What shouldI do ifI was charged with possession of .8 grams of marijuana?

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What shouldI do ifI was charged with possession of .8 grams of marijuana?

My friends and I were outside my house on the sidewalk next to my friend’s car. 2 police officers drove by and asked to see our ID’s so we gave it to them; they than searched us all and didn’t find anything They then told us to have a seat on the floor next to my friend’s car. After an hour 1 of the police officers started searching around the car and he found marijuana. He asked whose it was and everyone said it wasn’t theirs. So since I was the closest to it he accused me and said it was mine; I told him it wasn’t. He didn’t arrest me but gave me an N.T.A. (notice to appear ) for court. Should I plead not guilty or no contest if I don’t want to be charged for it?

Asked on June 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In FL possession of marijuana under 20 grams (i.e. "simple possession") is a misdemeanor charge that carries up to 1 year in jail, probation, random urine screenings, fines, and/or community service. Additionally, conviction for possession of marijuana will result in a criminal record your record which will make it difficult to find a job , get into college/graduate programs be eligible for certain student loans, and may even affect some professional licenses. If you are found guilty of this charge, you may lose your driver's license for 2 years.

The fact is that you should have legal representation for this matter.  An experienced ciminal law attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least get it reduced.  Also, since you are a first-time offender, a defense lawyer may be able to arrange for something called "diversion". This is an alternative sentencing program whereby the defendant pleads guilty to the charge, receives a special probation, and upon its successful completion the charge is withdrawn and the case dismissed (your record should be automatically expunged; that means cleared). 

 Note:  Diversion is only allowed for a first offense.  This means that if you get into trouble again, it will not be available for you regarding any subsequent charge(s).  That's why if you get an attorney and they get your case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future if you should ever need it.


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