Possession of marijuana is illegal in Florida, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t defenses available to those accused of this crime. Several strategies can be used to fight a marijuana possession charge, but every case is different.
If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, it is essential to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action. Many factors need to be considered when determining the right defense for your case, and an attorney can help you navigate the legal system while ensuring that your rights are protected.
Factors to Consider When Determining the Best Defense for Your Case
When choosing a defense for your case, you should consider the facts and circumstances specific to your situation. Every case is different, and what may work as a defense in one case may not be effective in another. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to evaluate the specific facts of your case and advise you on the best defense strategy. Other factors that may be considered include the amount of marijuana involved, the jurisdiction where the offense occurred, and your criminal history.
Defenses to a Marijuana Possession Charge
Several defenses can be used to fight a marijuana possession charge in Florida. Some of the most common include:
The Police Conducted an Illegal Search and Seizure
If the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights by conducting an illegal search, any evidence they found as a result of that search may be inadmissible in court. It could lead to the dismissal of your charges. This defense is often used in cases where the police stop a car without probable cause or search a home without a warrant.
It was Not Your Marijuana
You cannot be prosecuted with possession if the drugs weren’t yours. It is often referred to as the “innocent owner” defense. It may be difficult to do if there are other people in the car or home where the drugs were found. You may also be able to argue that you did not know the drugs were there.
The Police Mistake the Type of Drug
Marijuana and other drugs can look similar, and police officers are not always able to tell the difference. If the police mistake another drug for marijuana, you may be able to have your charges dismissed. It is also possible that the drug lab made a mistake when testing the substance.
You Did Not Know the Substance was Marijuana.
For you to be guilty of possession of marijuana, the prosecution must prove that you knew the substance was marijuana. If you can show that you reasonably believed the substance was something else, such as oregano or another herbal drug, you may be able to avoid a conviction. It will be up to the prosecutor to prove that you knew the substance was marijuana.
The Police Entrapped You
Entrapment occurs when the police induce someone to commit a crime they would not otherwise have committed. If you can show that the police entrapped you, your charges may be dismissed. This is a difficult defense to win, but it may be possible if the police used coercion or persuasive tactics to get you to possess the marijuana.
You Have a Medical Marijuana Card
Florida’s medical marijuana laws allow qualified patients to possess a certain amount of marijuana for their personal use. If you have a valid medical marijuana card, you cannot be convicted of possession of marijuana. However, you must be able to show that you meet the requirements for a medical marijuana card and that you had the amount of marijuana allowed under the law.
The Police Did Not Read You Your Miranda Rights
Miranda rights must be read to you before the police can question you about a crime. If the police did not do this, any statements you made to them may not be used as evidence against you. This could lead to the dismissal of your charges.
You Are a First-Time Offender
If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a first-time offender program. These programs typically involve probation and drug counseling, and if you complete the program successfully, your charges will be dropped.
The Amount of Marijuana Found Was Less Than 20 Grams
Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If the amount of marijuana found in your possession was less than 20 grams, you may be able to avoid jail time.
The Prosecution Cannot Prove That You Possessed the Marijuana
To be convicted of possession of marijuana, the prosecution must prove that you were actually in possession of the drug. This means that they need to show that you knew the drug was present and that it was under your control. If you did not know that the drug was present, or if it was not under your control, you may have a defense to the charges.
The Marijuana was Found in a Shared Space
If the marijuana was found in a shared space, such as a car or an apartment, it may be difficult for the prosecution to prove that you knew it was there and that you had control over it.
These are just some of the possible defenses to a marijuana possession charge in Florida. You can raise any defense that applies to your case.
Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Marijuana possession charges can be daunting, but with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to have your charges dismissed. The defenses listed in this article are just a few of the possible options that may be available to you.
An attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine which defenses are most applicable. If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Hanlon Law today!
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Tampa, FL 33602