Two Florida men were arrested last week for possession of marijuana. One of the men claimed the large quantity, more than 20 grams of marijuana according to the charges, was not for resale or distribution, but his personal use. Apparently, he was simply attempting to be thrifty and buy his drugs in bulk.
The problem was, when the Florida Highway Patrol trooper left the two men in the back of his patrol car, they continued to talk and the vehicle was equipped with an in-car camera, which recorded their exchange. According to the trooper, they contradicted the statement that they did not realize how much marijuana they had in the vehicle during their conversation.
The vehicle stop occurred as many do, with the trooper claiming a brake light was out and that some of the numbers on the license plate had been removed. When he approached the driver’s side window, he claims he detected the strong odor of marijuana, which led to a search of the vehicle and the discovery of the large quantity of marijuana.
It is often possible to challenge drug charges due to the nature of the vehicle stop and whether the officer had reasonable suspicion or probable cause. The amount of marijuana discovered is important, as anything above 20 grams can be charged as a felony, carries a potential five-year sentence and up to $5,000 fine.
This incident also demonstrates that if you are arrested and in police custody, you should stop talking, even if officers are not within earshot. You should ask for an attorney, remain silent and only speak in their presence.