As marijuana laws relax across the nation, many Tampa, Florida residents mistakenly believe that possessing drugs is no longer a severe offense in the state. For example, many residents believe it is now legal to have small amounts of marijuana. Unfortunately, this is not the case because marijuana possession for recreational use remains unlawful in Florida.
Possessing fewer than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense in Florida. It is punishable by up to a year in jail and a costly fine. Possession of 20 grams or more can result in up to five years behind bars. It is wise to remain up to date regarding state drug laws to avoid an arrest and a possible conviction.
What are some effective defenses against drug charges?
As you might imagine, the best way to avoid jail is to avoid a conviction. Developing a solid defense is something that requires careful consideration and professional guidance. Below are three examples of often effective defenses against drug charges involving possession:
- Unlawful search and seizure. Police officers must follow the law just as everyone else must. If they violate your constitutional rights when conducting a drug search, any alleged evidence they find may be inadmissible.
- Missing evidence. In drug cases, evidence, including the substance in question, passes through several hands as it makes its way through the system. Sometimes, evidence gets lost or misplaced. If the prosecution lacks drug evidence against you, your case may qualify for dismissal.
- Poor crime lab analysis. Prosecutors will not bring a case against you unless they are sure the substance in question is illegal. Typically, this means sending the material to a crime lab for analysis. However, if the evidence becomes contaminated or otherwise made unusable, you may be able to avoid a conviction.
While it is not easy to overcome drug charges, it is crucial not to give up. Keep fighting for your freedom and learn about the law to help you present the best defense possible.