If you have been accused of a marijuana crime, you may feel as if you are being treated unfairly. After all, you may need it for medical purposes, or perhaps you were simply accused of a crime that you did not commit. Regardless, you are probably concerned about the penalties that could follow a drug conviction. Fresno marijuana attorney Michael McKneely understands the tough situation drug charges can create. With experience as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, Fresno marijuana attorney McKneely can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy in order to craft a formidable defense.
Do not be taken advantage of by those that want to see you put behind bars. Call (559) 443-7442 now to see how to protect your freedom. On November 8th, 2016, voters passed Proposition 64, making it legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess small amounts (up to 1 ounce) of marijuana in California. In addition, most forms of medical marijuana continue to be legal under the Compassionate Use Act. While marijuana may be legal in many circumstances, there are still other crimes associated with using, possessing, and manufacturing the drug.
Marijuana as an Illegal Substance
One of the most common crimes associated with marijuana is still simple possession. Essentially, this involves having too much of the substance on your person, somewhere under your control, or possessing it at an illegal location like a school. If you are under 18- years old or have more than an ounce, you can still face state criminal penalties like jail, community service, or mandatory drug classes. Another crime associated with marijuana is known as possession for sale, otherwise known as possession with intent to sell. Police might determine that you intended to sell marijuana because of the amount they found or based on your past criminal history.
While marijuana is now legal in California for medical and recreational purposes, the growing or cultivation of the substance is highly regulated and violations will be treated as crimes. For instance, a person over the age of 21 is permitted to grow up to 6 marijuana plants as long as all local ordinances are obeyed, the plants are confined to a personal residence, and the amount does not exceed one ounce. If someone violates these restrictions, an individual can face a misdemeanor charge with penalties ranging from fines to jail time depending on the circumstances and your criminal history. Additionally, selling marijuana outside of sanctioned collectives and dispensaries or the unauthorized transportation of marijuana, remain drug offenses with severe repercussions.
Penalties and Collateral Consequences
According to federal law, marijuana continues to be strictly illegal. This conflicts with state laws, which make the possession or use of marijuana legal under certain circumstances. It is very likely the penalties will be lessened when federal laws on marijuana relax. For now, however, the penalties for marijuana crimes in California include, but are not limited to:
- Simple Possession: More than an ounce of regular cannabis or 4 grams of concentrated cannabis is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $500.
- Possession for Sale (Under 18): 8 hours of counseling and up to 40 hours of community service.
- Possession for Sale (Over 18): Fines of up to $500 and up to 6 months in jail, heightened to up to 3 years for those with a prior criminal history or a conviction for selling to a minor.
- Cultivation (Under 18): 4 hours of drug education and up to 10 hours of community service.
- Cultivation (Between 18 and 21): Penalties for 6 plants or less is an infraction with a $100 fine.
- Cultivation (More than 6 Plants): Up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine, heightened to up to 3 years for those with a prior offense, who are on the sexual registry, or with any prior strike conviction.
- Sales & Transportation: Up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine, increased to 3 years for those on the sex registry, with a prior strike, or two or more prior offenses.
In addition to criminal penalties, a conviction for a marijuana-related crime can cause a number of collateral consequences. Finding a job once you are released, might be all but impossible. This is because most employers shy away from hiring those with criminal records. Your attempts to continue your education might also be stifled. Most colleges and universities thoroughly vet applicants before admitting them, and scholarships are often off-limits to those with conviction histories.
Talk to a Fresno Drug Manufacturing Attorney Today
Whether you are falsely accused or being treated unfairly by the justice system, you deserve to have your side of the story told. There are many effective defenses that an experienced Fresno criminal defense attorney can use to get your charges reduced or dismissed. One common strategy is proving that your rights were violated during your arrest. It might also be possible to prove that the marijuana in question was not yours. People are often falsely accused of drug crimes because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
At Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer, Fresno marijuana attorney Mike McKneely knows what you are up against. From ruined career opportunities to an inability to continue your education, there is no area of life left unaffected by a drug conviction. Once all of the details have been gathered, attorney McKneely will work diligently to present your case in the best possible light to achieve a favorable resolution.
With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, many strategies may be available to prove your innocence and defend your freedom. To speak with a criminal defense attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today call (559) 443-7442.