The use of cannabis is illegal in Florida. However, some cities like Tampa are changing the way marijuana possession offenses are handled — passing laws and easing penalties such as jail time with just a fine.
Currently in the city of Clearwater, drug possession or “possession of a controlled substance” in the form of marijuana (cannabis/weed/pot) is considered a criminal misdemeanor if the amount does not exceed 20 grams. Outside these laws within particular cities, the state of Florida has set the maximum fine for a marijuana possession misdemeanor (under 20 grams) at $1,000, and the maximum prison sentence at 1 year.
Besides the penalties you see on the surface, there are other things to consider after getting a ticket for marijuana.
Losing Your License (for 2 years)
When you are found in possession of a drug in Florida, you can lose your license for up to 2 years. This is a major concern for anyone who needs to get to work, transport family members, or even pick up groceries.
There are things a drug possession lawyer who is experienced in criminal defense can do to possibly prevent a misdemeanor from causing you to lose your license. First, a marijuana citation lawyer can work hard to assure you receive a Withhold of Adjudication, which means you get to keep your license. If this does not work, then a lawyer can also help you apply for a hardship license that allows you to drive to work and other necessary places. Not finding a lawyer can mean the difference between losing your job and having a ride to work.
Drug Tests & Probation
If you are not sentenced to jail time (up to a year), then you will likely be put on probation. Probation can mean both supervised and unsupervised probation. Having a marijuana possession lawyer can help soften the probation you receive. Most do not like taking random drug tests and paying for the cost of supervision, but with supervised probation for a year, that’s what you can expect. Being on unsupervised probation means that you might not be required to take drug tests, but you cannot receive any more offenses within a given period of time or else you will be found in violation of your probation.
Up to $1,000 Fine & Fees
Being found in possession of 20 grams or less of the controlled substance marijuana amounts to a fine of $1,000 in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. In addition, you may be made to pay court costs, the cost of prosecution, and possibly the cost of supervision. A lawyer specializing in marijuana possession in Florida can help reduce these costs.
Ineligibility for Financial Aid & Loans
A ticket for marijuana may seem harmless, but it could result in an end to your future plans to go to college. If you are convicted of a drug related crime after being found in possession of any illegal drug, such as marijuana, in the state of Florida, you may lose access to state or even federal financial aid and loans.
Pretrial Intervention Programs
With the help of a lawyer, first-time offenders or those with minimal criminal history may negotiate the dismissal of charges using the Pretrial Intervention Program. This requires you to participate in the outlined program set by the State Attorney’s Office, and upon successful completion, your case is dismissed.
Need a marijuana citation lawyer for a Hillsborough County?
“Just a ticket” can sometimes be more serious. Find a criminal defense lawyer who can reduce the penalties you receive. Dean Tsourakis is an experienced criminal defense and drug possession lawyer in Hillsborough, Clearwater, and the Tampa Bay area who can represent your case.
SOURCES:on Apr 20, 2016