Drug charges are always serious regardless of the type of drug being used as evidence in the prosecution. While marijuana is being slowly legalized to a certain degree across the United States, the truth is that federal laws making marijuana a banned substance are not being adjusted. Even though Congress has not bothered to follow suit regarding national marijuana allowance and ultimate control, the Department of Justice has still largely taken a position that the states can implement the new products into their economies without national legal intervention for the time being. However, selling and transporting marijuana in states where medical or recreational marijuana is not authorized is still completely against the law on both levels and sales without a valid state license is still illegal in the authorized states. In addition, most states only allow authorized growers to produce marijuana in designated locations, meaning that growing unauthorized marijuana is also still illegal even in the allowed states. What this means is that many people who attempt to skirt the law are still arrested and charged when found in violation of marijuana laws. This is especially true in New York, and defending charges successfully always takes an aggressive New York City criminal defense attorney
handling your case.
Charges for minimal marijuana possession are relatively low in the New York state court system. The threshold for possession is set at 25 grams, with anyone being convicted for a first offense being fined $100. The fine increases to $200 for a second and $250 for a third conviction under 25 grams with the potential for 15 days in jail as well for the latter. This level of possession is not even classified as a misdemeanor. The criminal classification begins when a charge for possession of an amount over 25 grams to two ounces occurs. Possession of amounts between two and eight ounces are still processed as misdemeanors, but the fines are increased significantly and they can carry an extended jail term as well. These sentences are incarceration up to three months for between 25 grams to two ounces, along with one year between two and eight ounces. In addition, fines can increase to $500 and $1000 respectively. Even though these crimes are prosecuted as misdemeanors, they are still considered drug crimes and can impact certain eligibility for government programs and employment possibilities. And, charges for possession of more than eight ounces are prosecuted as felonies with a maximum sentence of one year in a state facility. Having an experienced New York City criminal defense lawyer means all evidence brought in the charge can be evaluated for admissible status and potentially be dismissed or result in a reduced charge.
Sales and Trafficking Charges
Sales of marijuana in small amounts is not always prosecuted as a felony, but the penalties for a conviction of selling even a minimal amount can still produce a $500-$1000 fine depending on the amount sold. The sale of less than 2 grams can result in 90 days in jail with a selling conviction for amounts between 2-25 grams carrying up to one year incarceration. Felony charges begin for sales of over 25 grams, which is generally just under one ounce. Convictions for selling 25 grams to four ounces can result in sentences of four years incarceration, with amounts between four ounces and one pound carrying a potential for seven years. Both charge levels can also result in a maximum fine of $5000. Felony trafficking charges apply when being charged with the sale of over one pound, and a conviction can carry a minimum jail sentence of 15 years incarceration up to a 25 year maximum. In addition, fines can range from $5000 up to $100,000 when trafficking in copious amounts of marijuana.
It is clear that a marijuana conviction of any level can create a significant hardship on defendants and their families, and fighting any charges can be an investment in your personal future. Evidence used as a basis for charges can always be questioned by a New York City criminal defense lawyer, including evaluating the method in which the marijuana was seized. Search and seizure is a very contentious contemporary issue in New York, and it takes solid representation to have all evidence evaluated properly for a potential case dismissal or plea arrangement.