This is a law that is rather easy to understand. It simply means that the defendant knowingly possessed marijuana. This is a crime because marijuana is a drug that is unlawful to be possessed in the state of New York and many other states in the country. Most of the time, the punishment isn’t as severe as the crime sounds. A fine of up to $250 can be charged along with the defendant being placed in jail for up to 15 days. The length of time that is spent in jail and the amount of the fine will depend on the background of the defendant. A NYC criminal lawyer can help to get the sentence reduced if there isn’t a lengthy criminal background.
The amount in question that is possessed is less than 25 grams. The state has de-criminalized the possession of marijuana, but it’s still unlawful to have it in one’s possession. Unlawful possession is often considered a violation. Even though there are some states that have made marijuana legal, the Federal Law still recognizes the drug as a controlled substance. It’s important to talk to an attorney about the charges as they could be dismissed altogether if the amount is minor and there are no previous charges.
Examples of Unlawful Possession
There are a few different examples of unlawful possession that you can look at if you’re concerned about the potential ramifications of making the decision to have the drug in your possession. One way to receive the charge, and the most common way, is if you are in physical control of marijuana with the intention of smoking it or if you are already smoking the drug. You know that it’s unlawful and choose to smoke marijuana anyway. Another common reason to be charged with unlawful possession is by constructively holding the drug. This is a bit more detailed in the way that the charge is described. An example would be that you have the drug in the back of a vehicle that you’re in but not holding it in your hand. Another instance would be if the drug is sitting on a table in the home or even in a drawer. Even though you’re not physically holding the marijuana, you’re still in possession of the drug because it’s on your property.
Defenses to Unlawful Possession
Unless you are adept at being in court and talking to the prosecution, then it’s best to have an attorney represent you after being charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. One of the primary benefits of an attorney is that you could walk out of the court room with no charges at all or a suspended sentence that means probation for a short time instead of going to jail or paying a fine. Even though this is only a violation, it can still impact your future in the event that you are charged with the same crime once again. There are mandatory defenses that are written into state laws that dismiss the first offense for unlawful possession. If the defendant feels harassed while being charged with the possession, then this could be used as a defense. Many times, the weight of drug in the person’s possession can be used as a defense as the amount is often exaggerated instead of being exact. The validity of the initial stop can also be challenged.
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