If a law enforcement officer arrests you or your loved one for marijuana possession in Jacksonville or the surrounding areas, contact First Coast Criminal Defense immediately. You will need someone who understands the legal process and can explain your legal options and their consequences.
Marijuana Possession in Florida
When you have, own, or control something, you have possession of it. In the state of Florida, it is illegal to possess marijuana. The crime of marijuana possession involves having any part of the cannabis plant. However, it does not include the marijuana plant resin, sterilized seeds, or mature Cannabis plant stalks. The amount of marijuana you possess determines whether you are committing a felony or misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana
According to Florida State Statute §893.13, a prosecutor can charge a person with misdemeanor possession of marijuana if that person is in actual or constructive possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana.
A misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession is considered a first-degree offense, which means a person can go to jail for up to one year and/or receive a fine up to $1,000.
Felony Possession of Marijuana
According to section 893.13 of the Florida State Statutes, if a person has actual or constructive possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana, a prosecutor can charge that person with felony possession of marijuana.
A felony conviction for marijuana possession is considered a third-degree offense, which means a person can go to prison for up to five years and/or receive a fine up to $5,000.
Legal Definition of Possession
For a prosecutor to charge someone with marijuana possession, he or she must show that the person had either actual or constructive possession of the marijuana.
Actual Possession of Marijuana
An individual can have actual possession of marijuana if they have actual, physical control of marijuana. The marijuana can be located anywhere on their body, in their pocket, wallet, or purse.
Constructive Possession of Marijuana
Constructive possession is generally more challenging for the prosecutor to prove. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:
The person charged knew the marijuana was in their presence and knew that it was an illegal substance;
The person charged was able to take actual possession of the marijuana; and
The person charged intended to actually possess the marijuana.
If an officer found marijuana in a vehicle where the person was a passenger and had access to marijuana, that person could be charged with constructive possession of marijuana.
The driver of a vehicle can also be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if evidence exists of marijuana use by the driver.
Marijuana DUI in Florida
Under Florida State Statute §316.193, if a person is in actual physical control of a vehicle and there is evidence of an illicit drug such as marijuana in that person’s body, he or she may be charged with DUI of Drugs.
What Steps Should You Take?
If you have been arrested and/or charged with possession of marijuana:
- Contact an attorney immediately.
- Don’t speak to the police without being represented by an attorney.
- Don’t provide a statement to the police without having an attorney present.
- Take notes regarding everything that takes place, so you have your own evidence.
Contact an Attorney Immediately
There is a narrow timeframe between the time of your arrest and when the State Attorney’s Office decides to formally charge you with a crime. If you have an attorney representing you, your attorney can negotiate an attempt to avoid criminal charges. In case the State Attorney’s Office does file charges, our criminal defense attorneys are fully prepared to represent you and fight your rights.
Hire First Coast Criminal Defense
If you or your loved one are charged with Marijuana Possession in the Jacksonville area, contact First Coast Criminal Defense at (904) 474-3115, and let us fight for you. You may also fill out our online form so our office can contact you to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent clients throughout Duval, Nassau, Clay, and St. Johns counties.