I was arrested for possession of marijuana. I had about a gram in a baggy in the back seat. The officers found it after they searched the car. I was pulled over for running a stop light but just received a warning but have a court date. What am I to expect?
The car was searched because one of the officers said they smelled marijuana.
Each county is different. You might have to performe some community service or be on probation. One alternative is a Diversion program. However, let's not forget that you may have defenses. Always consult with an attorney before accepting any offer. Most importantly, if you are adjudicated guilty, you will have a two-year DL suspension. For a free consult, contact my office.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
A first offense Possession of Less than 20 Grams of Cannabis is punishable by a maximum of 1 years in jail and/or $1000 fine. However, the likleihood of incarceration is quite slim. The average sentence for this offense varies around the state, but you are probabky looking at probation, drug testing and community service hours. You could also have your license suspended if convicted but most judges withhold adjudication of guilt on first time possession offenses, so you would not lose your license.
Also some counties have a drug court ptogram, which if you enter and complete, would result in the charge being dismissed.
Lastly, why was your car searched? You should consult with an attorney to determine if there may be an evidence supression issue.
You should consult with an attorney in your area to find out the general policies and procedures in Bradenton and to discuss any defenses you may have. Good luck!
Karen J Tufte
Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney
Criminal Defense Attorney
Unfortunately, receiving a warning and having a court date set are usually self-contradictory. In other words, it's usually one or the other. This is one of those offenses which is punished to a much greater or lesser degree from area to area. In some jurisdictions for example, you might simply receive credit for time served, although perhaps not for a gram, but I still think that would be the likely outcome in several Florida counties. In other areas, a period of probation during which you will be compelled to seek a drug treatment evaluation and if recommended, as it almost always is, drug treatment on either an in or out patient basis. In this instance, unless a urinalysis reveals other chemicals metablites in your system, I would think outpatient treatment would be much more likely.
You may have a reasonably good motion to suppress but you need to consult with an attorney and go over the details of the traffic stop in all respects; what occurred after the officers approached the car; what was said to you by the police; are their independent witnesses to the events, etc.
You need to find yourself a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer and begin working on your case immediately as you do not want to jeapordize your right to a speedy trial if at all possible.
Best of luck,
Dave Dohner, Esq.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about this matter as soon as possible. While you're probably not looking at any jail time, there are collateral consequences to any sort of a criminal conviction (such as the 2 year driver's license revocation as other counsel have mentioned) and you want to avoid that if at all possible. If you can get into some sort of diversion program that's good, and if you have grounds for a motion to supress which may ultimately be granted, even better. One thing you do not want to do is show up for your initial court appearance and enter a plea just to get it over with. Even relatively minor criminal convictions can have a lasting impact on your life.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
Most attorneys provide a free case consultation. If you do not have any defenses, and you have no prior (or minimal) criminal record, you are most likely eligible for the county diversion program. This program is similar to probation. You may have to pay a fine and perform community service hours along with random drug tests for a period of time. Should you successfully complete the diversion program, the charge(s) are typically dismissed. IMPORTANT: do not resolve your traffic ticket associated with the charge until you have consulted an attorney to determine whether the stop was legitimate/ legal. With that being said, beware of your time contraints. Do not let your deadline for paying the ticket pass without taking some action or consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney.
This answer does not, nor is it intended to, create an attorney-client relationship or constitute attorney advertising. Rather, it is offered solely for information purposes. Since the facts of each case are different, it is critical to consult with qualified counsel with whom information can be shared and assessed under an attorney-client privilege, so that competent advice can be obtained on which you can make informed decisions.