Sunday, March 17, 2013


With spring breakers in town it might come as no surprise that a  Clearwater criminal defense lawyer was recently asked about the penalties for possession of a small amount of marijuana in Florida. Drug laws in Florida are surprisingly harsher than in many other states, which unfortunately can ruin much more than just a Tampa Bay, Florida vacation for those who come for sunshine, adventure and fun.

A glass of absinthe was once illegal just as marijuana is now in Tampa Bay, Florida where harsh drug penalties should be avoided.
Marijuana or Absinthe? 
In Florida if an officer pulls over a car for a traffic infraction such as speeding, the officer must have permission to search the car unless he has a search warrant. But if nosey officers smell marijuana, then they are allowed to search a vehicle or even your home for drugs. Which doesn't quite explain how officers smelled a strong odor of marijuana in one of my pending cases, but somehow in searching the car found no pot, but pills and methamphetamine. 
The explanation the officers used in the police report was that surely vast amounts of marijuana must have been in the car recently. Officers who lie under oath about smelling marijuana should be fired from Tampa Bay police departments then investigated for perjury.
Here are details of punishment for marijuana possession in Florida:
Possession of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of a year imprisonment with maximum fine of $1,000. 
Possession of more than 20 grams is a felony punishable with a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
On top of this a first time marijuana possession in Florida also leads to a two year driver's license revocation even if the incident did not involve use of a vehicle, which is oddly more than the Florida punishment for a first time DUI of a one year Driver's License suspension with the likelihood of be given a hardship license. 
Florida has very harsh penalties for possession or sale of enough marijuana to trigger trafficking in marijuana with minimum mandatory sentences as can viewed in Florida's Drug Statutes.
If you or someone you care about has been arrested for sale or possession of drugs such as marijuana in Tampa Bay, Florida you need an effective Clearwater drug defense attorney who will find the best solutions for you.

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