Marijuana possession is illegal in the state of California, however there are situations in which an individual may be authorized to possess marijuana for medical purposes. A conviction will leave you facing serious criminal penalties which may vary depending on the amount you are accused of possessing. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles marijuana possession defense attorneys know there are several effective defenses against these charges. We are dedicated to securing the best possible results regardless of your guilt or innocence.
It is important to note that the criminal penalties you may face depend largely on your criminal history, and whether you are charged with possessing less than one ounce of marijuana or more than one ounce. The criminal penalties for possessing concentrated cannabis are also different from those of marijuana.Possible Defenses to Possession of Marijuana Charges in LA
Regardless of the situation, there are numerous defense strategies which may be used on your behalf to prevent a conviction. Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to prove:
- You were authorized to possess marijuana pursuant to Health and Safety Code 11362.5 California's Compassionate Use Act.
- You were not in possession of marijuana. There are instances in which police may find marijuana or "pot" on an individual, when that marijuana actually belongs to someone else.
- You were unaware you were in possession of marijuana. The fact that law enforcement discovered marijuana on you is not enough; prosecutors must prove that you were aware or knew you were in possession of the drug.
- An illegal search and seizure led to the discovery of the marijuana. Police may not initiate an illegal stop, execute a search without a valid search warrant, or search a location which is beyond the scope or range of a valid warrant they have obtained. When drugs are seized in an illegal manner by law enforcement, evidence may be suppressed, or otherwise not allowed in court.
The criminal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use include fines, jail time, and a criminal record. A conviction for any drug offense may affect your reputation and career as well.
If convicted of possessing less than one ounce of marijuana or 28.5 grams (not applicable to concentrated cannabis), you may be guilty of an infraction which carries a maximum fine of $100.
Those who are found to be in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana while on school property when classes or extracurricular activities are taking place and who are over 18 years old may be charged with a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines of up to $500 and up to 10 days in jail. Individuals who are younger than 18 and who are found to be in possession under the same circumstances may face a fine of up to $250.
More than one ounce of marijuana may result in penalties which include up to $500 in fines and six months jail time. A drug diversion program may be an option for first-time offenders, allowing you to avoid jail time. Upon completion of a diversion program, the case against you may be dismissed.
Individuals who are younger than 21 may have their driver's license suspended for up to one year; this determination will be made by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.Contact The Justice Firm now
While marijuana possession is certainly not one of the most serious drug offenses an individual may be accused of, it is important to protect your freedom and avoid criminal penalties when possible. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have the skill, experience, and dedicated approach necessary to obtain outstanding results. Contact us today at 310-914-2444.