Unlike other controlled substances, possession of a small amount of marijuana can be a misdemeanor — befitting the relatively harmless nature of the substance. However, just because charges are misdemeanors do not mean that they should not be treated seriously. Misdemeanor marijuana convictions can result in jail time and fines. But even if you get probation, you may find that your record leads to difficulty getting a job and trouble obtaining student financial aid.
It’s important to take even misdemeanor possession charges seriously. With Meltzer & Bell, P.A., you will have a serious West Palm Beach marijuana possession lawyer who will fight for your rights and defend you. We will seek the strongest defense for you to seek to have your charges reduced or dismissed. An experienced, skilled attorney will be available to you 24/7.
We represent people accused in Palm Beach County, including in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter and Wellington. We can also represent clients in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Call us at (561) 557-8686 to set up a free consultation.
Under Florida Statutes Annotated § 893.13(6)(a), a person may be convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession if prosecutors can prove the person had actual or constructive possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis.
Actual possession means having the marijuana on the accused’s person — such as in his or her pocket. Constructive possession means the accused had the pot or weed in a place that he or she has control over. For instance, if the accusation is that the marijuana was in a dresser drawer, then prosecutors must prove that the accused had exclusive control over that drawer.
Twenty grams is less than three quarters of an ounce.
If convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession, you could face up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
However, the consequences can extend beyond jail time and fines. If you are convicted, the marijuana charge will be on your record for a long time before it is eligible to be expunged, if it ever is. You may be branded a “pothead” and have a hard time getting a job. You may also be denied if you apply for federal student financial aid.
For most misdemeanor cannabis charges, you will be eligible for drug court in Palm Beach County. Drug court is a program that may allow you to keep a conviction off your record. Your attorney can help you get into the program, if you decide it is your best choice.
The prosecutor must prove all elements of the case against you beyond reasonable doubt, and must bring evidence to prove those elements. In most misdemeanor marijuana cases, the evidence is the cannabis itself and testimony as to where it was found and, in constructive possession cases, that the defendant had exclusive control over the place it was found.
The Fourth Amendment guarantees a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Your marijuana defense lawyer will analyze every step that Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputies, Florida Highway Patrol or local police took in obtaining the evidence. If they made any misstep, the evidence may be tossed out, and prosecutors may have no choice but to drop the charges.
In constructive possession cases, your attorney can vigorously cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses to show any holes that may exist in their evidence for why you had exclusive control.
Misdemeanor cannabis charges are no small matter. It’s important to act now. Have a skilled attorney on your side, fighting the charges and defending your rights. An experienced West Palm Beach misdemeanor marijuana lawyer can fight for you if you are charged in Palm Beach County court. Call (561) 557-8686 today to set up a free consultation. We are ready 24 hours per day, seven days per week to hear from you.