Marijuana Possession and Its Consequences
Whether you were arrested by a state officer or a federal officer is a big distinction. Each state has different laws when it comes to possession. If a state police officer arrests or tickets you then your consequence will follow whatever that particular states laws regarding marijuana possession are. If you are arrested by a federal agent, then chances are you are violating the law in a much grander scale. Federal agents don’t just show up at your door unless they have reason to believe that you are involved with transporting or manufacturing of marijuana and/or have ties to much more serious illegal issues.
Your charges can range from a state or federal misdemeanor or felony. State charges for possession of marijuana vary from a misdemeanor or felony to jail or prison time and court fines. The amount you were caught with and if you have a prior offense will affect the sentencing. Say you are in Texas, you have less than two ounces in your possession and you are a first time offender. You could be sentenced to serve jail time for up to 180 days and have to pay up to $2,000 in fines. If you had more than two ounces jail time increases to up to one year to and up to $4,000 in fees. The more you have in your possession at the time of the arrest, the steeper the consequences.
On the Federal level, possession for a first offense can be a misdemeanor that may give you up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. If you have a prior offense on your record or your arrest is linked to other criminal activity, then the verdict will be much more severe and you will be facing felony charges that will go on your permanent criminal record. A felony sentence can land you in prison from one to ten years and cost you up to $5,000 in fines and the repercussions do not stop there. A felony can affect getting a job, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked, you will not be able to apply for a travel visa and you will not be to apply for a government granted student loan.
Some states have decriminalized marijuana under their state laws. This means that if you are caught by the law with a small amount, it is seen as a minor infraction, much like a traffic ticket. If you have a prior history, then this affects the outcome. If you are arrested for possession in a state that has not decriminalized marijuana the consequences are much more serious, as stated above. Is this decriminalization a push to legalize the drug? Many argue that marijuana should be reclassified by the government and believe that is it wrongfully categorized in the Schedule 1 category.
Medicinal marijuana, or marijuana used for medical reasons has been in the media spotlight in the past few years. Laws have been changed to state that IF you have an authorized prescription from a licensed doctor AND you live in a state which allows the use of medicinal marijuana for a valid medical ailment then you may legally purchase marijuana. For the rest of us the possession, use, manufacturing and transporting of marijuana is a crime that is punishable under the law.
Regardless of your personal stance on marijuana and its legalization, there are laws in place that define it as a controlled substance. If you are arrested for possession of marijuana, no matter what the circumstances, contact your San Antonio federal criminal defense lawyer. You need an experienced criminal attorney on your side that can help explain your rights and represent you in court.