West Palm Beach Marijuana Possession Attorney
The possession and sale of marijuana in West Palm Beach can lead to serious charges despite the fact that the use of medicinal cannabis is now acceptable for debilitating medical conditions. While the rest of the country may be easing up on marijuana legislation, West Palm Beach still holds some of the strictest laws in the Florida Statutes. If you face marijuana charges in Palm Beach County, you could face severe penalties without the legal counsel of a dedicated criminal defense attorney.
Marijuana Possession Laws in Florida
Drug charges in Florida are strict and archaic when you consider that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, on par with heroin and even more restricted than cocaine. Simple possession charges could lead to up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines. This is possible with small amounts of marijuana. The higher the quantity of the drug that is found, the stricter the penalties.
Laws surrounding marijuana possession, cultivation, and more can be found in Florida Statute section 893.13. A person may face significant hardships for possessing an amount of marijuana that is less than 20 grams. If you are found with fewer than 20 grams of pot, you can face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. This is what can potentially lead to a year in jail and $1,000 fines. If you are discovered to be in possession of over 20 grams, you face a third-degree felony offense. Penalties jump to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
If you are caught in possession of twenty-five (25) or more marijuana plants, you could be charged with a second-degree felony. Penalties may include up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. These charges are very serious and fighting them requires the expertise of a West Palm Beach drug defense attorney.
Possession with Intent to Sell or Manufacture Marijuana
Possessing large amounts of marijuana in Florida is associated with a higher level of criminal activity. When you possess more than you can consume for personal use, you could be charged with sale, distribution, purchasing, or drug trafficking. These charges lead to serious prison time. With mandatory minimum sentences, Florida ensures you will serve time if you are found guilty of such charges.
Charges range from a first-degree misdemeanor (for distributing fewer than 20 grams) to a first-degree felony (for distributing more than 10,000 pounds). A first-degree felony can lead to life in prison. The mandatory minimum penalties include 15 years in prison and $200,000 in fines.
Defenses to Marijuana Possession Charges
The circumstances of your case may provide for one of several possible defense strategies. Common defenses to marijuana possession charges include:
- The police officer who discovered your drugs did so illegally through an unlawful search and seizure. In this situation, your attorney can challenge the arresting officer’s actions and argue that he or she did not have grounds to search you.
- The drugs are someone else’s. The prosecutor in your case must prove that you knew about the illegal substance and its presence in your home or vehicle and that it belonged to you rather than a passenger or roommate.
- The substance is not marijuana. A crime lab analysis may reveal that the substance mistaken for marijuana is not marijuana nor an illegal substance.
- You have permission to use the drug. Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, and thus, if you have a medical marijuana card you may use marijuana for health reasons. This might be an effective defense.
Working with a Marijuana Possession Defense Lawyer
West Palm Beach courts take marijuana charges very seriously. You do not want to become entangled with drug charges without a competent attorney on your side. For over 25 years, attorney Brian Gabriel of Palm Beach County has sought justice for the criminally accused. Specializing in criminal defense litigation, he is highly esteemed throughout Florida. As one of The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, he can put his experience and influence in the Palm Beach County legal community to work in your favor. For a free consultation, call 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form.