D. Scott Rieth Criminal Defense Attorney
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The options when facing drug offenses for marijuana

Marijuana laws seem to be in flux for much of the country. Florida has legalized it for medical purposes, but it remains illegal for people to use as a recreational drug. Despite that, people will still purchase it and run the risk of being arrested. Even those who are buying a small amount can face drug offenses. Those who are involved in possession and sale can be confronted with serious consequences if they are convicted.

In Florida, those who have 20 grams or less of marijuana - for possession or sale - can be arrested and face a jail term of as long as one year. There can be a fine for $1,000. Having paraphernalia can also result in these penalties. That includes items that are used to package, weigh and store the drug, like baggies, scales and pipes. Another popular drug in this category, hash, will have these same penalties, but the difference is these punishments can be assessed for less than three grams. These are misdemeanor penalties.

For people who have more than 20 grams of marijuana or more than three grams of hash, it will be a felony. A conviction can result in five to 30-years in jail and fines of $5,000 to $200,000. For people accused of drug trafficking, the penalties are harsher. Those accused of selling at least 25 pounds of marijuana can be sentenced to a minimum of three years in jail. Another commonly unknown aspect of a marijuana conviction is that the person's driver's license will be suspended. A conviction could warrant two years of a suspended license.

Any drug charges are serious and that includes drugs that are not considered to be "dangerous," like marijuana and hash. Law enforcement and prosecutors will still seek significant penalties when there is an arrest for these drug allegations. The evidence is key in these cases and if there was an illegal search, a traffic stop was unwarranted or there were other violations of police protocol, it could help with the potential dismissal of the drug crimes.

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Bradenton, FL 34202

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