What to Do When Charged With Possession of Marijuana

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Florida, you should know that there are many defense strategies that can be developed to address this criminal charge. However, a failure to effectively defend yourself against the drug charges can result in some rather serious consequences including probation, jail time, fines, and the revocation of your driving privileges. This is why it is important to always seek legal representation to determine your best type of defense.

Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession

Before you and your attorney can determine what type of defense is best in your case, you will first need to fully understand the charges against you. In the State of Florida, you can be charged with either actual possession or constructive possession.

Actual possession of marijuana applies to a defendant who had marijuana on their person or had direct control over the substance within close proximity to their body. For instance, if you had marijuana in your hand or on a table in front of you, this would be considered actual possession.

Constructive possession on the other hand, applies to a defendant who had control over a place where marijuana was being stored or hidden. For example, if marijuana was found under the seat of your car or in a storage unit that you rent, this would be considered constructive possession.

Different defenses are often used when battling actual and constructive possession charges. That is why it is so important to understand the charges against you.

Typically the first line of defense when battling a marijuana possession charge is to challenge the legality of the search which lead to your arrest.  If law enforcement did not have probable cause to search you or the location where the marijuana was found, your defense attorney may be able to get the charges against you dropped.

A search may also be challenged if the original action that led to the search was flawed. For instance, if an officer made an illegal stop, any evidence that was gathered as a result of this illegal traffic stop cannot be used against you. This includes any marijuana that was found as a result of the stop. The same applies to law enforcement stops and searches of pedestrians.

In order to be convicted of this crime in the State of Florida, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did in fact possess the marijuana. According to state laws, this means that you had exclusive control over the substance in question. While it may be difficult to challenge possession in actual possession cases, this can be a very effective defense in constructive possession cases. This is especially true in cases where more than one person has access to the location where the marijuana was discovered.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The consequences of a conviction resulting from a marijuana possession charge can vary from probation to incarceration. The penalties are often determined by the amount of marijuana in possession at the time of arrest and whether or not this is your first offense.

If you’re found to be in possession of less than 20 grams marijuana, a misdemeanor in Florida, the penalty can be probation or up to one year in a county jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.00. Also, the state may immediately revoke your driver’s license.

On the other hand, possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana in Florida is a felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000.00.

In order to ensure you have the best possible defense when you are charged with marijuana possession, it is vital that you consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.  For more information about a possession or marijuana defense, or any other criminal defense charges in DeLand, Daytona Beach or the surrounding areas of Volusia County, contact the Law Office of Leanna J. Smith at 386-943-9797.