Police in Nassau County started an investigation after spotting marijuana plants in the yard, and then found several stolen vehicles behind the home. Three trailers, a truck, a boat, a jet ski and construction equipment were all found in the backyard of the Hilliard home, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said the items were reported stolen from Jacksonville over the past few months and the total value is about $77,000, the newspaper reported. Police removed all of the vehicles and also took drug paraphernalia from inside the home, the newspaper reported.
No charges have been filed, but police appear to have plenty of options in this Nassau County Felony Case. In terms of Nassau County Drug Crimes charges, cultivation of marijuana is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. The charge could be elevated to drug trafficking - a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. That would only apply if the defendant has more than 300 plants, which does not appear to be the case from this brief mention in the newspaper. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail. It could be possible to have marijuana growing in a rural area without knowledge of the property owner, but when it is found growing with paraphernalia and other growing materials present, that's a tougher sell.
As for the theft charges, the theme is similar to the Nassau County Drug Crimes charges with the marijuana plants. Instead of the physical amount that makes the difference in the drug cases, it's the dollar value that plays the biggest role in the type of charge and the potential punishment in Nassau County Theft Cases. There are other factors, including if the property was stolen from law enforcement, but the main factor is the amount. In this Nassau County Theft Case, it's unclear now if police have evidence that the person who owns the property is the person who stole the property. If not, there are still elements in the statutes that make a person liable if they knew or should have known the property was stolen when then buy or sell it. The threshold for a theft charge to be a felony is $300. If property is valued at more than $300, the defendant can be charged with a third-degree felony that has a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. Because there are several stolen goods, all valued at more than $300, the state could charge several counts of grand theft, which could be stacked to expose the person to decades in state prison.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.