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Florida Possession of Marijuana

Posted by Fred Koberlein, Jr. | Feb 04, 2016 | 0 Comments

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With states across the nation de-criminalizing or outright legalizing marijuana, more and more people are beginning to view it as a “harmless” drug. Regardless of the harm it does, or does not do, it is still illegal in Florida and possession of the substance carries with it criminal and civil penalties and charges ranging from misdemeanor to felonies, carrying large fines and jail time. Here is an overview of the penalties for marijuana possession in Florida, and how a criminal defense attorney can help.

Florida Possession of Marijuana

As of 2015, it is still a criminal act to be in possession of any amount of marijuana in Florida. Depending on the amount you possess, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have less than 20 grams of cannabis on you at the time of arrest, the charges will be those of a First Degree Misdemeanor. If the amount is more than 20 grams, the charges will be a Third Degree Felony.

Misdemeanor Charges of Possession

If you are charged with misdemeanor possession, the charges you face may include any or all of the following penalties:

  • One year of probation;
  • One year in jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • One year Driver's License suspension
  • Substance abuse evaluations and treatment

Felony Marijuana Possession Charges

If you are convicted of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis, you face felony charges. The penalties that come with felony charges are much more severe and remain on your record for life. They can interfere with your ability to get and keep a job or to get the credit needed to purchase a home or car. Felony charges can make life very difficult and include penalties such as:

  • Five years of probation;
  • Up to five years of prison time
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • One year Driver's License suspension
  • Substance abuse evaluations and treatment

Loss of Driving Privileges

Any person in Florida who is convicted of possessing marijuana is required to have their driver's license revoked for a period of twelve months. This penalty is levied regardless of whether it is a felony or misdemeanor charge.

Defending Marijuana Charges

If you are charged with possession of cannabis, your criminal defense attorney may recommend one or more of the following strategies:

  • Constructive Possession, whereby more than one person could have had access to the location the substance was found. You would have to be shown to have knowledge and control over the drug having been there.
  • Illegal Search and Seizure, where the officers in question exceeded their authority in finding the drug.
  • Lack of Knowledge, the concept that you were not aware the substance was there, or was in fact cannabis.
  • Medical Need, that there was no other lawful medication you could've taken to treat an illness.
  • Overdose Assistance, that you were experiencing an overdose and were in need of immediate medical assistance and that is how the evidence was obtained.
  • Temporary Possession, essentially someone handed the drug to you and it was not yours.

Regardless of the truth of the matter, never try to defend yourself. Always call a qualifiedFlorida criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected. If you are arrested for cannabis possession in Florida, call our offices for a consultation today or email us with your questions.

About the Author

Fred Koberlein, Jr.

Fred Koberlein is a trial attorney who opened Koberlein Law Offices after acquiring extensive legal experience in three legal practice areas, which are: personal injury law; criminal defense; and local government matters which require you to appear or present your matter before your local government Boards, government Councils, and government Agencies. Mr. Koberlein began trial preparation through an externship as a legal clerk with the Judges of the Third Judicial Circuit for Florida prior to his graduation from the University of Florida, College of Law.  After law school Mr. Koberlein was dedicated to becoming a trial attorney and worked with the Public Defender's Office from 2004 to 2007, where he was promoted to handling felony cases within eight months of hire.  Mr.  Koberlein has handled over 1500 criminal cases ranging from possession of cannabis, DUI, serious felonies, white-collar crimes, violations of probation hearings, and countless motion hearings. Mr.  Koberlein began practicing in the areas of personal injury and insurance defense during 2006.  Mr. Koberlein's experience in prosecuting personal injury claims against those insurance companies he was not representing and defending other insurance companies and their customers provided a unique experience where he was able to learn what each side anticipates from the opposing party.Next, Mr. Koberlein was hired by a City to defend the City's interests and three additional Cities quickly followed and retained Mr. Koberlein to protect their interests.  Currently, Mr. Koberlein represents a total of four (4) municipalities in the North Florida area.  As Mr. Koberlein focused on civil litigation he remained passionate about representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes as well as civil litigation issues. Mr.  Koberlein has the experience and reputation to negotiate a favorable resolution in your matter, and if that is not possible, to provide the best, most zealous trial representation available.  Utilizing competent and trusted investigators and experts, your case will be prepared so that the best result will be achieved.  If you or a loved one is hurt, damaged, or is facing criminal charges, you want a qualified, hard-working attorney who will explain your options to you in a straightforward, commonsense, and honest manner. Education and Practice Experience: University of Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Bachelor of Science, 1997 University of South Florida; Tampa, Florida; 1998 University of Florida, College of Law; Gainesville, Florida; 2003 Bar and Court Admissions: Florida Bar, 2004 – Present All 67 Counties in Florida All 20 Circuits in Florida U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida Professional and Civic Activities: Florida Bar Trial Lawyers, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Business Law Section, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Criminal Law Section, 2004 – Present Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004 – Present Third Judicial Bar Association, 2004 – Present Mr.  Koberlein is committed to his clients and devotes himself to protecting their interests from the beginning to the end of their case.  Mr. Koberlein has spent his career helping clients defend themselves against criminal charges, fight insurance companies, and proceed through the bureaucratic process of local governments.  Mr. Koberlein welcomes the opportunity to meet with you and evaluate your legal needs and provide you with an experienced and competent analysis.

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