Purchase of cannabis (marijuana) is a third degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison.
Even if the allegedly purchased amount is less than 20 grams, the crime is still a felony. The police and prosecutors, however, much have evidence that a purchase occurred. It is not enough just to be in possession of marijuana. Police use specialized tactics such as undercover operations to catch people purchasing marijuana.
Sometimes, the seller is an undercover cop. Other times, tactical units may be watching suspected drug sales from a distance. In this case, the accused seller and accused buyer will often be arrested.
Purchase of marijuana can have a range of penalties. If you are a first-time offender, you may be able to get your case transferred to Drug Court. Upon successful completion of Drug Court, your case may be dismissed and you can expunge your record.
Probation or even jail time may be sought if the accused has prior offenses on their record.
As with all Chapter 893 violations, a conviction for this charge will result in a 2-year driver's license suspension.
You must be careful when you are charged with purchase of marijuana. Many people just want to "get it over with" and will enter a plea of guilty without thinking of the consequences. If you decide to retain a criminal defense attorney, all possible defenses and attacks on the legality of the evidence will likely be considered.
For instance, if the police violated your rights, a motion to suppress the evidence may be warranted. In that case, if a judge grants the motion, the marijuana will not be admitted into evidence and the State will have to drop the case.
Everybody must follow the rules. That includes police.
Criminal charges are serious and may have long-term effects on your employability, driving privilege, and most importantly - your freedom. Don't take a chance and definitely don't plead guilty without first consulting a criminal lawyer.
I practice criminal defense exclusively and serve the Miami-Dade and Broward areas. If you or a loved one are being charged with purchase of marijuana, call me.