In terms of felony possession of marijuana, there are two instances in which you can be charged with a 3rd-degree felony.
One is if you are in possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana.
The other is if there is an indication that the marijuana in your possession is intended to be sold or distributed. This too is a felony charge and it does not need to meet the "more than 20 grams" threshhold.
In Miami and Broward, law enforcement agencies dedicate time and resources to busting suspected dealers.
While marijuana operations typically target marijuana trafficking and marijuana grow houses, special narcotics teams still go after people suspected of selling marijuana, even if in small quantities.
The indicia of marijuana for sale and marijuana for personal use depends on the circumstances. For one, officers may look to see if the marijuana is in a single bag or is individually packaged. If the marijuana is all in one bag, it is more likely intended for personal use. If the amount is 20 grams or less, the charge will be a misdemeanor.
If the marijuana is packaged separately, and perhaps the officers find scales, baggies, cash, or any other drug paraphernalia; they may charge you with possession with intent to sell.
The work of a South Florida criminal defense attorney comes into play during the early stages of a possession with intent to sell marijuana case. That is because during this 21-day window of time while a prosecutor is reviewing the charges, an attorney may be able to convince them that the marijuana was intended for personal use. This can result in felony charges being reduced to misdemeanor charges at arraignment.
If felony charges are filed, then many constitutional challenges may exist. Upon reviewing the evidence, your criminal defense attorney may determine that the police did not have legal grounds to search you. If that is the case, then a motion to suppress may result in the exclusion of the marijuana, which means that the State Attorney would be forced to drop the charges.
I practice criminal defense in Miami-Dade and Broward. Call me today to discuss your case.