With the legalization of marijuana on the rise across the United States, it is easy to underestimate the seriousness of marijuana arrests. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), most drug arrests involve illegal possession or abuse of marijuana. Additionally, 88 percent of marijuana arrests between the years 2001 and 2008 were for simple possession.

Some states, like Florida, have not decriminalized pot, making a marijuana-related charge a serious matter that calls for a strong legal defense.

Is it Legal to Possess ANY Marijuana?

No. Marijuana possession is still against the law in Florida unless you are allowed to use medical marijuana in compliance with state law. As a result, if you are caught with even a dime-bag or some weed stuck in your pipe, you will almost certainly face criminal charges—charges that could result in fines, jail time, and even affect your ability to get a job, get into college, or rent an apartment.

What Counts as Possession of Marijuana in Florida?

Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession includes having the illegal substance in enough proximity to grab and go or to physically have it on you either in hand or in a container. The proximity factor only qualifies as actual possession if you have the exclusive control over it—otherwise, it is not sufficient for a conviction. Constructive possession means having dominion and control over the substance. In order to prove the accused has constructive possession, knowledge of that substance must be proven as well.

What are the Consequences for Possession of Marijuana in Florida?

The consequences of marijuana possession depend on the situation and the amount of pot in question. Additionally, marijuana possession could go on your record. Once it is on your record, it could reduce your chances at plenty of opportunities in the future such as:

  • Applying for college or graduate school
  • Applying for public housing
  • Applying for state licensing or certifications
  • Applying for certain jobs
  • Applying for scholarships or federal funding

What are Some Legal Defenses to Rebut the Charges?

  • Defendant’s lack of knowledge that the substance existed within proximity
  • Lack of probable cause that led to the search or arrest
  • Lack of reasonable suspicion that led to the search or arrest
  • Police obtaining an unlawful search warrant
  • Unlawful consent to the search that led to the charges in question
  • Absent or insufficient Miranda warnings provided by the police
  • Invalid third-party consent to the search for marijuana
  • Whether the defendant had dominion control to qualify as possession
  • Defense of entrapment by the police
  • Whether sufficient evidence exists in the case

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Petersburg Today

An arrest for the possession of marijuana is a serious matter. If you or anyone in your family has been arrested for possession or abuse of marijuana, contacting an attorney is critical to avoid a harsh sentence. Here at Khonsari Law Group, we focus our practice on representing the rights of criminal defendants. Call us today at (727) 269-5300 for a free consultation or send us an email through our online contact form.