Marijuana Defense

Cannabis, also known as marijuana or marihuana and referred to as pot, weed, ganja and other colloquial names, is a plant indigenous to Central Asia. It has been ingested by people for centuries. It has been studied and shown to have few serious health risks, and has even been shown to have some medicinal purposes, especially for patients dealing with chronic pain issues.

Nevertheless, the state of Florida and the federal government have made marijuana completely illegal. Even the mere possession for personal use can lead to jail time, with greater penalties for sale or cultivation.

The Difference We Make
Another Favorable Meltzer & Bell Case Result
CHARGES

Possession of Marijuana (Violation of Probation)

FACTS

The Defendant was on probation and committed a felony offense out of another county. A warrant was issued for her arrest. After gathering evidence and presenting arguments to the felony prosecutor on the new felony charges, all of those charges were dropped...
>>> Read More Marijuana Case Results

OUTCOME
CHARGES DROPPED

Lawyer for Marijuana Crimes in Fort Lauderdale, FL

A skilled Fort Lauderdale marijuana defense lawyer at Meltzer & Bell will fight for you if you face any type of charge relating to cannabis. We got our start as a prosecutor and a public defender in Broward County courts. We are experienced in both the courts of the 17th Judicial Circuit and the federal courts of the U.S. Southern District of Florida.

Marijuana use may not be shown to have many negative effects, but a criminal conviction on cannabis charges can destroy your life. Act today by contacting us to set up a free consultation. We represent clients throughout Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Weston, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Davie, Sunrise and Wilton Manors.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (954) 745-7457 today.


Infomation Center


Back to top

Marijuana Possession Charges Under Florida Law

Cannabis is a controlled substance under Florida Statutes Annotated § 893.03, making it illegal to possess without legal justification. Florida does not permit medical marijuana, so there can be no valid prescription, even if you were prescribed and legally obtained it in a state with legal cannabis laws.

However, unlike most illegal substances, it can be a misdemeanor under certain circumstances to possess a very small amount. Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor.  This is an extremely small amount — less than .75 of an ounce — and it includes all of the plant, even unusable portions. Any more is a third-degree felony.

First-degree misdemeanor charges result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000, while a third-degree felony carries penalties up to five times heavier: up to five years and a fine up to $5,000.

If convicted of even misdemeanor possession charges, your license could be suspended for two years. If prosecutors can prove even a minuscule amount of marijuana, you could lose your driving privileges.


Back to top

Sale and Cultivation of Cannabis

If accused of selling marijuana, you will face possession with intent to distribute charges, a third-degree felony. Prosecutors may use a broad range of evidence to show intent to distribute, including how much cannabis was possessed, how the weed was packaged, if there was paraphernalia like baggies or scales present or if you were in possession of a large amount of cash.

Marijuana cultivation can also result in charges of possession with intent to distribute. This can range from running a grow house to having a few potted plants in your backyard.

Large amounts of cannabis can result in trafficking charges under Florida Statutes Annotated § 893.135. Possession of more than 25 pounds for the purpose of sale or cultivation will mean charges that carry a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and a fine of $25,000. More than five tons results in a minimum 15-year sentence and a fine of $200,000.


Back to top

Defenses to Cannabis Charges in Broward County Courts

In the vast majority of marijuana cases, the chief evidence is the marijuana itself. Law enforcement use a wide range of tactics to find this evidence: sniffing dogs, planes and even heat detection devices that can find the heat from hydroponic equipment used in grow houses.

This evidence must be admissible in court. To be admissible, police cannot have violated your Fourth Amendment constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In many cases, that involves obtaining a warrant.

Your attorney can challenge the constitutionality of the search and seizure that led to the evidence being obtained. If it was illegally obtained, the evidence may be tossed out. Without critical evidence, your charges may be dismissed.

Your attorney can also help you determine alternative options, like Broward County Drug Court. The drug court program allows your charges to be dismissed if you complete treatment. Admittance is at the discretion of the judge.


Types of Marijuana Crimes Charged under Florida Law

According to the 2017 Charge Book, printed on January of 2018, the prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office in the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Broward County, FL, are trained to enter the following information into the charging document in marijuana cases: 

  • 893.13(6)(b) FDLE REC# 3696
    • POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA (less than 20g)
    • was knowingly in actual or constructive possession of 20 grams or less of a material, compound, mixture or preparation which contained cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, a controlled substance, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(6)(b). (1 DEG MISD)
  • 893.13(6)(a) FDLE REC# 5331
    • POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA (excess of 20g.)
    • (Same as above) – more than 20 grams Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a). (3 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 1)
  • 893.13(1)(a) FDLE REC# 3448
    • POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA WITH INTENT TO SELL
    • (Same as above) ….. with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver said controlled substance, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(a). (3 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 3)
  • 893.13(1)(a)2 FDLE REC# 3447
    • SALE OF MARIJUANA
    • did knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver (*) cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, or a material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contained cannabis, a controlled substance, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(a)2. (3 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 3)
    • NOTE: For felony possession as a lesser included offense please insert “more than 20 grams of” at asterisk.
    • NOTE: Sale, manufacture, deliver, etc. within 1,000 feet of a school is a second degree felony – 893.13(1)(e)2. (No 3 year mandatory minimum).
  • 893.13(2)(a)2 FDLE REC# 3621
    • PURCHASE OR POSSESS WITH INTENT TO PURCHASE MARIJUANA
    • did knowingly purchase or possess with intent to purchase cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, or a material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contained cannabis, a controlled substance, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(2(a)2. (3 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 1)
  • 777.04(1) and 893.13(2)(a)2 FDLE REC# 2532
    • ATTEMPTED PURCHASE OF MARIJUANA  (use for stings only)
    • did attempt to purchase marijuana and in such attempt did an act toward the commission of such offense by purchasing fake marijuana from an undercover police officer, but *(DEFENDANT) failed in the perpetration or was intercepted or prevented in the execution of said offense, contrary to Florida Statutes 777.04(1) and 893.13(2)(a)2. (1 DEG MISD).
  • 893.13(1)(c)2 FDLE REC# 3518
    • POSS. MARIJUANA WITH INTENT TO SELL (1000 ft of school/park) was knowingly in actual or constructive possession of *(OPTION -SELECT QUANTITY)
    • a material, compound, mixture or preparation which contained cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, a controlled substance, in, on, or within 1000 feet of the real property comprising a child care facility as defined in section 402.302 or a  public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school, with intent to sell or deliver said controlled substance, between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and midnight, or at any time in, on, or within 1,000 feet of real property comprising a state, county, or municipal park, a community center, or a publicly owned recreational facility, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(c)2. (2 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 5)
    • Note: Insert more than 20 grams for felony possession lesser 
  • 893.13(1)(d)2 FDLE REC# 3581
    • SALE OF MARIJUANA (1000 ft of college) did knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to sell, manufacture,or deliver *(OPTION -SELECT QUANTITY)  cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, or a material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contained cannabis, a controlled substance, in, on, or within 1000 feet of the real property comprising a public or private college, university, or other post-secondary educational institution, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(d)2. (2 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 3)
    • Note: Insert more than 20 grams for felony possession lesser 
  • 893.13(1)(e)2 FDLE REC# 4221
    • SALE OF MARIJUANA (1000 ft of place for worship -convenience business)(Same as Above) ….. in, on, or within 1000 feet of a physical place for worship at which a church or religious organization regularly conducts religious services or within 1,000 feet of a (STORE), a convenience business as defined in section 812.171, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(e)2. (2 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 5)
    • Note: Insert more than 20 grams for felony possession lesser 
  • 893.13(1)(c)2 FDLE REC# 3517
    • SALE OF MARIJUANA (1000 ft of a school/park)(Same as Above) …..in, on, or within 1000 feet of the real property comprising a child care facility as defined in section 402.302 or a public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school, with intent to sell or deliver said controlled substance, between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and midnight, or at any time in, on, or within 1,000 feet of real property comprising a state, county, or municipal park, a community center, or a publicly owned recreational facility, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(c)2. (2 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 5)
    • Note: Insert more than 20 grams for felony possession lesser January 26, 2018
  • 893.13(1)(f)2. FDLE REC# 4277
    • SALE OR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA WITH INTENT TO SELL  (1000 ft of public housing facility)
    • (Same as Above) …. in, on, or within 1000 feet of a public housing facility , contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(f)2. (2 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 3)
  • 893.13(1)(h)2 FDLE REC# 5936
    • SALE OR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA WITH INTENT TO SELL (1000 ft of an assisted living facility)
    • (Same as Above) …. in, on, or within 1000 feet of an assisted living facility, contrary to Florida Statute 893.13(1)(h)2. (2 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 4)
  • 893.135(1)(a)1 FDLE REC# 4017
    • TRAFFICKING IN MARIJUANA (25 – 2,000 lbs or 300 – 2,000 plants)(3 year minimum mandatory, $25,000 fine)
    • did knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver, purchase, or bring into the State of Florida or was knowingly in actual or constructive possession of  cannabis, a controlled substance, commonly known as marijuana, in excess of 25 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds, or 300 or more cannabis plants, but not more than 2,000 cannabis plants, contrary to Florida Statute 893.135(1)(a)1. (1 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 7)
  • 893.135(1)(a)2 FDLE REC# 4017
    • TRAFFICKING IN MARIJUANA (2,000 -10,000 lbs or plants)
    • (7 year minimum mandatory,  $50,000 fine)  (1 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 8)
  • 893.135(1)(a)3 FDLE REC# 4017
    • TRAFFICKING IN MARIJUANA (10,000 or more lbs. or plants)
    • (15 year minimum mandatory, $200,000 fine)  (1 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 9)
  • 893.135(1)(a)1 and (5) FDLE REC# 7667
    • CONSPIRACY TO TRAFFIC IN MARIJUANA (25-2,000 lbs or 300 – 2,000 plants)(3 year minimum mandatory, $25,000 fine)
    • did agree, conspire, combine or confederate with another person to knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver, purchase, or bring into the State of Florida, or was knowingly in actual or constructive possession of cannabis, a controlled substance, commonly known as marijuana in an amount 25 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds, or 300 or more cannabis plants, but not more than 2,000 cannabis plants, contrary to Florida Statute893.135(1)(a)1 and (5).(1 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 7)
  • 893.135(1)(a)2 and (5) FDLE REC# 7667
    • CONSPIRACY TO TRAFFIC IN MARIJUANA (2,000 – 10,000 lbs or plants)(7-year minimum mandatory, $50,000 fine)  (1 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 8)
  • 893.135(1)(a)3 and (5) FDLE REC# 7667
    • CONSPIRACY TO TRAFFIC IN MARIJUANA (10,000 or more lbs. or plants) (15 year minimum mandatory, $200,000 fine)  (1 DEG FEL) (LEVEL 9)

Back to top

Additional Resources

NORML  – The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is dedicated to lobbying for sensible public policy surrounding cannabis.

NORML of Florida  – The state chapter of the national organization works with the Florida Legislature in enacting responsible state laws.


Back to top

Finding the Best Cannabis Defense Attorney in Broward County

Act immediately if you face charges or are suspected of any crime involving cannabis. By calling a Fort Lauderdale marijuana defense lawyer at Meltzer & Bell, we will immediately begin working on your case and fighting for the best possible result, whether that be a no file, dismissal, acquittal or drug court. We represent clients all over Broward County. Contact us today at (954) 745-7457 to set up a free consultation.

 

(954) 745-7457
  1. Our Firm

  2. Practices
  3. Contact
Meltzer & Bell, P.A.