While medical use of marijuana is legal under certain tightly regulated conditions, recreational use of marijuana remains illegal under Florida law and there are still serious consequences for those who are convicted of marijuana possession. The penalties depend on a few different factors. In this post, we will briefly discuss some of these factors.
Potential penalties for different types of possession
If people possess marijuana with the intent to sell it, it is considered a third degree felony which could result in a prison sentence up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. However, if the person is caught selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or child care facility, it is considered a second degree felony. The penalties increase to a prison sentence up to 15 years and a fine of a up to $10,000.
If a person delivers 20 grams or less to another person, but does not receive any compensation for the marijuana, it is only a first degree misdemeanor, which could result in a jail sentence of less than a year. It is also a first degree misdemeanor for people simply possession 20 grams of marijuana or less.
Many people only realize these serious consequences if they are in fact convicted of the crime. People need to go through the criminal justice system and there must be enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt people are guilty of the crime.
People in Florida who are charged with marijuana possession crimes may have defenses available to them. These defenses usually start with whether the police had a legal basis to stop people and search them for drugs. There are many rules that police must follow when stopping and searching people and when they violate those rules, any evidence obtained through the search could be suppressed. Experienced attorneys understand the potential defenses and may be able to guide one through the criminal justice process.