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Marijuana Possession Threatens College Student’s Future

The Incident

At a local apartment complex, law enforcement was dispatched to the swimming pool area after receiving reports of two young men engaging in underage drinking and marijuana use. Upon arrival, officers engaged with the suspects, detecting the scent of marijuana. One of the individuals, an 18-year-old college student, inadvertently dropped a cigarette when standing, leading to his arrest for marijuana possession.

Understanding Marijuana Possession in Florida

In the state of Florida, the law categorizes marijuana possession as a misdemeanor offense. This possession is defined in two forms: actual possession, where the individual physically has the substance on their person, and constructive possession, implying the individual has dominion over the substance without it being physically on them.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. Being found in possession can result in significant penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000, potential jail time of up to one year, and a probation period of the same duration. Additionally, offenders may face a one-year suspension of their driving privileges.

The consequences escalate with the possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, transitioning the charge into a felony. This elevation carries a fine of $5,000 and a possible five-year prison sentence. Such a conviction has far-reaching effects beyond the courtroom, impacting future opportunities and rights. Convicted felons must disclose their status on various applications, face challenges in securing employment and housing, lose their voting rights, and are restricted from holding certain professional licenses.

Defense Strategies Against Marijuana Possession Charges

Several defense strategies can be employed to challenge marijuana possession charges, including:

  • Insufficient evidence to support the charges
  • Entrapment by law enforcement
  • Violation of rights due to failure to read Miranda rights
  • Illegal search and seizure operations
  • Mistaken identity, asserting the wrong person has been accused
  • Lack of actual or constructive possession, disputing the connection between the accused and the marijuana

It’s crucial for individuals facing such charges to seek competent legal representation to navigate the complexities of the legal system and explore all possible defenses.