Attitudes toward marijuana are rapidly changing in the United States, as various states have legalized or decriminalized possession of the drug for recreational purposes, and many more have legalized it for medical use as a prescription drug. Florida, however, has bucked the trend and is trailing behind in establishing more enlightened and compassionate marijuana laws that would allow for the compassionate use of a substance that is widely becoming recognized as relatively harmless and frequently helpful for certain patients dealing with pain, seizures, or loss of appetite because of AIDS, cancer, or other health problems. Although a substantial majority of Floridians voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in November of 2014, the vote was two percentage points short of the 60 percent needed for the initiative to pass. If you are faced with these charges, a Tampa marijuana attorney can help.
At this time, a marijuana-related charge can land you in jail in Florida, and that includes possession or sale of rolling papers, bongs, or “paraphernalia” meant for marijuana use or cultivation. You could be fined up to $5,000, lose your driver’s license, your job, your business, and your right to vote just for owning a pipe! Penalties for possession with intent to sell marijuana go as high as a $200,000 fine and up to 30 years in jail.
Defenses Available for Marijuana Charges
The potential penalties are severe, but having a highly experienced defense attorney on your side can make the all the difference, sparing you a life in which you are dogged by a criminal conviction. Defenses are available, and a smart and aggressive defense attorney knows how to apply the law to your benefit. Some of the defenses a good attorney may raise include, but are not limited to the following:
- Lack of knowledge that the material in your possession was a controlled substance or that “paraphernalia” was purchased for a drug-related use
- Entrapment by police
- Unconstitutional search and seizure by law enforcement in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights
- The defense of necessity, which is that the harm which resulting from complying with the law exceeds that which would result from violating it. This defense may be used in the case of extreme medical necessity.
Choose the Right Tampa Marijuana Attorney
Carefully choosing a defense lawyer with a record of successfully defending against marijuana and other drug charges to represent you is essential. Do not make the mistake of accepting a public defender. PDs may be good lawyers, but they simply have too many cases to handle to give the focused attention to your case that is required. Public defenders frequently dispose of as many cases as possible by pushing a defendant into a plea bargain, rather than going to trial. If proving your innocence is important to you, avoid public defenders and work out a payment plan with the best, criminal defense lawyer you can find, someone like Will Hanlon in Tampa.
With an AVVO rating of 10 (superb), the highest possible, Tampa criminal defense attorney Will Hanlon has earned the respect of his legal peers and the gratitude of his clients whom he has successfully defended. Since 1994, Will has devoted his law practice to defending the rights of the accused in Tampa Bay and the West Central Florida Coastal region. He has the knowledge, skill, and experience to produce the best possible outcome for his clients accused on marijuana-related crimes, including preventing charges from being filed, dismissal of charges, reduction of charges, pretrial intervention, and acquittal at trial. He understands the anxiety and fear that you may be facing as you see the possibility of your life slipping away due to a criminal charge.
Bring an Experienced Attorney on Board from the Start
It is important to bring Will on board as early as possible. The sooner you have him representing you, the better the odds become of obtaining a positive result and protecting your freedom, your finances, and your future. If you or someone you love is facing criminal marijuana or other drug charge, or even if you’ve been questioned by police, you quality need professional legal advocacy. The stakes are too high to risk going with a less experienced Tampa marijuana attorney. Call Will Hanlon today.