Is Possession of Drugs a Felony in Florida?

tampa_marijuana_lawIf you’re caught with controlled substances in Florida, you could face felony charges. Florida allows the court to pursue simple drug possession charges as felonies. A felony carries significantly more weight than a misdemeanor, and in addition to greater penalties with regard to jail time and fines, you could also lose the ability to legally own a firearm and other rights that you enjoy without a felony on your record.

When Is Possession of Drugs a Felony?

Florida law allows almost any drug possession charge to be filed as a felony, depending on the type of drug and the quantity possessed. You may not face criminal charges if you have a valid prescription for medical marijuana, as long as you aren’t endangering anyone else, such as driving under the influence. Additionally, possession of a small amount of marijuana, even without a prescription, might result in misdemeanor charges instead of felony charges. However, if you’re a repeat offender, you could face charge enhancements.

If you’re caught by the police with drugs in your possession, contact a Florida criminal defense attorney immediately. You must protect your rights and get legal counsel before you answer police officers’ questions or appear in court before a judge. Saying the wrong thing could put your case in jeopardy.

How Are Drug Possession Charges Filed in Florida?

  • First-degree misdemeanor: If you’re found with 20 grams or less of marijuana, you might face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. The potential penalties include up to one year in jail. You will also have to pay court costs.
  • Third-degree felony: Possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine or meth, or many medications without a valid prescription, could lead to penalties of up to five years in prison in Florida.
  • First-degree felony: Your charges can get elevated to first-degree felony if you’re found with excessive amounts of controlled substances, such as more than 25 pounds of marijuana or more than 28 grams of cocaine. Being caught with such large quantities of drugs is considered trafficking in controlled substances, regardless of whether or not there is any evidence you were buying or selling the drugs.  These charges carry potential MANDATORY sentences anywhere from 3 years up to 30 years in prison and $250,000 or more in fines.

There are several potential defenses to drug possession charges in Florida. The prosecution must prove that you had control over the drugs and that you knew you possessed a controlled substance. Additionally, you might face lighter penalties if you’ve never been arrested before.

As soon as you know that you’ve been arrested on drug possession charges in Florida, contact McIntyre Thanasides at 844-511-4800. We’ll help you fight your criminal charges and guide you through the legal system so that your rights remain protected.

 

Top 5 Things to Know When Getting Arrested (Infographic)

If you’re arrested for any crime, there are several things you need to know to protect yourself.

Understand Your Rights

Though not necessarily required in every case, Police officers may at some point read you your rights prior to or upon arrest. Your rights include remaining silent, so exercise that right until you can speak to an attorney. As soon as a police officer reads the Miranda warning to you, be aware that anything you say can become part of the prosecution’s evidence in court.

Pay Attention to Evidence

In some cases, you might be able to give your criminal defense attorney information that can help exonerate you. While the police search your property, pay careful attention to any evidence they collect. Let your attorney know about it as soon as you meet with him or her.

Plead Not Guilty

You might not have the chance to speak with a criminal defense attorney before you’re arraigned in criminal court. An arraignment gives you a chance to tell the court whether you plead guilty or not guilty. Never plead guilty at this time. Instead, plead not guilty and wait until you can consult a lawyer.

Even if you eventually plead guilty to the charges, an experienced attorney can negotiate a plea bargain that might result in a reduced sentence. They may also be able to identify legal defenses that can result in some or all of your charges being dismissed.  You’re always better served by waiting until you have legal counsel before you make any important decisions.

Do Not Trust Police Officers

While you should never lie to law enforcement, neither should you make any admissions that could get you in trouble. For instance, if the officer asks whether or not you’ve had anything to drink, you can simply decline to answer. Volunteering that you had “two beers” earlier in the evening could give the officer probable cause to proceed with further investigation.

Remember that police officers can lie to you. They might tell you that they have evidence even if they don’t, hoping to trip you up and get you to admit to something criminal. Don’t allow yourself to engage in conversation. Simply ask whether or not you’re free to leave.

Remain Cooperative

Throughout the arrest process, remain completely cooperative. Do not struggle or argue with the police or give law enforcement any reason to add extra charges to your arrest.

Once you’re arrested, such as for a DUI offense, contact McIntyre Thanasides at 844-511-4800 to discuss your case and to obtain legal advice. Working with a criminal defense attorney can drastically improve your chances of winning in court or getting a lighter sentence, regardless of the reason for your arrest.

 

The 10 Days After a DUI arrest

should_I_Blow_if_i_get_pulled_overNobody wants to get arrested for a DUI, but when it happens, you need preparation and a strategy. In the 10 days after a DUI arrest, you might feel confused and scared, but you can do several things to make the process easier and less stressful.

Get a Lawyer

As soon as you’re able, hire a DUI lawyer to take your case. He or she can advise you on what to say and do as you navigate the legal process. Additionally, an experienced DUI attorney can prevent you from compromising your rights or the outcome of your case.

Prepare for Potential Consequences

The consequences of a DUI arrest can vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, arrestees might get lighter sentences for their first offenses, but if you already have a DUI in your background, you might face harsher penalties.

The typical consequences of a DUI include the following:

  • Fines: If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a DUI, you’ll have to pay fines to the state. The maximum fines depend on various aggravating factors being present such as prior DUI’s, high breath alcohol results, and causing injuries to others.
  • Jail time: Many DUI offenders must spend time in jail. After you’re arrested, you’ll likely stay in jail until you appear before the court. At that time, you might get released, or you might have to post bail.
  • License suspension: To discourage further incidents of drunk driving, most jurisdictions suspend the driver’s licenses of people who get DUIs. The duration of the suspension can vary, and The State of Florida allows under certain conditions for you to apply for a hardship license that allows you to drive only in certain circumstances, and sometimes with a device that can detect alcohol on your breath.

Administrative Consequences Before Conviction

Once you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, there are certain administrative consequences that can severely and adversely impact you EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF ANY CRIME BY A COURT OF LAW.  These administrative consequences include the suspension of your drivers’ license for a period of six (6) to twelve (12) months.  This suspension will take effect (10) days after your arrest, depending on the facts of your case.  While hardship licenses that permit you to drive for limited purposes can be obtained, there are certain time limitations and other hoops you will have to jump through to determine if you can obtain a hardship license.   If you don’t exercise your rights and take certain steps during this first ten (10) days, you will potentially lose certain rights that could keep your license from being suspended or will prolong the headache and hassle and extend the length of time it takes to get a hardship license.  An experienced DUI lawyer can help you navigate these requirements and assist you in minimizing the length of time of your suspension and how long it may take get a hardship license.

Create a Strategy

If you’re pleading not guilty to a DUI arrest, you’ll need compelling evidence to suggest that you were not intoxicated at the time of your arrest. Your lawyer can help you build a case.

Getting arrested for a DUI can be scary, but if you know what to expect, you can handle the situation with less anxiety. For help fighting your DUI case, call McIntyre Thanasides at 844-511-4800 to speak to an experienced DUI lawyer.

 

Should I blow if I get pulled over?

should_I_Blow_if_i_get_pulled_overShould I blow if I get pulled over?

To blow, or not to blow? While the simplest and safest solution is to avoid drunk driving or driving impaired, here are some things to consider if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being asked to blow if you get pulled over.

In Florida, asking you to submit to a breath test to determine your blood alcohol content, or BAC, is not something that will generally happen when you are first pulled over. Therefore, to answer the question, it’s important to consider what has already taken place prior to an officer asking you to submit to a breath test.

Generally, a police officer will have pulled you over for one of these reasons:

  • you and/or your vehicle fit the description of a suspect person and/or vehicle being sought by police in an ongoing investigation;
  • your vehicle is registered to a driver who has a warrant out for their arrest;
  • your vehicle is registered to a driver who’s license is currently suspended; or
  • you must have, in the officer’s opinion, committed some type of law violation or traffic infraction in an officer’s presence that would warrant being stopped for safety reasons, or potentially ticketed or arrested.

If they confirm you are driving on a suspended license, you are immediately subject to arrest and the officer may do so. If you have a warrant out for you, you will in all likelihood be arrested.  If you are the suspect they are looking for, there are a variety of outcomes that are beyond the scope of this article that might lead to your release, further detention, or arrest.  Whichever of these that apply, they will all involve the officer making direct contact with you and confirming your identity. Whether or not you are arrested for any of the reasons listed here, your responses could still lead to a DUI investigation.

If the only basis for your stop is your driving activities, there are a host of traffic violations that are committed every day by people who are completely sober that also occur when people drive under the influence. Speeding, running traffic lights or stop signs, weaving in and out of your lane, making illegal lane changes, going the wrong way down a one-way street—none of these by themselves are proof of impaired driving. Even if you have crashed your vehicle, it is not by itself proof you are driving impaired. The bottom line here is that the improper driving involved in your case is a factor the officer will consider in assessing whether or not a DUI investigation is warranted.

Once the officer confirms your identity, he or she will have spoken to you, and the officer will have had the ability to observe your demeanor, your speech, how you physically appear, how you smell, and how responsive and alert you are. They also will have an opportunity to observe a portion of the interior of your vehicle.  It is during this interaction that officers will note the odor of an intoxicant—alcohol on breath or clothes, marijuana on breath, clothes, in compartment of car, etc.; the appearance of factors that indicate impairment—bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, grogginess, confusion, etc.; the presence of items that suggest recent use of intoxicants—empty or open containers of alcohol, devices used for smoking controlled substances, or residue or portions of smoked controlled substances, pills or pill bottles, etc. Observing any one or number of these indicators, in conjunction with your poor driving, is enough for the officer to request you perform field sobriety tests to better determine if you are driving impaired.

If you agreed and have performed these tests, you will see that to successfully complete them, you need to be focused and pay attention to every detail of the instructions an officer has given you, and possess a certain degree of balance, strength and agility that the average person is presumed to have when sober, but in reality might not actually possess for any number of reasons including but not limited to poor health, prior injury or preexisting medical condition, obesity, and fatigue.

An officer will have graded and evaluated your test performance, and in conjunction with their other observations of you, as well as your driving, and determined if he or she has seen enough to determine there is probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence of some drug. They will then proceed to place you under arrest for D.U.I.

It is generally only NOW that you will find yourself being presented with a question about your willingness to submit to a breath test. A BAC test result of .08 or higher will be considered presumptive evidence that you are driving under the influence, and a jury at a trial will be instructed that they can convict you based on that presumptive test result alone if they believe it to be correct. So this is no small decision you’re facing.

As you’ve seen, a number of things have to have transpired that are working against you for you to reach this point; and while there may very well be a series of innocent explanations for all of these things to have occurred without you being impaired, odds are, you actually are under the influence of something, possibly even to the extent your normal faculties are impaired. Whether it’s alcohol, an illegal drug, or even just a medication you actually have a valid prescription for, any of those can support a D.U.I. charge.

But a breath test will only test for the presence of one of them—alcohol.

SO, the answer to the question, “should I now blow or not”, is, in my opinion, NO, in almost every case.

There are three factors that contribute to that answer in Florida.

They are:

  • There are risks of false positives:

Even without alcohol in your system, or with small enough amounts that by themselves would not be enough to contribute to impairment, there are a number of things that can cause false or exaggerated results in a breathalyzer machine. You can glean what those are from the limited “YES” answer conditions listed below. They include over the counter products, dental work, and certain medical conditions.

  • You can be subjected to additional testing even if breath test results are low or completely negative:

The only reason anyone agrees to testing of their breath is to avoid the consequences of breaching their contract with the state of Florida to get and keep a valid drivers’ license. Don’t remember what contract that is or what you agreed to? Not surprising, since many of us agreed to it when we were 16 years old and got our first license. Don’t worry, the officer will remind you of it when he reads you Florida’s “Implied Consent” Law when he’s asking you to submit to a breath test. It’s the part about losing your license for a year if you refuse to do the test.

So let’s say you agree to do the test.  Even if you haven’t drunk much or any alcohol at all, if you come in below the .08 BAC legal limit, you’re not necessarily out of the woods yet.

If you blow below .08, congratulations, you are not automatically presumed to be driving while impaired. However, anything above a .05, which could result from one (1) or to two (2) drinks, depending on a host of factors unique to you, can be considered by a jury in deciding if you are guilty or not. They’ll have to decide from that, your driving, and your field sobriety test performance, which in most cases will be videotaped at the scene and contain the bulk of your conversation with the officer.

If it’s .05 or less, the jury will actually be told that there’s a presumption against impairment, but the prosecution could still go forward if the other factors are perceived to be strong enough against you—really bad driving, admission of drinking, epically bad performance of field sobriety tests, etc.

Also, if it’s that low, or even 0.0, it is entirely likely that an officer will then request you submit to additional testing, most likely urine but possibly blood testing as well. Why? Because, if the breath test results are to be believed, and the officer still suspects that you are under the influence of SOMETHING, given the rest of what they’ve learned in their investigation, the likely assumption is its some other drug or medication.

Now, while breath testing will only test for alcohol, urine and blood tests will show other drugs as well. Various drugs will leave indicators of their presence in your system that can be detected by these tests. And, while many drugs dissipate very quickly and will not show up in such tests, that’s actually bad news for you if they do. The quick ones being detected indicate recent use prior to driving—bad for your case. Some drugs stay in your system long enough that it’s hard to say when you last used them or if you were under the influence of them at all while driving. The best example of this is marijuana. It can be detected in urine and blood tests for at least thirty (30) days after its last use. However, there have been recent attempts to identify other chemicals present in marijuana that break down more rapidly to zero in on when they were last used to within a few hours of the test.

If you think that you can now just decline this additional test, without consequence, you’re wrong. Refusing this additional testing results in the same suspension issues that refusing that first breath test carried—a yearlong suspension for a first time refusal. So unless you’re completely drug free, don’t think a low or no alcohol result will win the day for you if you’ve got other medications or drugs in your system.

  • Actual consequences/benefits of refusal in Florida:

If it is your FIRST alleged DUI Offense, and, more importantly, if it is the FIRST time you are potentially refusing to submit to a breath test, then unless you meet all the criteria listed below for a potential “YES” answer, then the potential benefits of refusing may outweigh the negative consequences.

Here’s why.

The administrative penalty for a first time refusal is a twelve (12) month license suspension; but the administrative penalty for blowing over the legal limit is a six (6) month license suspension. In either case, if, during the first ten (10) days after your DUI stop, you pay for and enroll in a Level I DUI School, and you execute a written waiver of your right to an administrative review hearing to challenge your administrative suspension at your local DHSMV Administrative Office, you can then obtain permission to get a Hardship License for the ENTIRE length of either suspension.

Tampa DUI Attorneys

A business purposes hardship license will let you drive legally for limited essential purposes such as getting to and from work, school, medical appointments, and religious services. Now while there will be costs associated with this, if the end result is the same (just twice as long) if you don’t blow or blow over the limit, why risk giving the prosecution a breath result that can be provided to a jury and from which they will be instructed they can presume you were impaired?

Any DUI lawyer would rather argue your case without a damning breath result.  Moreover, if the basis for your stop was something common like speeding, and you look and sound okay doing your field sobriety tests, it gives your attorney a chance to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf from a much stronger position than when there is a breath result over the limit.

But, for those interested in knowing when it might EVER be advisable to take the breath test, I’ll go ahead and said YES, it’s possible. BUT, it is only when ALL of the following circumstances are present that I would advise you MIGHT consider actually blowing:

  • You have not had any alcohol to drink in the previous 12 hours—assuming you did not consume more than half a case of beer or its equivalent in wine or spirits in the past 13 hours;
  • You have not recently used products containing alcohol, including breath sprays, cough syrup, cold medicine, mouth wash or even lip balm;
  • You do not suffer from any form of Diabetes or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease);
  • You do not have dentures or bridge work in your mouth;
  • You have not recently used an asthma inhaler;
  • You have not used a smokeless tobacco product;
  • You have not taken any medications in the past thirty-six (36) hours, regardless of whether or not you have a prescription for them;
  • You have not taken any illegal drugs or controlled substances in more than forty-five (45) days;
  • You are over the age of 21;
  • You do not tend to burp or belch a lot after having consumed alcohol;
  • You are not on a low-carb diet;
  • You do not suffer from any conditions that may cause you to be unable to submit a large enough breath sample, including, but not limited to Asthma, Bronchitis, COPD, Emphysema, Fibrosis, Scoliosis, or any congenital lung disease;
  • You are a not a professional painter or did not recently paint in a confined space;
  • You do not drive a vehicle that uses E85 or other ethanol based fuel products.

So if you think you’re covered on all of these and are so inclined, you might end up with a BAC result you and you’re DUI lawyer can live with and make use of in your defense. But realistically, in Florida, for a first time offense, it’s just not worth the risk in my opinion.

If you or someone you know has been charged or arrested for DUI or any criminal traffic offense in the greater Tampa Bay Area, the McIntyre Thansasides law firm in Tampa has experienced attorneys with decades of experience defending criminal defendants.

For a free consultation and evaluation of your case, call 844-511-4800 today.

Do I need insurance for my motorcycle in Florida?

motorcycle insurance in floridaTo many, riding down the highway on a motorcycle might seem like the most exciting way to commute, or a way to get from A to B. However, this excitement also comes with greater risk of being hurt in the unfortunate case of a motorcycle crash, as motorcycles do not provide the same physical protection as a vehicle can. Despite this, Florida only requires very minimal insurance; motorcycle owners simply need to show that they are financially responsible by providing proof of liability coverage, a financial responsibility certificate, or a self- insurance certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility. So, do you need insurance to operate a motorcycle in Florida?

The short answer is: you should. Here’s why.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), approximately one in eight drivers do not maintain bodily injury coverage. Since in Florida it is not mandatory for drivers to have bodily injury coverage, if someone hits you with no bodily injury coverage or not enough to cover damages, you may be liable for it.

Motorcycle insurance is also helpful for hit and run collisions. Unfortunately, nearly 25 percent of all crashes are hit and run, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV). Behind Oklahoma, Florida is the state with the second largest population of uninsured drivers – nearly 24{7dff60334df83244b79b5471a8769907d27e202ac622cbe5ff51878e61595e62}. Having insurance can protect you if you are injured as a result of a collision while operating a motorcycle.

Do I need to wear a helmet if I have insurance?

Motorists over the age of 16 are not required to wear helmets by law, but it is good to consider wearing one to protect oneself from serious injury. Not only is wearing a helmet an important safety feature, but it will also reduce the hassle of trying to get coverage should you be harmed. In the event that you are in  a crash and are hurt, insurance companies will fight to deny paying hospital fees if the rider did not have a helmet on because the motorcycle operator in some way could have prevented personal injury.

If you or someone you know was involved in a crash involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist, McIntyre Law Firm is here to help you through the legal process. Our attorneys have extensive experience in motorcycle crashes and various forms of personal injury. Call our trusted attorneys today at (844) 511-4800.

New Federal Guidelines issued to address distracted driving

pulled_over_for_texting_and_drivingDid you know that the average person drives more than 290 feet for every five seconds they look away from their phone according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? Distracted driving is not limited to talking on a cell phone or sending a text message. Distracted driving is any activity that deters the vehicle’s operator from keeping their eyes and hands safely on the steering wheel at all times while the car is in motion or even paused at a red light. Activities that constitute as distracted driving include cell phone use, eating, applying makeup, brushing hair, and even changing the music in the vehicle.

If you have been injured because of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get the justice you deserve. Read more below about how distracted driving can impact a life.

The danger of distracted driving

The United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration (NHTSA) reported that approximately 424,000 people were injured in car crashes, and 3,154 killed because of distracted drivers in 2013. It is important to be a safe driver not only for the driver’s wellbeing, but also for the passengers and pedestrians outside of the vehicle. Lawmakers are targeting young people for texting and driving because drivers 20 years old and younger represent 23 percent of all fatal car crashes. They also represent 38 percent of drivers who cause car crashes because of their cell phone usage.

What happens if I get pulled over for texting and driving?

Distracted driving is a serious matter. It is a secondary offence in Florida to text while driving. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 46 states prohibit texting and driving and 37 states prohibit all phone use while behind the wheel for teen drivers.

As of right now you cannot be pulled over solely for texting and driving. To be pulled over you have to commit another traffic law violation while also texting. Examples of offenses that may result in a ticket for texting include speeding or driving through a red light. Under current vehicle and traffic law, if you are caught texting and driving, no points will be added to your license. However, two points will be added with the first offence if the law was broken in a school zone. Similarly, if your texting results in a crash, six points will be added to your license.

If you or someone you know experienced a car crash involving a distracted driver, or if you have been ticketed or charged with an offense involving distracted driving, The McIntyre Law Firm is here to help you through the legal process. Call our experienced attorneys today at (844) 511-4800.

Arrive Alive, Florida campaign: What you need to know

Whenever a fatal crash occurs on one of our roads, somebody loses a son, daughter, brother, sister, spouse or friend. In an effort to keep Florida citizens safe on the road, the Florida Highway Patrol reinitiated the “Arrive Alive” campaign across the state.

Arrive Alive was originally introduced in 1970 when fatal car crashes were at a peak. The initiative helped plateau the number of deadly accidents until the past three years. Unfortunately, fatal crashes in Florida have recently been on an unexpected rise. Causes often include unclear signs or paint on the roads, cell phone distractions and DUI incidents.

Between 2014 and 2015, Florida faced a 17.7 percent increase of fatal car crashes. Major Joseph Franza, the commander of Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Troop C, which services Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter Counties, said at a news conference last month that he “would not stand for that,” reinitiating the Arrive Alive effort.

Rather than having FHP troops monitor roads that are quick and easy places to write tickets, Franza told attendees of the news conference that troops will patrol places where deadly crashes frequently occur. By targeting the specific locations of fatal crashes, necessary changes can be made to prevent them in the future. Sometimes these changes are as simple as a fresh paint job on road lines or adding additional, clear signage.

In every case, however, road safety starts with the drivers. Be cautious, attentive and responsible to keep yourself and others safe on the road so you can “Arrive Alive.”

If you or somebody you know has been involved in a personal injury case related to a car accident, you are not alone. At McIntyre Law Firm in Tampa, we have attorneys proficient in personal injury, especially regarding auto crashes and DUI cases.

If you or someone you know has been charged or arrested for any criminal traffic offense in the Tampa Bay Area, The McIntyre Law Firm in Tampa has experienced attorneys with decades of experience defending criminal defendants.

For a free consultation and evaluation of your case, call 844-511-4800 today.

Tampa Decriminalizes Marijuana—Sometimes

tampa_marijuana_lawWith Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the Chief of Police backing the change, as of April 1, 2016, carrying marijuana in small quantities has been decriminalized in the city of Tampa-under certain circumstances.

Prior to the new ordinance that was passed in a council vote of 5-1 on March 17, 2016, anyone stopped in possession of any quantity of the substance could face criminal charges and a minimum of up to a year in the county jail. Under the new measure, people with 20 grams or less of marijuana could receive a citation instead of being arrested for criminal charges and pay a $75 fine for a first offense.

While the charge for possession has been greatly reduced, the city and police officials assert that the penalties rise to $150 for a second offense, $300 for a third and $450 subsequently.

Stephen A. Leal is a criminal defense attorney at McIntyre Thanasides in downtown Tampa. He points out that while the City of Tampa has joined other municipalities in Florida that have adopted similar local ordinances, possessing marijuana is still a criminal offense under state law.

“Tampa Police Department Officers now have the option to not arrest you for simple possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana. If you aren’t doing anything else that’s illegal at the time you’re caught, then this ordinance will likely keep you from being arrested by an officer from T.P.D.” He said.

“However, Marijuana arrests often lead to or result from other charges in many, many cases. Police will continue to investigate cases in the same manner as they have in the past, and if they find evidence of other crimes, the new ordinance allows them to arrest you for everything, including the marijuana offense.”

He also cautioned that in Hillsborough County “this ordinance only applies to the city limits of Tampa, and, therefore, The Tampa Police Department’s jurisdiction. It is not binding on any of the other law enforcement agencies operating in Hillsborough County. So if you are investigated by The Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office, or The Police Departments for the cities of Temple Terrace or Plant City, the Tampa International Airport, or the Seminole Indian Reservation, the Florida law still applies. The same is true for any State Officers operating in Hillsborough County such as the Highway Patrol, for example.

In January of this year, Mayor Buckhorn expressed one of the core reasons why he is in favor of the new ordinance, because of the detrimental effects a criminal record would have on a young person’s life.

“What the country and certainly mayors have realized is incarcerating people, particularly young people, for a very small amount of marijuana absolutely alters their career path for the rest of their life,” he told the Tampa Tribune. “Once they get into that prison system, they are forever scarred; they forever have a prison record.”

If you need more information about the new Tampa marijuana law, or want to discuss other drug-related criminal charges, contact the Tampa criminal defense attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A.