Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Attorneys
Statewide Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Refiled in Florida

Statewide Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Refiled in Florida

This week, California saw the recreational use of marijuana legalized. As more states and citizens become familiar with marijuana as a medicinal and recreational drug, initiatives of decriminalization for the possession of personal quantities of marijuana has become a debate in a number of states. Florida is one of the states that has talked about the decriminalization of marijuana for a while. However, after a failed attempt to pass bill last session, one of the state representative of Orlando has decided to refile that bill that would decriminalize personal marijuana quantities.

What Is House Bill 1203?

House Bill 1203 is a piece of Florida legislation that would reclassify misdemeanor criminal offenses for the possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. The reclassification would result in the misdemeanor criminal offense of possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis to be turned into a simple noncriminal civil violation. This means possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis would no longer be considered a reason for arrest.

The noncriminal civil violations would result in fines of no more than $100 or up to 15 hours of community service for “violators.” If someone under the age of 18 were caught with less than 20 grams of cannabis, they would go through community service and/or complete an awareness program.

Personal use quantities of cannabis are amounts that do not exceed 20 grams, but they also cannot exceed 5 grams of cannabis resin. This is due to the fact that resin is much stronger than leafy marijuana. The bill does not have weight allowances for grown cannabis or other substances that may be used in the preparation of marijuana (pot brownies may be weighed by the whole baked good, not just the amount of cannabis in the brownie.)

Officials Feelings Toward the Criminalization of Cannabis

The state representative that has refiled the bill has gone on the record as saying that, “we need to quit throwing Floridians into jail for simple possession.” There is truth to the claim that Floridians are currently being jailed for misdemeanor amounts of marijuana. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement records reveal that 39,700 arrests were made in 2016 for possession of misdemeanor marijuana amounts. In reaction to this news, the Orlando police chief claims that, “We want to make safe and livable neighborhoods, and going out there and making a bunch of low-level misdemeanor drug arrests is really not going to accomplish that goal.”

Misdemeanor Marijuana Charges Are Still a Threat in Florida

While Florida legislators and police chiefs may feel that personal use amounts of cannabis should be decriminalized, the bill has yet to pass. In fact, even when this bill passes, it may be a couple of months until the bill takes legal effect. This means being caught with personal amounts of cannabis will still result in misdemeanor charges for some time.

If you need legal representation that can help you fight those charges, look no further than Rudenberg and Glasser, P.A. Our firm has more than 25 years of defense experience. The Rudenberg and Glasser difference stems from the personal care we place on every single case. We believe that knowing our clients is an integral part of achieving success, so we listen to your side of the story to give personalized representation. If you need aggressive counsel with proven results, contact our firm now.

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Our Victories

  • Not Guilty, Acquitted at Trial Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon

    Outcome: Client was alleged to have used his vehicle to strike victim, and there was video of the incident which could have been interpreted to actually show the crime. The state was offering significant prison time before trial. By meticulous planning and strategic cross-examination to expose the motives and fabrications by the alleged victim, and an eyewitness in support of the alleged victim, Rudenberg & Glasser convinced a jury to acquit the client and avoid a mandatory long prison sentence.

  • Domestic Violence
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser went to trial and were able to show during cross-examination that the alleged victim was the aggressor and that the client acted in self-defense. The jury returned a not guilty verdict almost immediately following trial.
  • Domestic Violence With 911 Call and Pictures
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser took the case to trial after fleshing out inconsistencies in the alleged victim's account. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty and the client's unblemished record was preserved.
  • False Arrest

    Outcome: Attorney Glasser was able to show with video footage that his client did not commit the alleged offense and furthermore, the police officer who ordered his arrest was negligent in his investigation and improperly supervised.

    Read more about this story on the Sun Sentinel.

  • Probation Only Federal Conspiracy to Commit Mail & Wire Fraud

    Outcome: Through compelling sentencing memorandum and passionate oral argument, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to convince the federal court judge to sentence their client to treatment for substance abuse, and no incarceration, even though the client had a lengthy criminal history and the Government was seeking prison time.

  • Felony DUI: Client was in an Accident and Left the Scene
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser filed a compelling motion to suppress evidence based on law enforcement's actions during the investigation. Rudenberg & Glasser were able to persuade the prosecutor prior to the motion to suppress hearing that the charge should be broken down from a felony to a misdemeanor and the client was offered probation instead of the previously sought prison sentence.
  • Final Injunction Hearing
    Outcome: Client desperately needed to avoid a final injunction on his record. Rudenberg & Glasser defended him at the hearing and proved that the Petitioner was not in fear for her safety. The judge dismissed the injunction.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: Resisting Police Officer Without Violence
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg presented evidence that the police officer’s version of events was not credible, and that accusations were made to justify excessive use of force by police officer. Jury returned a verdict of not guilty in less than five minutes.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanors: DUI & Possession of Cannabis
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg won a motion arguing the DUI checkpoint was conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and the Judge entered an order suppressing all evidence. Case was dropped by the State, and client avoided a mandatory conviction for DUI, as well as mandatory fines and license suspensions.
  • $250,000 Pre-Trial Personal Injury

    Outcome: Client was injured by a malfunctioning door, requiring stitches and leaving a scar on client's knee. There were limited medical bills and no surgeries, but through extremely challenging and successful negotiations, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to secure a settlement of $250,000.

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