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How can an attorney help with marijuana possession charges?

By Spodek Law Group | October 16, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 10:57 pm


How an Attorney Can Help with Marijuana Possession Charges

Getting charged with marijuana possession can be scary. Even if it’s a small amount for personal use, the penalties can be severe depending on where you live. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help navigate the legal system and get the best possible outcome for your case.

Understand the Charges

The first thing a lawyer will do is look at the specifics of your arrest and charges. Marijuana laws vary greatly by state, and even by county or city within a state. Some places have decriminalized small amounts, while others still treat possession as a felony. Your attorney will identify exactly what you’ve been charged with – a misdemeanor or felony, the amount in question, if it was for personal use or intent to distribute, etc. Knowing the charges inside and out allows them to build the strongest defense.

Explain the Potential Penalties

Once the charges are clear, your lawyer will explain the potential penalties if convicted. This depends on the amount, your criminal record, and local laws. Penalties can include fines, probation, community service, drug counseling, and even jail time. Your attorney will be honest about just how serious the situation is, while still reassuring you they’ll do everything possible to avoid the harshest outcomes.

Develop a Defense Strategy

A skilled marijuana crimes lawyer will look at every angle of your case to build a defense strategy. Common options include:

  • Challenging the legality of the search or arrest
  • Disputing that the substance was marijuana
  • Arguing you didn’t know it was in your possession
  • Showing you had a medical marijuana card
  • Negotiating a plea deal to lesser charges

They’ll decide whether to take it to trial or try for a plea bargain. Your attorney will develop the best defense based on the unique circumstances.

Negotiate with the Prosecutor

In many marijuana possession cases, pleading to a lesser charge is the best way to avoid harsh penalties. An experienced negotiator, your lawyer will work with the prosecutor toward a fair outcome. This could mean reduced or dropped charges, a lesser sentence recommendation, or eligibility for a diversion program. A good lawyer knows how to craft a convincing argument and apply just the right pressure during negotiations.

Get Your Record Expunged

If you’re convicted of a marijuana crime, your lawyer can help get your record expunged later. Many states allow expungement for certain marijuana offenses, especially with recent legalization trends. Your attorney will know what options exist to erase the charges from your record so they don’t negatively impact your life.

Dealing with marijuana possession charges is daunting. But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can support you through the process and achieve the best resolution. They have the knowledge and resources to build your defense, negotiate effectively, and advocate for your rights. With legal help, you have a much better chance of minimizing penalties or avoiding conviction altogether.

The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer

When facing marijuana possession charges, one of the most important things you can do is hire a criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer is critical for several reasons:

  • They know how to navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights.
  • They can identify any illegal actions, procedural errors or constitutional rights violations by police.
  • They have experience developing strategies and defenses for marijuana cases.
  • They can negotiate effectively with prosecutors to get charges reduced or dismissed.
  • They can present persuasive arguments and evidence in your defense if it goes trial.
  • They can guide you through the process and advise you on smart legal strategies.

Without proper legal advice and representation, the risks are much greater. You could miss key defenses, make damaging legal mistakes, or agree to unfavorable pleas. Hiring a lawyer levels the playing field against the government prosecutors seeking a conviction.

Choosing the Right Marijuana Crimes Lawyer

Not all attorneys have the right skills and experience to take on a marijuana case. When researching lawyers, look for these qualifications:

  • Knowledge of marijuana laws – Possession laws vary greatly, and are changing rapidly. Look for extensive experience specifically with marijuana cases.
  • Familiarity with local courts and prosecutors – A lawyer who regularly works in your jurisdiction will know the judges, prosecutors and processes.
  • Strong negotiation skills – They should have a proven record of getting marijuana charges reduced or dismissed through plea bargains.
  • Litigation experience – If it goes to trial, you want an attorney seasoned at mounting tough defenses and cross-examining witnesses.
  • Resources – Big marijuana cases often require expert witnesses, investigators, and laboratories able to challenge drug test results.
  • Good client relationships – Look for great communicators who will keep you informed and guide you through the process.

Don’t take chances on the wrong lawyer. Interview several to find the best legal advocate for your specific case.

Common Marijuana Possession Defenses

When building a defense for marijuana possession charges, lawyers use a variety of strategies based on the circumstances. Here are some of the most common and effective legal defenses:

Illegal Search and Seizure

One of the most common defenses is challenging how the marijuana was obtained by police. If the search, arrest or seizure violated your constitutional rights, the evidence can be suppressed. For example, if police didn’t have probable cause for a search, or conducted one without a warrant, any evidence found may be inadmissible.

Questioning Marijuana Possession

In some cases, the defense can argue there is insufficient evidence you actually possessed marijuana. If it wasn’t found directly on you, they can dispute you knowingly possessed it. There may also be room to question if the substance police confiscated was in fact marijuana.

Medical Marijuana Protections

Many states with medical marijuana laws provide protections for card-holding patients. If you have a valid medical card, you may have an affirmative defense against possession charges even if the amount was over the legal recreational limits.

Marijuana Found in Someone Else’s Possession

If marijuana was found in a location you share with others, like a home, car or bag, your lawyer can argue it belonged to someone else. This is especially effective if others had equal or greater access.

You Were Unaware it Was in Your Possession

You may be able to argue you didn’t know the marijuana was in your possession, especially if it was a small amount concealed in a bag, vehicle, or other space not in your direct control.

Illegal Detainment

If you were illegally detained and searched, any evidence found may be suppressed. For example, if police detained you longer than legally allowed during a traffic stop in order to search your vehicle.

A skilled lawyer will look at every angle to build the strongest defense to get your marijuana charges dropped or reduced.

What to Do If You’re Charged with Marijuana Possession

Being arrested for marijuana possession can be scary. Here are important steps to take:

  • Remain silent – Do not admit to anything or try to talk your way out of it. That could hurt your case later.
  • Hire a lawyer immediately – Quick legal help is critical for building your defense and protecting your rights.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice – Listen carefully and follow their recommendations closely.
  • Avoid discussing the case – Don’t post on social media or talk to anyone but your lawyer about your case.
  • Ask about diversion programs – These alternative programs can lead to charges being dismissed if completed.
  • Consider drug counseling – Even if not required, enrollment may help your case.

With an experienced marijuana crimes lawyer guiding you, you can move forward with confidence knowing your rights are protected.

Possible Penalties for Marijuana Possession Convictions

If convicted of marijuana possession, penalties vary greatly depending on the amount, criminal record, aggravating factors and state laws. Some potential penalties include:

  • Misdemeanor or felony charges
  • Fines up to $5,000 or more
  • Probation lasting 1-5 years
  • Suspended driver’s license
  • Drug counseling or treatment
  • Community service
  • Jail time ranging from 1 month to several years

In some cases, possession of larger amounts can lead to mandatory minimum sentences. Your lawyer’s goal is avoiding conviction and harsh penalties through strong legal defenses.


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