Possession of Marijuana Under Florida Law
Florida law criminalizes the possession of even small amounts of marijuana. Unlike other states, Florida does not contain any exception for a joint or other small amount for personal use. In fact, Florida statutes list marijuana (cannabis) as a Schedule I drug, declaring that it has a high potential for abuse with no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
In terms of the penalties that can be imposed for conviction of a drug charge, Florida law does distinguish between possession of a small amount of marijuana that is likely for personal use, as opposed to larger amounts that arguably could be in one’s possession with the intent to distribute. For instance, possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a first degree misdemeanor under section 893.13(6)(b). Twenty grams is less than one ounce. Even this charge can carry a stiff punishment, though. The maximum penalties for a first degree misdemeanor in Florida include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A conviction also results in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license for a year or more.
Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a third degree felony in Florida, meaning you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and be ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, still for having less than an ounce of pot in your possession.
Being in possession of fewer than 25 marijuana plants is also a third degree felony. Possession of 25 or more plants is a second degree felony, with potential punishment up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Possession of drug paraphernalia, including pipes, bongs and other smoking devices, is a first degree misdemeanor.
Can you really go to jail for one joint?
Technically, yes you can, although that result seems unlikely. However, with the threat of up to one year in jail for possession of a small amount of marijuana, police and prosecutors can easily scare people who have been arrested into pleading guilty and accepting some lesser punishment rather than risk a trial. This is one reason why it is so important to talk to an experienced Florida drug crimes attorney immediately after your arrest. There may be many ways to fight the charges against you. For instance, the police may not have had the right to stop or search you in the first place. With a criminal defense lawyer on your side, you may be able to get the charges dismissed when you might have otherwise pled guilty and paid a significant fine because you were scared by the prospect of jail time. Even if a plea is in your best interests, your attorney may be able to secure probation or treatment through the Bay County Drug Court, rather then paying a substantial fine or spending time in jail.
Contact the Panama City Criminal Defense Law Firm of The Morris Law Firm – We Put Our Clients First
Make no mistake that Florida drug laws are tough, and being found guilty of possession of just a small amount of marijuana can spell serious trouble with long-term consequences. However, with the help of an experienced Florida drug crimes defense attorney, you have the ability to achieve the best outcome possible in your given set of circumstances. Call The Morris Law Firm. We’re available to answer our calls 24 hours a day. (850) 257-5680. We can also schedule a free consultation in our office at your convenience.