At What Point Does Florida Law Consider Marijuana Possession A Felony?
Marijuana might just be one of the most debated issues in recent years. While it’s legality keeps being discussed at both the state and federal level, one thing remains true — under both federal and Florida state law, it is not legal. Florida law makes a clear distinction, setting a point at which the person is considered to be holding more of the drug than needed for personal use — at which point, it becomes a felony.
When dealing with cases of drug possession, it is always advisable to consult with a knowledgeable Orlando Central Florida Criminal Defense Attorney. The lawyers at the Defense Group are a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys, ready to answer your questions.
“There’s a break point, for example, from misdemeanor to felony — and it has to do with quantity, but that quantity only applies to marijuana. If you’ve got under 20 grams of marijuana, that’s a misdemeanor — 19.9 grams, maximum penalty a year in jail and maybe $1,000 fine — 20.1 grams you can get 5 years in prison. There’s got to be a break point.
It may not seem fair for that little bit of a difference, but you’ve got to switch over some place. And the legislature has decided if you’ve got over 20 grams, we’re going to call that a felony — and it’s premised on the assumption that if you’ve got more than 20 grams, you’ve probably got more than you’re using yourself. That doesn’t always hold true. People shop at Costco and they buy cans of goods more than they intend to use in one meal because they get it less per ounce, if you will, whenever they buy it in larger quantities.
You may very well wind up being purely a user, but still having over 20 grams will qualify you for felony sentencing. There are hundreds of drugs listed in Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, that are considered controlled substances. Generally, that means that you must possess (and have in your possession proof of) a prescription for the drug you have. The prescription must designate the dosage (5 mg or 20 mg for example). Possession of a controlled substance without immediate possession of the prescription is a formula for arrest. Many of the drugs on this list are considered dangerous enough that the Legislature has passed “trafficking” offenses. This is merely possession of over a certain quantity chosen by the Legislature. Whether marijuana or another drug, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney f you are arrested for drug offenses.
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