Cannabis Notice To Appear

A notice to appear is a criminal charge in Florida.  That is why the notice to appear has a court date and time on it.  A notice to appear is NOT a civil citation like a traffic ticket.  The notice to appear is the officer’s way of charging a person with a criminal offense without having to arrest the person and take them to jail.  Officers can issue a notice to appear for certain misdemeanor charges like possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.  If you do not appear in court as required a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

The City of Orlando has given police officers the discretion to issue a person a citation for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.  This is NOT a notice to appear.

At the first court appearance the person issued the notice to appear will be required to enter a plea to the possession of cannabis charge.  The options are not quilty, guilty or nolo contendere(no contest).  If the person enters a plea of not guilty they will be given another court date and the judge will ask the person if they are hiring a lawyer or representing themselves.  If the person pleads guilty or no contest then the judge will impose a sentence.  Since this is a criminal charge a plea of guilty or no contest will remain on your record for the rest of your life.  Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to 1 year on probation and up to a $1,000 fine.  The judge can also include in the sentence drug counseling, drug testing, community service, cost of investigation, cost of prosecution and court cost.  In addition if the judges adjudicates that person guilty then that person’s driver license will be revoked for 1 year, regardless of if a motor vehicle was involved.

Some people who are issued a notice to appear for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis are eligible for a pretrial diversion program.  If they successfully complete the pretrial diversion program the State Attorney’s Office will drop the possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis charge.

The mistakes the officer made in your case can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal.  Officers are trained to follow the law and to conduct investigations properly but everyone makes mistakes, including police officers.  Chris is a former prosecutor who has over 18 years experience defending people charged with possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.  Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis charges can be beaten for many reasons.  Chris has beaten them for many clients and he may be able to beat them for you.  The consultation is free so call 407-740-8300 or email Chris at chris@TheOrlandoDefenseLawyer.com to find out how Chris can help you.  

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