A Marijuana Defense Lawyer Will Fight Your Charges
Being charged with marijuana possession is still a federal crime, even though some states have legalized the recreational and medical use of the drug. Fines can run you thousands of dollars, you could face jail time, and you could have a misdemeanor or felony on your record.
A charge of marijuana possession means the drug was found within your property or on your person. It means you were found to either be using or storing the drug.
Federal marijuana charges increase if the police catch you selling it. That means you exchanged the drug for compensation or an item of monetary value. However, depending on your state’s laws, you may be charged at either the state or federal level.
Say you’re caught with recreational marijuana, but your state only allows medical use with authorization. You could face charges for a federal and state crime. A good marijuana defense lawyer from the Zoukis Consulting Group can represent you in court.
A lawyer will also explain your options, the penalties you could face, and your plea options during the consultation phase. Be prepared to discuss details of the incident with the lawyer and point them toward any evidence and witnesses that can testify on your behalf. Good lawyers will gather and examine that evidence while relying on existing relationships and negotiation skills to get you the best possible outcome.
Why Is Possession and Sale of Marijuana a Federal Crime?
Even though the House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana, the drug remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level. In the Feds’ eyes, marijuana is the same as LSD or heroin. It does not have a valid medical benefit, and the use of the drug has a high chance of leading to substance abuse.
However, since the possession and sale of marijuana (in some cases both recreational and medical) is legal in most states, you can abide by state law but not federal law. Unfortunately, federal law takes over when there’s a conflict between the two. The state won’t prosecute you, but they can’t stop the Federal government from doing so. It thus depends on which law enforcement agency has evidence against you.
Remember that if you live in a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana, state law enforcement can and will likely file charges. Federal enforcement is rare, but it does happen.
Can You Go to Jail for Marijuana?
The feds maintain minimum mandatory penalties, jail time, and fines for the possession and sale of marijuana. Let’s go over each of them.
If this is your first offense, the mandatory minimum penalty is a misdemeanor on your record. Jail time is one year, and the fine is $1,000. For a second offense, your charge will still be a misdemeanor, but jail time can be between 15 days and two years. The fine goes up to $2,500.
If you’re found to have marijuana a third time or anytime after that, the government can charge you with a felony. You could spend anywhere between 90 days and three years in jail. Plus, you’ll have to fork over $5,000.
All sales of marijuana carry a felony charge, regardless of the amount you sell. Jail time starts at five years if you sell less than 50kg. Your fine is $250,000.
Let’s say you sell 50 and 99kg. You’ll get 20 years in jail and a hefty one million dollar fine. Interestingly, if you sell 100 to 999kg, your jail time can be between five and 40 years. The minimum fine is $500,000.
Caught selling 1,000kg or more? You could get ten years to life in prison plus a one million dollar fine. However, if you sell any amount to a minor or within 1,000 feet of a school building, your penalties will double.
A Marijuana Defense Lawyer Will Represent You in Court
Either the possession or sale of marijuana can leave severe charges on your record. You could also spend a long time in jail and have to pay a lot of money.
But the consequences you’ll face will depend on the strength of your defense. That’s why it is critical to consult with an experienced marijuana defense lawyer. The Zoukis Consulting Group’s lawyers can help you navigate the laws and legal ramifications of a marijuana possession or sale charge.
Our lawyers can also prepare you for any jail time and sentences.
Published Feb 15, 2022 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Feb 15, 2022 at 12:23 pm