State drops several felony drug charges in marijuana grow case, St. Johns County couple sentenced to probation

Once facing multiple felonies and decades behind bars in a St. Johns County Drug Case, a couple accused of growing massive amounts of marijuana in their home agreed to a deal that puts them on probation but keeps them out of prison.  Police initially charged the couple with trafficking in marijuana and several other felonies, saying the couple produced more than 40 pounds of marijuana in their rented home, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The couple was also charged with serious felonies including manufacturing marijuana and possession of a place or structure for trafficking or manufacturing a controlled substance, the newspaper reported. Instead, both of the people involved pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. Possession of marijuana with the intent to sell is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison, while the drug paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail. Still, the defendants in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case were sentenced only to three years of probation.

As the case turned out, it appears that detectives and the state may have significantly overplayed their hand. Trafficking in marijuana is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison that also has a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in state prison. The state dropped that charge, as well as the possessing a place for manufacturing or trafficking a controlled (a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison) and the manufacturing marijuana charge (a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison). So that’s a potential 60 years in state prison on charges the state just dropped. That is rare to find in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases. The couple initially told police they were growing the drug for medicinal use and did nothing wrong

Now while pleading guilty is technically an admission of guilt, it can also be a procedural move to get the case resolved and receive a sentence that is manageable, rather than push the case to trial and risk a stiffer punishment – particularly when there is a minimum mandatory sentence involved.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people arrested on all types of drug charges, from misdemeanor marijuana possession on up to felony trafficking charges that have a minimum mandatory sentence. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will investigate the case against you and provide information so you or your loved one can make the best decision moving forward.

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 St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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