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Will the Possession of Marijuana Be Considered a Civil Fine Rather Than a Misdemeanor?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

October 20, 2015

On November 10, 2015, a final hearing regarding the charges and penalties for the possession of marijuana will take place. Currently, in Florida, a person caught carrying marijuana is charged with a misdemeanor and can face various penalties, including a jail sentence up to one year long. However, many Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach County commissioners believe the punishments for the possession of marijuana far exceed the actual crime.

How Will Changing the Possession of Marijuana from a Misdemeanor to a Civil Citation Help?

While commissioners state that they do not condone the use or possession of marijuana, they do believe that changing the charge to a civil citation rather than a misdemeanor can be beneficial in several ways.

It will cut the amount of jail costs

  • Research supplied by the Broward Sherriff’s Office states that in the past four years, 3,532 persons were arrested for misdemeanor drug possession.

It can help young persons avoid ruining their chance at finding a home, job, or place for education.

  • While a misdemeanor usually entails far less penalties and fines than a felony charge, misdemeanors have the ability to affect a person’s future severely. In fact, a misdemeanor drug possession charge can have the following effects on an individual’s life:
    • Difficulty finding a job
    • Difficulty finding a home
    • Complications when applying for school

While the proposed change could prevent individuals from ruining their criminal record, law enforcement officers will still have discretion to treat these offenses as misdemeanors. Police officers may also still pursue other charges if they find that a person is in possession of marijuana, including charges like driving under the influence, cultivation, or sales/distribution.

Have You Been Accused of Misdemeanor Drug Possession? Hager & Schwartz, P.A. Can Help

If you have been caught in possession of marijuana, it is important that you seek legal representation right away. A competent and aggressive attorney can formulate a strategy to protect your rights and future. No matter what your case may be, the Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. can help you.

When your future is on the line, you cannot afford to wait. Get the representation you need today!