Despite medical marijuana’s legalization in California 10 years ago, full legalization in the state is still years away. Under the California Health and Safety Code, possession of marijuana can still be a serious crime for those who do not have a medical license. A possession charge for marijuana can range from a minor infraction up to a felony charge depending on the amount possessed and the circumstances of the case. Even though societal pressures against marijuana have dwindled in recent years, California citizens need to bear in mind that marijuana is still an illegal substance in most parts of the country and its use could have severe criminal consequences.
Fighting a marijuana crime case can prove more difficult than people think. In order to have success in a marijuana crime case, it requires attention to details, possible legal motions, and a thorough understanding of the California Penal Code. If you or someone you know is up against a marijuana crime charge, call the Spolin Law at (310) 424-5816 to speak with a qualified legal representative.
Punishments for Marijuana Crimes
While a simple possession charge can result in a fine of only $100, possession of any amount above 28.5 grams can be a serious crime. Being caught with more than 28.5 grams of marijuana holds a maximum penalty of six months and a fine up to $500. This punishment can drastically increase if the prosecution can prove intentions to distribute. Possession with intent to distribute is a felony with a minimum of 16 months in prison, or up to three years. Subsequently, any sale or delivery of the substance is also a felony with the possibility of two to four years of incarceration. California law still regards non-medical marijuana possession as illegal and the state will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who is accused.
The collateral consequences for marijuana crimes are often more punishing than those levied by a judge. Controlled substance convictions can lead to a suspended driver’s license for up to three years. The loss of driving privileges severely impedes the ability to travel to work and can result in lost wages as well as missed opportunities. If the convicted individual does not hold American citizenship, his or her immigration status can be at compromised as well. Overall, aside from the criminal punishments that are involved in marijuana crime cases, many indirect secondary consequences can prove exceptionally difficult to deal with.
Legal Defenses Against Marijuana Crimes
There are numerous viable defenses to marijuana possession charges. These defenses are commonly used to prove that the marijuana was either illegally found or that the person charged does not have actual ownership over the contraband. Some of the most popular marijuana defenses include:
- Fleeting Possession: The possession was only temporary and ownership does not extend to the person charged
- Unwitting Possession: The accused had no knowledge of the presence of the contraband and had no ownership stake
- Lack of a Search Warrant: The evidence was found in an illegal manner by authorities and thus cannot be used in a court of law
- Illegal Stop or Search: Authorities had no basis for a stop and, subsequently, any evidence found must be suppressed
- Constructive Possession: If contraband was found on the property or in the dwelling of the accused, it doesn’t necessarily mean the contraband was theirs
The most successful legal defenses result in minimal to no criminal consequences. These are only a few of the many plausible defenses to marijuana possession. However, the best defense for any case can vary, as each case holds unique characteristics and circumstances. To learn more about the optimal defense for your case, call (310) 424-5816 to speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney.
Contacting a Marijuana Crimes Attorney
When it comes to finding legal representation for a criminal case, it is imperative that you spend the time to research a lawyer’s qualifications. Highly-qualified attorneys carry more weight in a court of law and their experience in the field typically results in a higher likelihood of a dismissal. At Spolin Law, we believe that no one should face the heavy punishments of a marijuana possession charge. We will work with you to build an aggressive legal defense that plays best to the strengths of your case. Call our offices today at (310) 424-5816 for a free confidential consultation.