Orlando Cannabis Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with any type of cannabis charge in Orlando please contact Chris S. Boatright, P.A. at 407-740-8300 to discuss what options may be available to get your cannabis charge dismissed or reduced.  One way to get your cannabis charge dismissed is by completing a Pre-Trial Diversion program.  Not every cannabis case is eligible for a Pre-Trial Diversion program.  

Mandatory 1 Year Driver License Revocation

A conviction for any type of  misdemeanor or felony cannabis charge causes a mandatory 1 year driver license revocation.  It does not matter if a car was involved in the incident that lead to the cannabis charge, the one year driver license revocation will still be imposed as a result of the conviction.  If you would like to know what can be done to avoid the 1 year driver license revocation call Chris at 407-740-8300 to discuss your Orlando cannabis case. 

Former Cannabis Prosecutor

As a former cannabis prosecutor Chris has an understanding of what can be important to the prosecutor in your Orlando cannabis case.  It is important to understand how the other side works.  Chris uses this understanding to determine what needs to be done to get the best possible outcome in your cannabis case.  

Orlando Cannabis Defense Lawyer Since 1999

Chris has been defending individuals in Orlando charged with all types of cannabis charges since 1999.  Being an Orlando cannabis defense lawyer for so long has given Chris the opportunity to spend a lot of time working with the judges and prosecutors in Orlando that handle cannabis cases like yours.  Experience dealing with those judges and prosecutors is important in achieving the best results in your cannabis case.  

Different Orlando Cannabis Defense Lawyers Get Different Results

When you have been charged with any type of cannabis charge in Orlando you need an aggressive, experienced, and knowledgeable lawyer like Chris to defend you.  A cannabis conviction will stay on your record forever, therefore, it is important to be represented by the right lawyer.  The better prepared you are for your court appearance the more likely it is you will get a favorable outcome.  The best results possible are rarely obtained by just hoping for them.  Get the help you need at Chris S. Boatright, P.A. to get the best results possible.  

Information About Orlando Cannabis Charges

Definition of Possession

Possession may be actual or constructive.  Actual possession means the cannabis is in the hand of or on the person, or the cannabis is in a container in the hand of or on the person, or the cannabis is so close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the person.  Mere proximity to the cannabis is not sufficient to establish control over that cannabis when the cannabis is not in a place over which the person has control.  Constructive possession means the cannabis is in a place over which the person has control, or in which the person has concealed it.  If the cannabis is in a place over which the person does not have control, in order to establish constructive possession the State must prove the person’s control over the cannabis, knowledge that the cannabis was within the person’s presence and knowledge of the illicit nature of the cannabis.

POSSESSION OF UNDER 20 GRAMS OF CANNABIS

Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is considered a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 1 year in jail and/or 1 year on probation and/or a $1,000 fine.

POSSESSION OF 20 GRAMS OR OVER OF CANNABIS 

Possession of 20 grams or more but less than 25 pounds of cannabis is considered a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and/or 5 years probation and/or a $5,000 fine.

POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO SELL OR DELIVER CANNABIS

Unless legally authorized, it is unlawful for any person to possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance.  Sell means to transfer or deliver something to another person in exchange for money or something of value or a promise of money or something of value.  Deliver or delivery means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship.  Controlled substance means any substance named or described in Schedules I-V of Florida Statute section 893.03. Possession with intent to sell or deliver is considered a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and/or 5 years probation and/or a $5,000 fine.

PURCHASE OF CANNABIS

Unless legally authorized, it is unlawful for any person to purchase or possess with intent to purchase a controlled substance.  Controlled substance means any substance named or described in Schedules I-V of Florida Statute section 893.03. Purchase of cannabis is considered a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and/or 5 years probation and/or a $5,000 fine.

SALE OR DELIVERY OF CANNABIS

Unless legally authorized, it is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance.  Sell means to transfer or deliver something to another person in exchange for money or something of value or a promise of money or something of value.  Deliver or delivery means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship.  Controlled substance means any substance named or described in Schedules I-V of Florida Statute section 893.03. Sale or delivery of cannabis is considered a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and/or 5 years probation and/or a $5,000 fine.

Evidence

In order for the State of Florida to prove you committed a crime, the State need’s evidence.  Normally, the law enforcement officer’s report contains a statement of the evidence against you.  However, there may be other evidence in your case which the law enforcement officer failed to document in the report.  It is essential for you and your attorney to review all of the evidence in your case before preparing your defense.  Some important questions are:

  • Where was the cannabis located?
  • How many people had access to where the cannabis was located?
  • Was the cannabis weighed properly?

Constitutional Rights

The United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution both guarantee that people be free from unreasonable seizures and searches.  An unlawful stop and/or seizure may cause evidence in your case to be inadmissible.  An unlawful search in your case may cause evidence to be inadmissible.  The United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution both also guarantee that people be free from self-incrimination.  If your privilege against self-incrimination was violated evidence in your case may be inadmissible.  Some important questions to consider are:

  • Were you stopped and/or seized for a lawful reason?
  • Did the police officer have the right to search your person, property or vehicle?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights?

Orlando Cannabis Penalties

A conviction for a cannabis charge can result in many different penalties.  It is important for you to know what penalties you may be facing.  Some of the penalties for a possession of cannabis conviction may include:

  • Time in Jail or Prison
  • Probation
  • Mandatory 1 year loss of your driving privileges
  • Drug Counseling
  • Random Drug Testing
  • Community Service
  • Fines
  • Cost of Investigation
  • Cost of Prosecution
  • Court Costs

Pretrial Diversion

In Orange County, Florida there is one pretrial diversion program for misdemeanor cannabis charges.  In Orange County, Florida there are two pretrial diversion programs for felony cannabis charges.  Each pretrial diversion program has its own specific eligibility requirements.  

Orange County Pretrial Diversion Program For Misdemeanor Cannabis Charges

Orange County Misdemeanor Pretrial Diversion Program

This is a deferred prosecution program for selected misdemeanor charges and for selected individuals.  This program is offered by the Office of the State Attorney and supervised by Orange County Community Corrections.  Successful completion of the Orange County Misdemeanor Pretrial Diversion Program will result in the dismissal of your charge(s) by the Office of the State Attorney.

Eligibility

  1. You must have no prior sentence, conviction or dismissal for a similar charge, no prior felony convictions, no prior convictions for charges ineligible for diversion, and no prior adult diversion/deferred prosecution programs.
  2. You must be a legal resident of the United States.
  3. You must have no more than one prior misdemeanor conviction.
  4. Your charge(s) must have no more than $1,000 in restitution.
  5. You must be approved by the Office of the State Attorney.

Program Details

  1. Program length is 12 months
  2. Program cost is $600
  3. Program intake fee is an additional $20
  4. Program drug testing fee is an additional $17
  5. Program phone reporting fee is an additional $6-$7 per month
  6. Program Office of the State Attorney fee is an additional $100
  7. You must perform a minimum of 40 hours of alternative community work service
  8. You must obtain a substance abuse evaluation and complete any recommended treatment. 
  9. Participate in random observed urine screens.
  10. You are responsible for any additional costs for classes and evaluations.

Orange County Pretrial Diversion Program For Felony Cannabis Charges

If you successfully complete the Orange County Pretrial Diversion Program the charge(s) you were placed in the program for will be dismissed.

This a 12 month long program with the following requirements:

1.) You must refrain from violation of any federal, state or local law.  If you are arrested or charged with a crime while in the pretrial diversion program, you are subject to automatic revocation whether the crime occurred before or after the signing of the pretrial diversion contract.

2.) You must associate only with law abiding persons.             

3.) You must work regularly at a lawful occupation; or pursue a course of studies as a full-time student, or both.  Employment must be verified by documentation only within the first 30 days of supervision.  Thereafter, employment verification shall be made every other month.

4.) You must take an active part in counseling and attend all scheduled appointments.  You must participate in and be responsible for program costs of any referrals your pretrial diversion officer recommends.  Referrals may include, but are not limited to participation in drug/alcohol counseling, a mental health evaluation, urine screenings, General Equivalency Diploma (GED)  and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

5.) You must immediately inform the Pretrial Diversion Program of any anticipated or unanticipated change in your residence or your employment.  It is your obligation to notify the Pretrial Diversion Program of any change in your address and to comply with residence verification instructions.  Should it be determined that you have moved from your reported residence or changed employment, without notice to the Pretrial Diversion Program, and are no longer able to be contacted through your reported mailing address, you are subject to automatic revocation.  If you have been arrested in this case, you must also notify the Clerk of the Court for Orange County, Florida, preferably in writing, of your address change.  No Out-of-Country Travel will be approved while participating in the Pretrial Diversion Program.  All Notices, summonses, or other mail will be sent to your current address.  If you fail to appear in court due to paperwork being sent to an old address, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, and you may be revoked from the Pretrial Diversion Program.

6.) You will promptly and truthfully answer all questions directed to you by your Pretrial Diversion Program Officer.

7.) You must pay a Cost of Supervision fee of $20.00 a month to the State of Florida as required by Florida Statute Section 948.08 unless otherwise exempted in compliance with the Florida Statutes.  All monies collected by the Florida Department of Corrections will be subject to a 4% surcharge.  There will be a one-time drug testing fee of $30.00.

8.) You will complete 100 hours of Alternative Community Service (ACS).  ACS and all sanctions must be completed sixty days prior to the expiration of this contract or sixty days prior to any subsequent expiration date resulting from an extension or as determined by a Review Board Panel.

9.) Once the Defendant has satisfied all sanctions, early termination is acceptable.

10.) You must pay a $100.00 non-refundable cost of prosecution fee to the State of Florida within 60 days as required by Florida Statute Section 938.27.

11.) You will submit to a substance abuse evaluation and complete all recommended treatment.  If treatment is not recommended, you will attend and complete a Substance Abuse Education/Awareness Class.

12.) You will also submit to random urine screenings for drugs.  Any drug test with a positive result is a violation of the Pretrial Diversion Program Agreement, and may result in additional consequences or revocation from the Pretrial Diversion Program.

In order to be eligible for the Pretrial Diversion Program you must have no criminal history (arrests, convictions, or cases in which adjudication of guilt has been withheld, whether as a juvenile or adult), or if you have a prior criminal history, you must disclose it to the Pretrial Diversion Program.  If it is found that you not been fully candid on this issue, you are subject to revocation from the Pretrial Diversion Program.

If you fail to comply with any of the above conditions, your case may be subject to the following action, depending upon the violation.

  1. Your officer may extend the period of diversion to a term not to exceed 3 months from the date of the Pretrial Diversion Program Contract, or
  2. The Review Board may add additional special conditions or otherwise modify this contract, or
  3.  Revoke the Pretrial Diversion Program contract and the State Attorney will prosecute you for this offense.

    A Review Board comprised of an Assistant State Attorney and a representative of the Florida Department of Corrections, Pretrial Diversion Program, has been established for the purpose of reviewing any proposed revocation or modification of your Pretrial Diversion Program Contract.  Your Pretrial Diversion Officer will attend this hearing.  Modification of your Pretrial Diversion Program Contract may occur if you agree to the modification, by Review Board decision.  At Review Board Hearings, evidence establishing violations of conditions of the Pretrial Diversion Program Contract will be heard.  You will be given notice of this hearing and may attend and present any evidence you have in your defense and/or any evidence you have to establish matters in mitigation.  Failure to appear will result in automatic revocation from the Pretrial Diversion Program.  The Review Board, after hearing and considering all evidence, will render a decision in writing, citing the reasons for that decision.  All members of the Review Board must agree to revocation or modification.  In its written decision, the Review Board will state whether it has decided to revoked the Pretrial Diversion Program Contract or allow the Defendant to continue in the Pretrial Diversion Program.  If the agreement is modified, the modifications made by the Review Board will be stated.  If you are revoked from the Pretrial diversion Program, you will be prosecuted for the original criminal violation.  The Defendant is bound by the decision of the Review Board.  The Pretrial Diversion Contract is an agreement that is a deferral of prosecution.  If the terms of the agreement are met, the initial charge will be dropped and the State of Florida will be barred from prosecution.  If the terms of the agreement are violated, prosecution concerning any charge will proceed.

Orange County Drug Court Program For Felony Cannabis Charges

If you successfully complete the Orange County Drug Court Program the charge(s) you were placed in the program for will be dismissed.

In order to be accepted into the Orange County Drug Court Program the person:

1.) Must live in Orange County, Florida (if you do not live in Orange County, Florida you may be able to participate in the a drug court program if your county of residence is in Florida and they accept drug court program transfers and you otherwise qualify for a drug court program)

2.) Must have a serious drug problem needing treatment

3.) Must be a non-violent offender

4.) Must have no prior felony convictions for Diversion Track only

5.) Must be charged with:

(A) Third Degree Felony Possession Of Illegal Drugs, except a person charged with Possession of Illegal Drugs With The Intent to Sell Or Deliver Illegal Drugs is not eligible for the program

(B) Purchase Of Illegal Drugs

(C) Obtaining Prescription Drugs By Fraud

(D) Must be charged with any other non-violent third degree felony charge for VOP and Post Plea track only

General Orange County Drug Court Program Requirements:

  1. It is in Defendant’s best interest to participate in Drug Court.  The Defendant understands that if they violate the terms of drug court they could be rearrested, returned to their previous status, required to post a bond, be released on their own recognizance, be held in jail until their next court date or discharge from the program at the Judge’s sole discretion.
  2. Defendant has a substance abuse problem and is choosing to participate in the Orange County Drug Court Program.  The Defendant understands that the opportunity to participate in the Orange County Drug Court Program is a privilege, not an entitlement.
  3. Defendant must freely and voluntarily waive their right to a speedy trial.
  4. Defendant shall participate in the Orange County Drug Court Program for a minimum period of 7 months and a maximum period of 3 years.
  5. Defendant agrees to fully participate in the outpatient substance abuse treatment program, which involves 3 treatment phases.  Advancement to a higher phase will be conditional upon approval of the Judge based on information provided by the Orange County Drug Court Team.

     

     

    Outpatient Treatment Requirements:

  1. 7 months minimum, 3 years maximum
  2. 3 phases plus aftercare (the first 3 phases are 60 days each and aftercare is 30 days)

        Phase 1 Treatment (60 Days Minimum) Consist Of:

  1. 3 group sessions per week
  2. 1 approved self-help meeting per week
  3. 6 individual counseling sessions during Phase 1
  4. Bi-weekly meetings with the judge
  5. Random Urinalysis
  6. 30 consecutive days being substance-free to be phase-up eligible

     

     

    Phase 2 Treatment (60 Days Minimum) Consist Of:

  1. 2 group sessions per week
  2. 2 approved self-help meetings per week
  3. 4 individual counseling sessions during Phase 2
  4. Bi-weekly meetings with the judge
  5. Random Urinalysis
  6. 30 consecutive days being substance-free to be phase-up eligible

        Phase 3 Treatment (60 Days Minimum) Consist Of:

  1. 1 group session per week
  2. 3 approved self-help meetings per week
  3. 3 individual counseling sessions during Phase 3
  4. Monthly meetings with the judge
  5. Random Urinalysis
  6. 30 consecutive days being substance-free to be phase-up eligible

           Aftercare Treatment (30 Days) Consist Of:

  1. 1 group session per week
  2. Facilitate group discussion
  3. Random urinalysis
  4. Monthly meeting with the judge
  5. Random Urinalysis
  6. 0 consecutive days being substance-free to be eligible for program completion

6.) Defendant agrees to complete the diagnostic treatment evaluation and complete an individualized treatment plan.

7.) Defendant will be supervised by their assigned treatment provider case manager and/or the Department of Corrections.

8.) Defendant agrees to sign any and all releases required in order to allow their physical and/or mental health information to be released and/or Orange County Drug Court Program personnel, the Court, and any other people necessary for successful completion of the Orange County Drug Program.  This information is for Orange County Drug Court Program use only.

9.) Defendant will not change their residence, employment or leave Orange County, Florida without first obtaining permission from their treatment provider and/or supervising authority.

10.) Defendant shall appear in open court, when and as ordered by the Court and upon proper notification at Defendant’s last known address.  Failure to appear in court shall constitute a violation of the Orange County Drug Court Program.  Defendant acknowledges that they may be terminated from the Orange County Drug Court Program and the original prosecution reinstated if the Defendant fails to appear for a court date.

11.) Defendant will not use or possess any illegal substances, alcohol or controlled substances (including over the counter medications) without a proper prescription.  If the Defendant has a prescription, all new and refilled prescriptions must be provided to the treatment provider in advance of the Defendant taking the prescribed medication when possible.

12.) Defendant will not own, have in their possession, or attempt to purchase a firearm or weapon while participating in the Orange County Drug Court Program.

13.) Defendant will not enter any establishment whose primary purpose is to sell alcoholic beverages unless it is for approved employment or other necessary purposes and permission has been granted in advance by the Defendant’s treatment provider.

14.) Defendant will associate only with law-abiding persons and will not socialize or live with any other program participants.

15.) Defendant shall submit to physical and/or psychological examinations if ordered by their probation officer/treatment provider and obtain/maintain counseling or treatment if such is deemed necessary by the officer/provider.  Defendant will pay these treatment costs.

16.) Defendant agrees to attend self-help meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous as required by their treatment plan.

17.) Defendant agrees to contact their probation officer/treatment provider in advance, if possible, if Defendant is going to be late or miss a scheduled session.

18.) Defendant shall attend school or work regularly at a lawful occupation and shall participate in such other programs for evaluation or treatment as established for them by their probation officer/treatment provider.  Defendant shall pay the cost of said programs and/or evaluations.  Defendant shall immediately inform their treatment provider or other supervising authority of any change relating to employment, education, or treatment activities.

19.) Defendant shall truthfully answer all inquiries and shall follow all instructions from their probation officer/treatment provider and hereby grants permission for the officer/treatment provider to visit Defendant’s home, place of employment, school, or other location for the purpose of providing adequate supervision.

20.) Defendant agrees to submit to frequent and random drug testing.  Defendant understands that if they refuse to be tested, misses a test, or fails to provide a urine sample that test will count as a positive (dirty) urine test.  A positive urine test may result I further sanctions such as more intensive treatment, inpatient treatment, increased meetings, community service, jail time, or discharge from the program.  If the Defendant wishes to challenge the validity of a positive urine test, the Defendant shall pay all costs associated with said challenge through their treatment provider.

21.) Defendant can expect to receive incentives when doing well in the Orange County Drug Court Program.

22.) Defendant agrees that as a condition of acceptance into the Orange County Drug Court Program, that in the event of noncompliance with the Orange County Drug Court Program conditions (including but not limited to failure to attend required appointments or counseling, positive urinalysis or failure to show progress in treatment), Defendant freely and voluntarily waives the right to an arraignment hearing, the right to a reading of the Information and consents to the immediate imposition by the Judge of interim legal consequences and immediate sanctions including incarceration.  The Court has absolute discretion as to which sanctions, f any, will be imposed for violating their Orange County Drug Court Program agreement.

23.) Defendant agrees that they may be searched or subject to seizure without the requirements of probable cause or a search warrant at any time during their Orange County Drug Court Program participation.

24.) Defendant may be required to pay $900.00 to the Orange County Drug Court.

25.) Defendant shall pay $3.00 as a co-payment at each treatment visit to be paid to the treatment provider.

26.) Defendant shall successfully complete the Orange County Drug Court Program consisting of screening, evaluation, counseling and multiple random urine screens.  Defendant shall obey all Orange County Drug Court Program rules and regulations and all treatment provider rules and regulations.

27.) The Office of the State Attorney for Orange County, Florida agrees that should the Defendant successfully fulfill the terms and conditions of their Orange County Drug Court Program diversion track agreement, such success to be determined the State Attorney, the offense(s) for which the Defendant entered the Orange County Drug Court Program will be dismissed.  The State Attorney may determine that the Defendant is not in compliance with the Orange County Drug Court Program diversion track agreement and if so may at any time, prosecute the Defendant for the offense(s).  

*Please note all program costs and fees are subject to change without notice.*

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