Akeem Spence of the Tampa Bay Bucs was arrested in Alabama for possession of marijuana. He was allegedly pulled over for speeding and eventually the troopers conducted a canine (K-9) search of the vehicle. The drug sniffing dogs allegedly alerted to the presence of controlled substance in the car and a subsequent search by the officers allegedly resulted in the discovery of the drugs.
In Florida, it is a 1st degree misdemeanor if charged with possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. This is a constructive possession case. That means the drugs were not found on the driver, but somewhere in the vehicle or in his immediate vicinity. Under Florida law, a person can be charged under a constructive possession theory. In addition, more than one person can be charged and convicted of the same marijuana even though neither person actually was in possession of the drugs. If an individual is the sole occupant of the vehicle, there is a presumption that the driver has dominion and control of any items in the vehicle, including the drugs. This is a rebuttable presumption meaning the person arrested would have to come forward with evidence or facts as to why a jury should not believe this presumption. for example, you borrowed your friend’s car and had no idea there were drugs in the vehicle.
While there is now a movement in Florida to make medical marijuana legal in Florida, this is still not the law. Unfortunately, this crime can cause you problems in background searches affecting your ability to obtain employment or rent an apartment. In addition, if you are convicted (adjudicated guilty) of possession of cannabis, the Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for 2 years. It is possible to remove that suspension from your license or to obtain a hardship license. If you are adjudicated guilty, you also can not seal or expunge any arrest.
There are diversion programs available for possession of controlled substance charges. This results in the criminal charges being dropped. You would then be eligible to expunge this arrest (if you are otherwise eligible). You may also have a motion to suppress because the police violated one of your constitutional rights or there was a problem with the search, training of the K-9 drug dog, the timing of the search, or some other legal issue.
If you have been arrested for a cannabis, marijuana, or other controlled substance offense call and set a consultation to discuss what options are available to you and what defense you may have.
Call Drug Lawyer Thomas C. Grajek 863-688-4606