DC Marijuana Possession Lawyer

Millions of Americans have used marijuana during their lifetime, making it one of the most popular illegal drugs in the United States. While marijuana hasn’t yet been legalized nation-wide, many states have begun to reconsider laws and penalties regarding its possession and use. Some, including the District of Columbia, have reduced possession of small quantities of marijuana from a crime to a civil penalty (popularly known as “decriminalization”). More recently, DC voters passed an initiative fully legalizing the substance, although this law has not yet been enacted.

The laws and regulations surrounding this specific drug can be confusing. That’s why it’s best to contact an experienced Washington, DC marijuana possession lawyer if you’re facing marijuana possession charges.

Marijuana Possession

Possession means that you knowingly have an illegal substance under your control. You do not need to have the marijuana on your person in order for an arrest to be made. If the police find one ounce or less, you can only receive a $25 civil fine but no criminal charges. If you have more than one ounce in your possession, you’ll be facing misdemeanor criminal charges, which could result in fines and jail time.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The severity of the penalty depends on the amount of marijuana found in your possession as well as the situation in which the drug was being used. First–time offenders may also get a more lenient sentence. For possession of marijuana, an individual may face:

  • One ounce or less: $25 civil fine
  • More than one ounce: A fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days of jail time
  • Public consumption: Up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for consuming marijuana in a public area, such as a street, parking lot, or any place where the public is invited.
  • Possession with intent to distribute: Up to $50,000 in fines and up to five years in jail for more than half a pound of marijuana

For a first-time possession offense, the court may offer the option of probation without adjudication of guilt where the defendant is placed on probation for up to one year. During this probation period, you must meet any conditions specified by the court. Upon completion, the court will dismiss your charges and seal all records relating to your case.

The severity of sentencing often depends on circumstantial evidence. An experienced DC marijuana possession lawyer can help create a strong defense to represent you in court.

What is Initiative 71?

In November of 2014, voters in the District of Columbia passed Initiative 71, which would make small amounts of marijuana legal for personal, non-medical use. This initiative would allow adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana. It would also allow individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants, including three flowering plants, for personal use. The initiative has not yet gone into effect and will require Congressional review in order to become law.

Hiring a DC Marijuana Possession Lawyer

If you have been arrested on charges of marijuana possession, you need an experienced DC marijuana possession lawyer who can carefully evaluate the circumstances of your case and provide you with the best possible defense. Your lawyer will also consider any other contributing factors such as a previous criminal record, possession of plants versus cut marijuana, other drug paraphernalia in your possession, and the specific circumstances surrounding the original arrest.

While marijuana possession may not seem like a serious crime, it can still put you in jail. Contact an experienced Washington DC marijuana possession lawyer today to talk about the options available for your defense.