The criminal defense attorneys at Ellis and Bryant advocate for people throughout Northeast Florida who have been charged with marijuana possession and other drug offenses. These are situations that can have a lasting impact on the life of the defendant and possibly on his or her family. We help clients fight charges aggressively, with an eye toward getting them dropped or reduced whenever possible. Our Jacksonville marijuana possession lawyers have significant experience in cases involving controlled substances. We understand what judges and juries find convincing in these cases, and we have a strong track record of helping our clients avoid serious consequences, including jail time, hefty fines and court costs, and driver’s license suspensions.Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Florida
Marijuana may be gaining social acceptance and even some legal protection across the country, but it is still a crime to possess cannabis in Florida without a valid medical prescription. Federal law also continues to treat marijuana as an illegal drug.
The penalties for being caught with pot vary depending on how much of the drug is involved. The possession of even the smallest amount of marijuana carries the potential of as much as a year behind bars and as much as $1,000 in fines under state law. Those penalties only apply if the amount possessed is less than 20 grams of marijuana. If you get caught with more than 20 grams of marijuana, you may be looking at up to five years in prison and as much as $5,000 in fines. Anyone convicted of marijuana possession may also have his or her driver’s license suspended, regardless of the amount involved.
The possession of 25 pounds or more of marijuana is considered trafficking. This is a first-degree felony and thus an extremely serious charge about which you should immediately consult a marijuana possession attorney in the Jacksonville area. It comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years behind bars and a $25,000 fine, but the penalties can be much greater in some situations.Defenses in Marijuana Cases
If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Florida, it is critical that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The burden is at all times on prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the specific crime with which you have been charged. Showing simply that it is possible that you committed the crime is not enough. A Jacksonville marijuana possession attorney at our firm can help you build the strongest possible defense to the charges against you.
Many of the defenses available in drug cases relate to how the police looked for and found the drugs in question. The U.S. and Florida Constitutions limit the circumstances under which cops can stop people on the street, pull them over while driving, or perform various types of searches without a warrant. When police officers fail to respect your constitutional rights, any evidence that they obtain is likely to be kept out of court.
For example, police officers are supposed to get a warrant from a judge before they can enter and search a person’s home. They can, however, search the home with consent from the owner or under certain “exigent circumstances.” (That includes when they are in “hot pursuit” of a suspect or can see certain contraband in plain view.) Otherwise, officers need to have probable cause to believe that a crime is occurring in order to enter a home and perform a search without a warrant.Talk with an Experienced Marijuana Possession Lawyer in Jacksonville Today
At Ellis and Bryant, we help clients fight allegations of drug crimes and other offenses, such as DUI, with tenacity and creativity. Partner Gary Bryant is a former Florida prosecutor who understands how police and prosecutors often approach these cases. We work to reduce the impact of a charge through negotiation when possible, while standing ready to bring an aggressive case at trial when necessary. Our firm’s recent successes include positive outcomes for clients in a number of criminal matters. We serve people across Duval and Clay Counties, including in Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Middleburg. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer about your case today.