The consequences for a marijuana possession can be quite serious, and there is the potential for escalating the charge from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute, which is a felony offense. That is why it is important to seek legal counsel and begin assessing your options. If you have been charged with cannabis possession, consult a capable drug defense attorney. Work with a Ft. Lauderdale marijuana possession lawyer that is capable of devoting the time and resources necessary to build a solid case for you.
How Prosecutors Treat Possession Charges
A number of states have shifted away from criminalization to decriminalization of cannabis charges. The federal government has not changed their stance that possession of marijuana should be a criminal offense. It is still, for the most part, illegal, but in Ft. Lauderdale, there is less of a stigma associated with it. Cannabis cases are still prosecuted, but probably not as vigorously as some other offenses. The county has given the municipalities the option of decriminalizing misdemeanor possession of marijuana. No municipalities have taken the county up on that yet, so at least in Ft. Lauderdale, it is still unlawful. A lot of officers issue what is called written arrest (or notice to appear) as opposed taking somebody into custody and having them post a bond.
From a law enforcement perspective, they still prosecute the cases, but the touch is a little softer. For an individual that keeps coming to the system over and over again, even in a possession of marijuana case, it could get to the point where a prosecutor or judge would look upon that as a sign of disrespect and that might change the prosecutor’s or judge’s tune. Comparing apples to apples, the first offense for possession of marijuana versus some other substances prosecutors may be more lenient because of the direction in which the prosecution is going to be heading.
Legislation Regarding Marijuana Possession in Different Jurisdictions
Broward County passed an ordinance giving the municipalities, which include Fort Lauderdale, the ability or the right to issue simple citations for possession of misdemeanor amount of marijuana. The municipalities, which include Ft. Lauderdale, have not taken the county up on that invitation yet. It is technically possible, but it has not been put into practice yet in Ft. Lauderdale.
The Ft. Lauderdale Police Department still elects to pursue criminal charges on misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases. Whether or not the arrest and taking an individual into custody versus giving somebody a notice to appear, which is known as a written arrest is discretionary. Either way, it would still be a criminal case in a criminal prosecution and a Ft. Lauderdale lawyer could work with the defendant to build their marijuana possession case.
Mitigating Factors Leading to Judge Leniency
Judges are probably more lenient based on the age of the offender. For a 20-year-old individual and 65-year-old individual with the same charge and circumstances, the court might intervene a little more in the 20-year-old individual’s case. It can be a misdemeanor, but the amounts are going to be viewed differently if somebody has a medical issue but did not obtain the cannabis or marijuana through the right channels.
That would not necessarily be a legal offense, but it might cause the court to be a little bit more lenient on them. A Ft. Lauderdale lawyer could potentially prove, for example, that they have an identifiable condition or disease that was recognized to be alleviated by the use and possession of marijuana, even though they might not have obtained it legally. It would not result in the case going away, but it might garner some leniency from the courts if certain mitigating facts or circumstances can be shown.
Constitutional Issues in Marijuana Possession Cases
More often than not, issues involving Fourth Amendment, unlawful searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment, violations of an individual’s right to remain silent, are actions against self-incrimination. Those are the common issues in drug-related cases. A Ft. Lauderdale attorney can issue a constitutional challenge when evidence of marijuana possession was derived as a result of that unlawful activity. The judge would exclude any evidence that was derived as a result of that unlawful activity.
A person could have a ruling from a court that there was a Fourth Amendment violation, for example, a traffic stop was bad or a search was bad, that has a devastating impact on a prosecution’s case. It could put them in a position whereby they might not be able to go forward with the prosecution on a drug-related case as the court rules that the evidence or drugs were obtained unlawfully and the court is going to exclude the evidence. Now there are new issues related to new constitutional amendments that were passed this past fall regarding medical marijuana. That still varies in Florida and the state is still working on it, but that is a new broader defense that was not available in the past.
Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Marijuana Possession Attorney
Following your possession of marijuana arrest, you may wonder what your next course of action should be. A Ft. Lauderdale marijuana possession lawyer can help simplify the legal process. By working with a skilled defense attorney you could potentially bolster your chance at a positive outcome. If you have been arrested for cannabis possession, work with an experienced legal advocate and know that you are in capable hands.