Two years ago, my client was in Clearwater on vacation with her family. She was from Michigan where marijuana is legal. She had a medical marijuana card in Michigan, but when the state made recreational marijuana legal, she let it lapse.
She was heading to Clearwater Beach when she parked in a no parking zone and a Clearwater police officer on an ATV approached her. He smelled marijuana and asked to search the car. She told him that she had a jar of marijuana that she had brought with her from Michigan. In it was over 50 grams of marijuana. She said that she didn’t know that you needed a medical marijuana card in Florida. He seized the jar and let her go.
She went home to Michigan and two years later found a felony warrant from Pinellas County on a background check. The Clearwater officer had turned the case in to the prosecutor who filed the charge. The case has been sitting with an active warrant for two years. She had no idea. She hired me to fix the problem.
I had her pull her old records to show that she used to have a medical marijuana card. I sent a letter to the prosecutor explaining the situation and asking for leniency. We worked out a deal where the prosecutor reduced the charge to a misdemeanor. My client resolved the case through the mail with a plea in absentia, or PIA. Her penalty was to pay a $500 fine. She never had to come back to Florida to resolve the old marijuana warrant.
She was obviously very happy with this result.