In 2016, Florida voted to legalize medicinal marijuana. However, marijuana is still illegal in the state unless it is being used for medicinal purposes and following certain rules. If you are caught with less than 20 grams, it will be treated as a misdemeanor. Nonetheless, it is important to retain an experienced St. Petersburg marijuana lawyer to keep your record clean. Prospective employers and others may attach a stigma to drug charges involving marijuana, cannabis, or similar substances. At Hanlon Law, we strongly believe in providing an aggressive defense to the accused. If you are charged with a marijuana crime, we are ready to advocate for you.Fighting Florida Marijuana Charges
The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative legalized medicinal marijuana for people who have specific incapacitating diseases or comparable debilitating conditions, as determined by a licensed state doctor. This law went into effect at the start of 2017. However, recreational or non-medical marijuana crimes continue to be prosecuted and punished.
Under Florida Statute 893.13, possession of marijuana is a crime, and the punishment varies based on the quantity involved. If you have less than 20 grams, it is a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction can result in a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are caught with 20 grams-25 pounds, you face a possible maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. The penalty is the same if you are caught with less than 300 plants. If you are caught possessing more than 25 pounds, you will be charged with trafficking, which is a first-degree felony. Consulting a marijuana attorney in St. Petersburg is especially critical if you are in this situation.
The sale of 20 grams or less of marijuana without remuneration is charged as a misdemeanor and punished with at most a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Selling 25 pounds or less of marijuana, however, is a felony, and you can face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted. Moreover, for a subsequent sales offense, you face the possibility of 15 years’ imprisonment.
Trafficking in marijuana is usually a felony charge, and sentencing occurs according to sentencing guidelines, as it does for trafficking in other substances like cocaine or 1,4 butanediol. Trafficking in 25-2,000 pounds is a felony, for which you may face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and at most 15 years’ imprisonment. The maximum fine is $25,000. Trafficking in 2,000-10,000 pounds can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, or up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. If you are caught trafficking in 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana, the mandatory minimum sentence to be imposed is 15 years. The most that you face is 30 years plus a $200,000 fine. When the trafficking occurs within 1,000 feet of certain areas where minors are likely to be, such as parks, colleges, and schools, you may face up to 15 years and a $10,000 fine.
A conviction is not inevitable. There may be both procedural and substantive defenses that could be successful if raised by a skillful St. Petersburg marijuana attorney. For example, the police are supposed to safeguard certain constitutional rights when conducting a search for drugs. When a search is conducted without a warrant when a warrant was necessary, it may be possible to get the evidence obtained in the search — often the drugs — suppressed. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, whether the charge is possession of a small amount of marijuana or trafficking in 10,000 pounds. Without evidence of the drug itself, the prosecution's case is likely to be undermined. In other cases, there may be ways of raising a reasonable doubt or negotiating a plea deal based on the fact that it is a first offense or based on evidence to support an alternative view of the case.Seek Guidance from a Marijuana Lawyer in St. Petersburg
Although marijuana has been legalized for certain medicinal purposes, you may face tough penalties if you are involved with it for other reasons. If you are seeking a tough and skillful lawyer to fight criminal charges related to marijuana, meth, or another controlled substance, Hanlon Law may be able to represent you. Our founder, St. Petersburg criminal attorney Will Hanlon, has been providing dedicated criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form.