September 23, 2014
The laws and punishments for drug possession in Florida can be quite severe. This includes the possession and usage of marijuana. While Florida has recently passed a bill allowing medical marijuana low in THC and high in CBD for patients with serious medical conditions, marijuana is still illegal for the majority of Floridians.
Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession
It is vital to understand that in Florida, criminal drug laws do not take into account who the marijuana belongs to, but who has possession. So while you might not “own” the drugs, you can still face possession charges as long as the marijuana is on your person. There are two different types of possession charges in Florida; actual and constructive
- Actual possession occurs when an individual has the controlled substance on their person. This could be when someone has a baggie of marijuana in their pocket or hidden somewhere else on their body.
- Constructive possession refers to when someone has knowledge, access and control over marijuana; for example, if the drugs in question are easily reachable in the glove box or center console of your car. Defenses to constructive possession exist if you can prove that you did not have knowledge of the drug’s presence. Additional defenses exist if you can claim you are not the owner of the car in which the drugs were found, or you can prove the drugs were under the control of a passenger.
Possession with Intent to Sell
The additional element of “intent to sell” is often added to possession cases. You do not have to be caught selling a controlled substance to be charged with intent to sell. There are several items that may be present at the time of the arrest which can land you with intent to sell charges. These items include but are not limited to:
- Large amounts of money
- Large amounts of marijuana
- Testing kits
Upon conviction of a possession of marijuana charge in Florida, your driver’s license or driving privileges will be revoked for two years.
There are a number of factors which we determine what punishment you receive such as previous convictions. Generally, if caught with a small amount of marijuana, specifically under 20 grams, you could be facing any or all of these punishments:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Up to 1 year probation
- Up to $1,000 fine
If caught with more than 20 grams, then the punishments are far more severe. They include:
- Up to five years in prison
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Up to five years of probation
Make sure that you are aware of your rights if you are arrested with possession of marijuana. Be sure to seek the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Contact the skilled attorneys with KLG to defend your case.