Penalties at the lowest level of marijuana possession, 20 grams or less, include a possible combination of the following:
- 1 year of incarceration
- 1 year of probation
- A maximum fine of $1000
- Drivers license suspension for 1 year
However, if you are caught with more than 20 grams of cannabis felony charges might rise to the following:
- 5 years in state prison
- 5 years of probation
- A maximum fine of $5000In addition, a conviction or adjudication for marijuana possession will result in a drivers license suspension for 1 year total with a 6 month “hard” suspension; hard suspension means that a work or hardship license to drive is not available during this time. To get a work or hardship permit after the hard suspension you must have already completed a DCF (Department of Children & Families) approved drug counseling course.This license suspension applies to both adults and those individuals charges in juvenile court with possession of marijuana.
The maximum sentence quickly escalates up to 15 years for those in possession of 25 or more plants or more than 25 pounds of marijuana with a 3 year minimum mandatory (min man) prison sentence that must be served. Usually serious charges such as these are a result of being charged for the importation or the cultivation of marijuana such as in a grow house. The penalties increase exponentially for larger cache’ of marijuana: possession of over 2000 lbs can net a 7 year min man sentence. Possession of over 10,000 pounds can net a 15 year min man sentence.
Resolving Minor Misdemeanor Marijuana Charges
Except for the Treasure Coast, resolving misdemeanor marijuana charges for folks with little or no criminal history background can be as simple paying costs of prosecution; usually $50-$75, attending one drug therapy class and maybe doing a day of community service work, and your case is dropped within two court hearings. The danger in representing yourself (in what is basically a “cattle call” arraignment) is that you may not know what your doing and what exactly is being offered to you by the prosecutor. You may not be offered the “deal” that drops your case, but could result in a conviction and a license suspension for up to one year when you think you just paid a fine and walked out. An adjudication to even a minor marijuana charge can have a lifetime of implications.
With the right attorney, you will benefit from the following:
- You may not even have to appear in court.
- Be damn sure that your not getting a adjudication(conviction) for Marijuana.
- Move forward in sealing or expunging your record, so that this minor drug crime does not haunt you and stop you from getting employment, renting a apartment, home or office.
Attorney Darren Shull will personally guide you through the court system to ensure the best possible outcome with your charges.
For example, if police or Federal Law enforcement conduct an illegal search in order to find contraband such as marijuana the evidence that they find can be suppressed by the court upon a properly filed motion. Police generally may search your car if they smell marijuana whether its been smoked or the pungent fresh odor can be detected by the officer. To search a home however the police need a warrant signed by a judge either state or federal, that is based upon legitimate evidence that creates probable cause based upon previous appellate court decisions. Just because a warrant is signed by the Judge doesn’t mean a warrant can withstand a legal challenge if what the warrant contains does not actually contain probable cause. This can happen when there is either not enough evidence or the evidence included in the warrant request turns out not to be accurate.
Further, if the police have a search warrant for a specific reason, it does not give them leeway to search an entire home for contraband or drugs. The police’s ability to search is limited to what is constitutionally authorized and specific to the warrant; they have no authority to perform searches at their own will. When police perform unlawful searches or seizures any evidence they gather from an illegal search can not be used in court except under very limited conditions. Warrant and search and seizure circumstances can be negated and the search upheld especially if an authorized person freely and voluntarily allows an Officer without a warrant to conduct a search. This legal term is “Consent to Search”. If a person consenting to a search did so due to threats or coercion however the evidence of the search can be suppressed as well.
Other defenses to possession cases is a legal term known as constructive possession. If you did not know the illegal substance was there, had no control over the area of the property where the marijuana was found or it was found in a common area frequented by other persons, the government may not be able to prove you had constructive possession of the contraband. The key to a constructive possession defense is that the marijuana was found in a small limited area and you did not know it was there. If the illegal substance was found on you or if the police find you living inside a grow house, this defense may not work.
Finally, if the evidence of your possession was obtained as a result of seeking medical attention for a drug related overdose the evidence can not be used to support a conviction.
What to do now?
Jupiter criminal defense lawyer Darren D. Shull can help defend against charges of marijuana possession in all degrees from simple misdemeanor possession to felony, state and federal charges.
The Law Offices of Darren D. Shull, P.A. provides aggressive and experienced representation in all marijuana possession cases. Attorney Darren Shull has the legal experience necessary to defend you if your charged with a marijuana possession and file all available motions to protect your God-given constitutional rights. Call 561-972-6444 or fill out our quick contact form now if you are being investigated or charged with marijuana possession. Our law office serves the Treasure Coast, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Juno Beach, North Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, and all of Palm Beach County.