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If You Are Arrested for Smoking or Possessing Marijuana

June 12, 2012
By The Wiseman Law Firm

To date, there are 11 states that have passed legislation decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, generally less than one ounce or under 16 grams. Currently, there are 16 states that have legalized medical marijuana subject to certain restrictions on its cultivation, possession, use, and sale.

Unfortunately, Florida has not subscribed to any of these measures and has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the nation. This also refers to anyone arrested for smoking marijuana.


In Florida, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, which is slightly more than one ounce, is considered a first degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum jail sentence of 1 year, 1 years’ probation and a $1,000 fine.

The criminal penalties, however, are only a small part of the consequences you face for being convicted of possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana.

Collateral Consequences

Anyone convicted of possessing any amount of marijuana, regardless if it is less than one gram, faces suspension of his or her driver’s license for two years.

Further, the law punishes you by taking away your eligibility for public housing for up to 3 years, bans you from receiving state financial assistance for education, and imposes a 5 year ban on becoming a foster parent. You are also prohibited from any public employment until you complete a drug treatment program.

Be aware that if you are convicted of possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, the offense is enhanced to a third degree felony with possible prison time of up to 5 years, 5 years’ probation and a $5,000 fine. The degree of felony and the punishment for the marijuana offense increases the more marijuana is found in your possession.


There are defenses to being caught smoking or possessing marijuana. If law enforcement unlawfully entered the area where you were smoking or an undercover agent entrapped you into smoking, you may have a viable constitutional defense because any search and seizure may have been unlawful.

People who are stopped in their vehicles and suspected of smoking or possessing marijuana could argue that the stop was not valid, that someone else was smoking or possessing the marijuana in your vehicle, and that any blood test detecting the presence of the drug in your system was not credible. Marijuana remains in a person’s blood for up to 30-days so it may not be possible to prove when you were smoking it.


If you are arrested for smoking or possessing marijuana, do not talk to the police, sign anything, or admit to anything regardless of what is promised you. Instead, ask to speak to an attorney and do nothing until you contact The Wiseman Law Firm.

The Wiseman Law Firm has criminal defense attorneys who have the skills and knowledge you need in any type of criminal case to investigate the circumstances of your arrest and protect your constitutional rights. Even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor, you still face the possibility of jail time, loss of your driver’s license, probation and the other burdensome consequences that can dramatically affect your life.

By contacting The Wiseman Law Firm at your earliest opportunity, your chances of a favorable resolution of your case increases dramatically. Get your free consultation.

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