Marijuana Charges in Orlando
Marijuana is one the most popular recreational drugs in Florida, and many criminal charges can arise from possession or use of the drug, also known as pot, weed, hydro, ganja, bud, chronic, cannabis, hash or hashish. A few of the most common marijuana charges in Orlando are:
Although marijuana has been legalized or at least decriminalized in other states, Florida still punishes the mere possession of marijuana. In fact, Florida has some of the harshest cannabis laws in the country for possession of more than 20 grams, possession with intent to sell or delivery, sell or delivery of cannabis, operation of a grow house, and trafficking. Someone who is convicted of a marijuana offense can face jail or prison and/or fines, in addition to indirect consequences that come with any drug conviction including a driver's license suspension for two years. It is important to hire someone who has experience fighting Florida’s marijuana laws and will fight your case aggressively.
Orlando Marijuana Defense Attorney
The attorneys at Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. can help you avoid harsh punishments and severe repercussions for your marijuana charges in Orlando, Florida. Maria D. Hale and Richard O. Hale experienced and knowledgeable with Florida’s marijuana laws, and will make every effort to find defenses or mitigating factors to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. Call the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation today.
Orlando Marijuana Charges Information Center
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Marijuana Offenses and Statutes in Florida
Marijuana has not been made legal by the state of Florida, and all marijuana offenses are governed by The Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which is codified in Florida Statutes chapter 893. The Act defines all offenses and penalties for any marijuana offenses in Florida. Section 893.13 lists acts involving marijuana that are prohibited, including:
- Simple Possession is known as actually or constructively possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana. A conviction of this offense can result in a misdemeanor of the first degree.
- Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Some examples of marijuana paraphernalia can include papers, pipes, marijuana grinders, bongs and roach clips.
- Felony Possession is defined as actual or constructive possession of marijuana more than or equal to 20 grams, and committing this act can result in a felony of the third degree.
- Cultivation or Manufacture of Marijuana can result in a felony of the third degree conviction, and includes growing, producing, cultivating or making marijuana, either synthetically or naturally.
- Trafficking in Cannabis is selling or distributing marijuana in the state of Florida. Trafficking less than 25 pounds can result in a felony of the third degree conviction. Trafficking 25 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana or 300 to 2,000 plants can result in a felony of the second degree conviction. And, trafficking marijuana over 2,000 pounds is a felony of the first degree.
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Cultivation of Marijuana / Florida Grow Houses
In 2008, the state of Florida passed legislation changing the laws and penalties of marijuana grow houses in Florida. The Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act (Florida Statutes § 893.1351) defines growing just 25 marijuana plants in a home as per se evidence of an intent to sell or distribute marijuana. Under the Act, a conviction for intent to sell or distribute marijuana would result in a possible sentence for up to 15 years in prison.
A marijuana plant in Florida can be anything with evidence of root formation. So, if someone has 25 seedlings or small cuttings of marijuana plants, they could be charged with an intent to sell or distribute marijuana, and be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.
This act also applies to landlords or residents of grow houses, that could lead to felony charges with possible prison sentences, even if they did not have actual knowledge the house was used as a grow house.
Florida’s previous laws pertaining to grow houses provided for the same punishments for a person growing 300 or more plants. Additionally, federal trafficking laws permit up to 100 plants to be grown in a house before such a severe punishment is enforced. Florida’s new grow house legislation makes it one of the most strict states regarding marijuana offenses and punishments.
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Medicinal Marijuana Legalization in Florida
Florida does not currently permit medicinal marijuana; however, it may have some medical benefits, and has been used to treat a variety of medical issues. Some common uses are for pain relief from nerve damage, glaucoma treatment, treatment for movement disorders, and treatment for nausea arising from typical cancer treatments. Medicinal marijuana can also be used for people suffering from HIV and cancer as an appetite stimulant. Research also shows that marijuana is neuroprotective, and can potentially defend the body against some types of malignant tumors.
Fifteen states in the United States and Washington D.C. have already passed legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana, in addition to many other countries. Several United States and international health organizations agree there is some medicinal benefit to marijuana, and support a patient’s ability to legally access marijuana under a physician’s supervision.
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Penalties for Marijuana Offenses in Orlando, Florida
The following list describes typical sentences for a conviction of marijuana charges in Florida:
- Misdemeanor of the Second Degree – Up to 60 days in jail, and/or fines up to $500;
- Misdemeanor of the First Degree – Jail time not more than one year, and/or fines up to $1,000;
- Felony of the Third Degree – Prison time up to five years, and/or fines not exceeding $5,000;
- Felony of the Second Degree – Prison sentence not more than 15 years, and/or fines not in excess of $25,000; and
- Felony of the First Degree – Up to 30 years in prison, and/or fines up to $200,000.
Additionally, some marijuana convictions can result in an immediate driver’s license suspension for up to two years according to Florida Statutes § 322.055. Other penalties can include:
- A ban for five years from adopting or becoming a foster parent in Florida,
- A ban for three years from public housing,
- According to Florida Statutes § 790.23, a lifetime ban from owning a firearm for certain marijuana felony convictions,
- Inability to receive certain permits, licenses or certifications for certain felonies unless registered in a drug treatment program,
- Ineligibility from some government employment unless registered in a drug treatment program, and/or
- Ineligibility to receive certain scholarships for further education and state financial aid.
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Florida’s Drug Court for Marijuana Offenses
Florida’s laws permit certain offenders to avoid jail or prison sentences if they have been charged with certain nonviolent first-time marijuana offenses.
Florida’s Drug Court - is a voluntary program available for offenders who have been charged with certain drug offenses, including marijuana charges that are misdemeanors or third degree felonies.
Eligible offenders are those who have no other drug offenses, and have been charged with marijuana possession, marijuana sale or delivery charges, and any other offense that is marijuana-based.
Requirements of Florida’s drug court for marijuana offenses usually include regular court appearances before a drug court judge, counseling to prevent repeat offenses, substance abuse treatment, and monitoring by law enforcement officers. Most likely, the marijuana charges will be dismissed after the offender has successfully completed all requirements of the drug court.
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Defenses to Marijuana Charges
If you have been charged with a marijuana offense in Orlando, there may be defenses to your charge your attorney can help identify, or other mitigating factors that can dismiss your charge, or reduce it to a lesser offense. Some defenses or exceptions may be:
- Illegal search of your home, person or car
- Failure to read Miranda Warnings
- Insufficient evidence
- Mistaken identity
- You have an alibi
- No intent to commit the crime
- Other constitutional issues
Your attorney will be able to file a Motion to Dismiss your marijuana charge or a Motion to Suppress illegally obtained evidence if there are qualifying defenses or exceptions to your offense.
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Marijuana Resources in Orlando
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – Florida’s NORML page has information on Florida’s laws about marijuana, penalties for marijuana charges, information on local chapters, Florida marijuana data and news, and marijuana resources.
Drug Enforcement Administration – The DEA is a national governmental agency that enforces the United State’s laws and regulations regarding drugs marijuana offenses.
Federal Drug Penalties – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s web site has information about specific federal penalties for marijuana violations, including prison sentences and fines.
Office of National Drug Control Policy – This national government office’s goal is to establish policies, priorities and objectives of the Nation’s anti-drug efforts and programs.
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Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. | Orlando Marijuana Arrest Lawyer
Contact the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. today for a consultation about your marijuana charge in Orlando, Florida. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to hear the facts of your particular case, and help you find the best possible outcome for your situation. Contact Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation about your marijuana charges in Orange County and surrounding areas, including Seminole County, Osceola County, Orlando, Winter Park and Kissimmee.