business purpose only driver’s license for at least the first year of your suspension. A hardship or business purpose only driver’s license is a restricted type of driving permit that allows you to only drive to specific places during specific times. To obtain a hardship license or business purpose only license, you will have to request a hearing at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSTMV). At the hearing, you will be able to contest the suspension and give reasons as to why you need a hardship license to function in society.
Notice to Appear Citation for Marijuana Possession in FL
Over the last five years, Florida legislators have attempted to decriminalize marijuana possession slowly to unclog the judicial system. One of these steps is to issue a “notice to appear” citation rather than outright arresting someone for simple marijuana possession. If an officer believes you aren’t a “flight risk,” then they may issue you a notice to appear in court rather than book you in the jail system.
A “flight risk” means you are likely to attempt to escape your court date or criminal charges. Most charged with simple marijuana possession simply want to get their case over as soon as possible with minimal penalties, so officers tend to issue these tickets instead of arrest.
Many notice to appear notifications may look common to standard traffic tickets. This misconception can often lead some alleged offenders in believing they aren’t charged with a criminal charge and they simply must pay a fine. It’s important you don’t make this mistake and follow your notice to appear instructions to a tee. If you don’t show up in court, then the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.
What’s good about receiving a notice to appear citation is that if you have the help of a skilled attorney you may be able to receive a quick dismissal. This is because notice to appear notifications are normally given to people who have little to no criminal record and have a relatively quick clearance for participation in a pretrial diversion program.
Florida Resources for Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession
Marijuana Anonymous (MA) — While many people can use cannabis without becoming addicted to it, there are some who do end up becoming chemically dependent on it. 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.” Through the MA website, you can view literature about marijuana addiction and find MA Video Chat Meetings to listen and meet other addicts.
Marijuana Arrests by the Numbers | American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — The ACLU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose analysis shows marijuana arrests account for over half of all drug arrests in all of the United States. Look at the slideshow to learn some astonishing statistics about the nation’s cannabis arrests. You can also view material related to mass incarceration and how it’s related to racial injustice in the United States.
West Palm Beach Attorney for Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession in FL
If you or someone you know has been arrested for allegedly possession 20 grams or less of cannabis in Florida, then it’s in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as you can. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents clients accused of all sorts of marijuana crimes including possession, drug trafficking, operation of a marijuana grow house and more.
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. defends people charged with drug crimes in the Palm Beach County area including Wellington, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Boca Raton. You can reach us at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation free of charge.