Not all drug crimes come with the same penalties, and Florida statutes make distinctions between possession for personal use and possession with intent to distribute. Marijuana charges may come with other statutory differences since the Sunshine State levies penalties based on the amount of marijuana someone allegedly possesses.
Felony and misdemeanor drug charges in Florida
When someone possesses less than 20 grams of marijuana, the accused could face misdemeanor charges. The maximum penalty for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. If the person possesses more than 20 grams, the individual faces felony charges. For amounts between 20 grams and 25lbs, the maximum fine jumps to $5,000 and the maximum prison term is a maximum of five years.
The felony-level fines and penalties continue to increase for marijuana crimes that involve the possession of significant amounts. Thus, 2,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds of marijuana in someone’s possession could result in a maximum 30-year prison term.
The law also levies felony charges for possessing marijuana plants. Expect felony charges when possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, park, or another designated area.
Points about marijuana sale and possession
Selling 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor, but selling between that amount and 25 pounds is a felony. The felony sentencing guidelines become harsher when selling greater amounts of marijuana.
Persons facing charges maintain their constitutional rights. The police cannot search and arrest someone without probable cause. Criminal charges require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the prosecutor must reach this bar when trying to prove the defendant intended to sell marijuana. Florida legalized medical marijuana, which adds another potential defense if someone is taken into custody.