At Blake & Dorsten, we vigorously represent people who have been charged with marijuana possession and other drug offenses. These charges carry serious potential consequences in Florida, including jail time, steep fines, and a criminal record that may make it difficult to find and keep a job. Our St. Petersburg marijuana possession lawyers fight charges head-on, working tirelessly to get them dropped or reduced whenever possible. We are former state prosecutors who understand how police, prosecutors, judges, and juries approach these cases. Our drug crime attorneys are happy to guide clients through the criminal justice process with experience and professionalism.Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Florida
Although Floridians recently voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, it is important to understand that the recreational use and possession of weed is still illegal under state law. This is true even in cities in which marijuana has been “decriminalized.” It is vital that a person suspected or accused of possessing marijuana seek the advice and counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana still carries potentially a year behind bars and as much as $1,000 in fines under state law. If you get caught with more than 20 grams of marijuana, you are facing up to five years behind bars and as much as $5,000 in fines. Anyone convicted of marijuana possession – regardless of the amount involved – may also have their driver’s license suspended, depending on the circumstances.Building a Strong Defense
However, state law and the U.S. Constitution offer a number of possible defenses. The burden is at all times on prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime with which you were charged. “More likely than not” is not enough. They need to provide highly convincing evidence to support a conviction. A marijuana possession attorney can help St. Petersburg residents challenge their charges at every step of the process.
Many defenses in drug cases relate to how police officers found the marijuana and obtained any other evidence that they want to use against you. Law enforcement officers may not simply stop and search people for no reason. They also may not go into people’s homes without a warrant unless there is a situation in which an exception to the warrant rule applies. When officers fail to follow the rules, any evidence obtained from unlawful stops and searches is likely to be kept out of court.
Police need to have a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime is being committed or has recently been committed to stop you on the street or pull over your car. Police officers may frisk people whom they stop if they have a reasonable suspicion that they are armed. Officers may search a car only if they have “probable cause” to believe that evidence of a crime is inside.
Generally, police need your consent or a warrant from a judge in order to enter and search your home. The law also allows them to enter a home under certain “exigent circumstances,” including when they are in close pursuit of a suspect or can see contraband in plain view.Contact a Seasoned Marijuana Possession Lawyer in the St. Petersburg Area
Our team understands the legal issues that often come up in marijuana and other drug cases. We know how to develop compelling arguments for the people whom we represent, and we have a strong track record of getting results for our clients. If you or a loved one has been charged with marijuana possession or another drug offense in Florida, our St. Petersburg marijuana possession attorneys are ready to help. Our offices are conveniently located in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and we serve defendants throughout the region. Our clients come from cities such as Tampa, Sarasota, Brandon, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Bradenton, as well as other areas of Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Lee Counties. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make a free appointment to discuss your case. We also help people who need a trafficking attorney or assistance with fighting other types of drug charges.