The Defense Group

THE DEFENSE GROUP

CENTRAL FLORIDA'S
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS

FREE CRIMINAL DEFENSE CONSULTING

 

(407) 831-1956
(352) 742-9090


MARIJUANA CRIMES

Marijuana CrimesPossession of cannabis is legal for medical or recreational purposes in many states, but Florida law still provides for harsh penalties. While some law enforcement agencies have decided to issue civil citations in place arrest for some marijuana crimes, other agencies are still aggressively arresting for possessing of even the smallest quantity of the substance or for possession of paraphernalia.
The best defense against these charges often involves aggressively and filing all viable motions to suppress he evidence, or motions to dismiss. Our attorneys have handled literally thousands of these cases over the years and are ready to bring that experience to the table for you.  Call The Defense Group today for a FREE CONSULTATION.   407-831-1956    or    352-742-9090
Attorneys for Marijuana Crimes in Central Florida
Our attorneys can discuss with you the best strategies for defending your charges. We represent clients throughout Central Florida including Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Lake, Volusia, Sumter, Polk and Marion Counties Florida.
Our attorneys are current or former members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACLD), the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (CFACDL), and the National College For DUI Defense (NCDD).
We follow the current legislative changes related to medical marijuana and the Office of Compassionate Use that will be called upon to regulate that new industry.
Call 407-831-1956  or 352-742-9090  today


WARNING!
conviction for any drug offense (including misdemeanor possession of marijuana) will result in an automatic and immediate one (1) year suspension of your driver's license regardless of whether the crime was driving-related. See: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0300-0399/0322/Sections/0322.055.html
Possible Issues for a Motions to Suppress
In any drug case, including possession of marijuana (also known as cannabis, weed, or pot) there are important defenses that can be asserted through motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence or motions to dismiss the charges for insufficient evidence. These defenses can also apply to more serious marijuana felony offenses such as cultivation or producing marijuana, possession or use of cultivation materials, production or possession of a structure or vehicle for drug manufacturing, or possession with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver cannabis., your attorney will
Your marijuana defense attorney will investigation your case to determine: 

  • Constructive possession. This is a concept that punishes you for knowing of the presence of a substance, and being ins such close proximity that you are presumed to have the ability to exercise control over it. The proximity is usually easy for the state. Knowledge is trickier. Can the prosecutor prove that you were in constructive possession, or did the cannabis belong to someone else? Were you even aware it was there?
  • Did the police have legal cause to stop your vehicle, ask you to exit the vehicle, conduct a pat down of your person, or perform a search of your vehicle? Every year we have charges dismissed against our clients on the basis that the police violated our client’s rights in some meaningful way.
  • Did the police have legal grounds to search your person, vehicle, or residence? The area of law that examines “reasonable suspicion,” “probable cause,” and “voluntary consent” is complicated.
  • Were your rights violated in the execution of a search warrant? Did the police lie or omit important information when seeking the warrant? Did they serve it correctly?
  • Were your rights violated in the execution of an arrest warrant, and seizure of evidence as a result of that arrest warrant? Did the search exceed the limit set out in the warrant?
  • Did the police have probable cause to arrest you for the offense of possession or sale of marijuana? This may depend on how they got the information that they claim gave them their probable cause.
  • Did the police have sufficient evidence to charge you with possession with "intent to sell" or are they “overcharging” you to try to bully you into a plea to a lesser charge??
  • Was the marijuana or cannabis within plain view or easy reach? Each case is very fact specific.
  • Were you were entrapped by the police through the use of an undercover officer or a confidential informant? Entrapment is a difficult defense but when all else fails, it can sometimes result in a dismissal.
  • Did the police read your Miranda warnings to you before conducting an interrogation? Miranda warnings are largely misunderstood. We can evaluate the evidence to see if you were “in custody” at the time they asked you questions without first advising you if your rights.
  • Is there sufficient evidence to prosecute the case?
  • Can the prosecutor prove that you knew the marijuana was in your home or vehicle?
  • Can the prosecutor prove that you knew the illicit nature of the marijuana in your constructive possession?

Consequences of a Marijuana Conviction in Florida
You should also consider the indirect consequences that a conviction for any misdemeanor or felony marijuana crime might have including the following: 

  • Ineligibility for public employment without enrolling in a drug treatment program for any conviction;
  • Ineligibility for Florida Bright Futures scholarships;
  • Ineligibility for State financial aid;
  • Ineligibility for state licenses, permits or certifications without enrolling in a drug treatment program for any felony conviction;
  • A potential three-year ban on public housing for any misdemeanor or felony conviction;
  • A five-year ban on eligibility to adopt a child or become a foster parent, and even after the ban is lifted you will have to submit to a special review by an adoption review committee if you have any felony or misdemeanor marijuana conviction; or
  • A lifetime prohibition on the right to possess a firearm under Florida Statute Section 790.23 for any felony conviction.

Whether you have been charged with marijuana possession, cannabis manufacture or cultivation, distribution, transportation, trafficking, or possession of drug paraphernalia, contact an experienced marijuana criminal defense attorney at The Defense Group to discuss your case in Central Florida.


An overview of Possession of Marijuana / Cannabis charges and penalties:
Overview of the Marijuana Laws in Florida


Misdemeanor Offenses for Marijuana under Florida Law

  • Possession of Marijuana / Cannabis Less than 20 grams - First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in the county jail. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Delivery of Marijuana / Cannabis Less than 20 grams (without monetary exchange) - First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in the county jail. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (including marijuana pipes, bongs, and roach clips) - First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in the county jail. No automatic consequence to your driver's license.

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Felony Offenses for Cannabis under Florida Law
Use our website to find out more about the different ways that marijuana crimes can be charged under Florida law including:  

  • Possession of Marijuana / Cannabis more than 20 grams - Third Degree Felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Possession or Use of Drug Equipment for Marijuana Cultivation - Charged under 893.147(1), it is a crime to possess cultivation material such as sodium vapor, growing materials, bong, sheers, etc.
  • Cultivation of Marijuana - Under Florida law, Section 893.13(1)(a) governs the offense of cultivation of marijuana, which is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison. The offense is often listed on the criminal report affidavit as Marijuana Producing Schedule I - Cultivation under 893.13(1)(a)2.
  • Produce / Possess Structure or Vehicle for Drug Manufacturing - A felony charged under 893.1351(2) includes allegations of renting a property for purpose of cultivation. 
  • Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Sell, Manufacture or Deliver Schedule I Cannabis - A felony charged under 893.13(1)(a)(2) which including allegations of operation a grow house. 
  • Trafficking in Cannabis/ Marijuana less than 25 pounds - Third Degree Felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana / Cannabis 25 - 2,000 pounds (or 300 - 2,000 plants) - Second Degree Felony punishable by a $25,000 fine and up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison. The offense carries with it a minimum mandatory three (3) year prison sentence. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana /Cannabis 2,000 - 10,000 pounds (2,000 to 10,000 plants) - First Degree Felony punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to 30 years in Florida State Prison. The offense carries with it a minimum mandatory seven (7) year prison sentence.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana / Cannabis 10,000 or more pounds (or 10,000 plants) - First Degree Felony punishable by a $200,000 fine and up to 30 years in Florida State Prison. The offense carries with it a minimum mandatory fifteen (15) year prison sentence.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana / Cannabis near a designated location - Second Degree Felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. Designated locations are those marijuana or cannabis offenses that take place within one-thousand (1,000) feet of a child care facility, school, college, university, church, convenience store or business, park, community center or public recreational facility.

Possession of Marijuana (less than 20 grams) - Misdemeanor:
Marijuana (also known as cannabis, weed or pot) is the most commonly used illicit drug in the State of Florida and the United States. The simple possession of marijuana / cannabis is a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail.
Even though marijuana use is common, the penalties for possession of marijuana are harsh. Regardless of whether adjudication is withheld or not, a possession of marijuana / cannabis sentence can haunt you even after you have finished serving the probationary term in Florida.
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First Offense for Possession of Marijuana
Even for a first offense of possession of cannabis, prosecutors typically ask for a diversion program which is very similar to probation. A second offense often results in 12 months’ probation, a series of random urine screens, community service hours, and court costs and fines.
Many people charged with possession of marijuana do not realize how expensive and time-consuming it will be to complete the diversion or probationary terms. In those cases where all the conditions are not met within the time allotted, a violation of probation will result in an arrest warrant being issued, possibly without a bond amount being set.
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Driver’s License Suspension for any Drug Offense, including Marijuana
If you are convicted of possession of marijuana / cannabis, an automatic and immediate two (2) year suspension of your driver's license (with a hard suspension during the first year before you are even eligible to apply for a business purpose only or hardship license).
If the court withholds adjudication, the suspension of your driver's license can be avoided. However, even for first offenses, prosecutors routinely ask for harsh penalties for possession of marijuana / cannabis cases included 12 months’ probation, a drug and alcohol evaluation, completion of any follow-up drug treatment (typically 8 drug classes), random urine screens, community service and steep fines and court costs.
If you agree to this type of harsh probation sentence and then violate the probation, the court can then "adjudicate" you of the underlying possession of marijuana charge (causing the two-year suspension of your driver's license).
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Overview of the Marijuana Laws in Florida


Misdemeanor Offenses for Marijuana under Florida Law

  • Possession of Marijuana / Cannabis Less than 20 grams - First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in the county jail. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Delivery of Marijuana / Cannabis Less than 20 grams (without monetary exchange) - First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in the county jail. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia- (including marijuana pipes, bongs, and roach clips) - First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in the county jail. No automatic consequence to your driver's license.

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Felony Offenses for Cannabis under Florida Law
Use our website to find out more about the different ways that marijuana crimes can be charged under Florida law including:  

  • Possession of over 20 grams of Marijuana - Third Degree Felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for one year.
  • Possession or Use of Drug Equipment for Marijuana Cultivation - Charged under 893.147(1), it is a crime to possess cultivation material such as sodium vapor, growing materials, bong, sheers, etc.
  • Marijuana Cultivation - Under Florida law, Section 893.13(1)(a) governs the offense of cultivation of marijuana, which is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison. The offense is often listed on the criminal report affidavit as Marijuana Producing Schedule I - Cultivation under 893.13(1)(a)2.
  • Produce / Possess Structure or Vehicle for Drug Manufacturing - A felony charged under 893.1351(2) includes allegations of renting a property for purpose of cultivation. 
  • Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Sell, Manufacture or Deliver Schedule I Cannabis - A felony charged under 893.13(1)(a)(2) which including allegations of operation a grow house. 
  • Trafficking in Cannabis- less than 25 pounds - Third Degree Felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana / Cannabis 25 - 2,000 pounds (or 300 - 2,000 plants) - Second Degree Felony punishable by a $25,000 fine and up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison. The offense carries with it a minimum mandatory three (3) year prison sentence. If you are adjudicated guilty of the offense, then your driver's license will be automatically and immediately suspended for two years.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana /Cannabis 2,000 - 10,000 pounds (2,000 to 10,000 plants) - First Degree Felony punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to 30 years in Florida State Prison. The offense carries with it a minimum mandatory seven (7) year prison sentence.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana / Cannabis 10,000 or more pounds (or 10,000 plants) - First Degree Felony punishable by a $200,000 fine and up to 30 years in Florida State Prison. The offense carries with it a minimum mandatory fifteen (15) year prison sentence.
  • Trafficking of Marijuana / Cannabis near a designated location - Second Degree Felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. Designated locations are those marijuana or cannabis offenses that take place within one-thousand (1,000) feet of a child care facility, school, college, university, church, convenience store or business, park, community center or public recreational facility.

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New Florida Law for Marijuana Grow House
Pursuant to new Florida Statute Section 893.1351, a "grow house" can include any place where 25 plants or more are present because the statute provides a presumption that "[f]or the purposes of this section, proof of the possession of 25 or more cannabis plants constitutes prima facie evidence that the cannabis is intended for sale or distribution."
In a trial on the issue, the jury will be instructed on this "rebuttable presumption." This rebuttable presumption could be overcome with evidence that the cannabis plants were not intended for sale or distribution, especially when it can be shown that the plants were being grown for personal consumption, including personal medical purposes.


Landlord of Cannabis Grow House
Subsection (1) makes it a third-degree felony (punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison) to own, lease or rent any grow house or other place with knowledge that the place will be used for one of the following purposes:
a. Trafficking in marijuana as provided in section 893.135;
b. For the Sale of marijuana, as provided in Section 893.13;
c. For the manufacture of cannabis intended for sale or distribution to another (presumed if 25 or more cannabis plants).


Resident of Marijuana Grow House
Subsection (2) makes it a second-degree felony (punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison), to knowingly be in actual or constructive possession of any grow house or other place with the knowledge that the place will be used for any of the following purposes:
a. Trafficking in marijuana, as provided in s. 893.135; 
b. For the sale of marijuana, as provided in s. 893.13; or 
c. For the manufacture of cannabis intended for sale or distribution to another (presumed if 25 or more marijuana plants).
Resident of Marijuana Grow House when Minor Child is Present
Subsection (3) makes it a first-degree felony (punishable by up to 30 years in Florida State Prison) for any person who is in actual or constructive possession of a grow house or other place with the knowledge of the following:
a. That the place is being used to manufacture marijuana intended for sale or distribution to another (presumed if 25 or more cannabis plants are present); and 
b. Who knew or should have known that a minor child is present or resides in the place.


Federal Law Regarding Marijuana
The Federal Government prosecutes drug crimes through the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. Section 811), which treats marijuana or cannabis like any other controlled substance, including heroin or cocaine. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that marijuana is classified as being a dangerous illegal drug which is "highly addictive." Federal law criminalizes the possession, distribution or cultivation of large quantities of cannabis.
Under Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the quantity of marijuana / cannabis is considered along with the defendant's criminal record. Any conviction for marijuana under Federal Law is eligible for a prison term. Also, federal marijuana laws impose certain statutory mandatory minimum sentences.
For example, a conviction for the cultivation of 100 or more plants or possession of 100-kilo grams requires a five (5) year mandatory minimum sentence. If the defendant has any prior drug convictions or sentences, including sentences under state law, a ten (10) year statutory mandatory minimum sentence would apply.
Under the federal Controlled Substance Act, the possession of marijuana or cannabis is illegal. The federal authorities are usually interested in prosecuting cannabis offenses only when they involve larger quantities of marijuana by drug traffickers (e.g., large amounts of hash oil or hashish, or the cultivation of more than one hundred plants).
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Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney for Marijuana Possession
Although the use and possession of marijuana are common in Florida, the punishments are particularly harsh. The mere possession of a small (under 20 grams) amount of marijuana (aka cannabis, pot, weed) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a one-year suspension of your driver's license.
At The Defense Group, we are very experienced at defending marijuana cases (also known as cannabis, pot, or weed). Our attorneys have handled over a thousand of cannabis cases over the past 40 years.
We represent individuals charged with marijuana offenses from possession, possession with intent to sell, manufacture of cannabis, cultivation of marijuana, operating a marijuana grow house to trafficking in cannabis. Call The Defense Group at 407-831-1956   or   352-742-9090 to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.


 
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