Protecting those charged with Marijuana Related crimes
In many states the marijuana possession laws have changed or become more lenient. Medicinal use of marijuana is widely accepted. Some states allow personal recreational use of pot. In Missouri possession of marijuana in any amount remains a crime. Even a small amount of weedwill result in a police officer citing you for a criminal charge. If you have a batty, a dugout, or any type of smoking device you will likely also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. An experienced St. Louis Marijuana Possession defense attorney can fight to keep these charges off your record. Whether you are charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana or felony possession of marijuana, you should speak with an experienced and aggressive St. Louis marijuana defense lawyer before you do anything else.
Consequences of Marijuana Possession in Missouri
The severity of marijuana possession laws in Missouri and in the St. Louis area is based largely on the weight of the marijuana discovered by police. Common penalties vary from a fine and a criminal conviction to 15 years in prison. The important thing to remember is that there is no legal amount of marijuana you can possess in Missouri. If you have less than 10 grams, the offense is a misdemeanor that does not include jail time. Marijuana possession penalties increase with weight, and a general overview follows:
- Possession of not more than 10 grams of Marijuana, first offense, is a Class D Misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $500.00. No jail time is imposed. A Class D Misdemeanor can still mean a criminal record.
- A second offense possession charge of not more than 10 grams is a Class A Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is one year in the county jail, and/or a $2,000.00 fine.
- Possession of 10 to 35 grams of Marijuana is a Class A Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is one year in the county jail, and/or a $2,000.00 fine. Misdemeanor offenses often carry a two year period of supervised probation.
- Possession of more than 35 grams to 30 kilograms of marijuanais a Class D Felony with a penalty of 2-7 years in prison, or one year in the county jail, with a fine of up to $10,000.00. Felony charges are normally accompanied by five years of supervised probation. Warning: Large amounts of marijuana are often charged as marijuana distribution cases even if the marijuana was for personal use.
- Delivery or sale of 35 grams or less of marijuana is a Class E Felony with a penalty not to exceed four years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.
- Delivery or sale of more than 35 grams to 30 kilograms of marijuana is a Class C Felony with a penalty of 3-10 years in prison, and up to a $10,000.00 fine.
- Possession with the Intent to Distribute 35 grams or less of marijuana is a Class E Felony with a penalty of up to four years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.
- Possession with the Intent to Distribute 35 grams to 30 kilograms of marijuana is a Class C Felony with a penalty of 3-10 years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.
- Trafficking with possession or transporting into the state more than 30kg but less than 100kg is a Class C Felony with a penalty of 3-10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00.
- Trafficking with possession or transporting into the state of 100kg or more is a Class B Felony with a penalty of 5-15 years in prison and a fine of twice the profit.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia, first offense, is a Class D Misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $500.00. No jail time is imposed. A Class D Misdemeanor can still mean a criminal record.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia, second offense, is is a Class A Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is one year in the county jail, and/or a $2,000.00 fine.
For persons under 21- Missouri has an Abuse and Lose statute enforced by St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Franklin County, Jefferson County and throughout eastern Missouri. Under the Abuse and Lose law, if you are under 21 and you are convicted of possessing a controlled substance, you may face a 90 day driver’s license suspension. If you are under 21 and are convicted of possession of a controlled substance while operating a vehicle, you may have your driver’s license revoked for one year.
A criminal conviction for possession of marijuana, even a small amount can result in additional consequences and penalties such as:
- Community Service or Free Public Work hours
- Court ordered substance abuse treatment programs
- A criminal record of conviction for a drug related crime
- In the case of a felony, the loss of certain constitutional rights such as the right to vote, own a gun, etc.) In many cases, drug convictions impact your ability to receive federal student aid for college.
Prosecutors in Missouri and in St. Louis are tough on drug crimes. Often persons with moderate amounts of marijuana intended for personal use are charged with Intent to Distribute even though there is very little evidence of an intent to distribute. If multiple baggies or a scale is found alongside the marijuana, these items strengthen the prosecutor’s case for distribution. These felony charges often result in prison time.
St. Louis Marijuana Possession Defense Strategies
Our St. Louis marijuana possession defense attorneys aggressively protect your rights in court. In many marijuana possession cases, the first contact with the police involves a traffic stop of the execution of a search warrant. When you meet with one of our experienced attorneys, we will want to know what happened. Once we have gathered the facts of your case, we will review your case to determine if there were any violations of your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If a police officer pulls you over without reasonable suspicion, anything the officer finds afterwards may be excluded from evidence. The same goes for search warrants that are defective for any number of reasons. By filing pre-trial motions in your case, we fight to exclude bad evidence from your case due to violations of your Fourth Amendment rights. These pretrial motions are called Motions to Suppress Evidence, and in some cases Motions in Limine.
By aggressively fighting your case from the beginning, you make it more likely that you will win your case or get a favorable plea deal. Other strategies for defending possession of marijuana cases in St. Louis include:
Attacking the Evidence of Possession: Just because marijuana was found on you, in your car, or in your home, does not mean those drugs did not belong to someone else. The state will have to prove that you knowingly possessed marijuana.
Fourth Amendment Challenges/ Illegal Searches: If a police officer searches your car without permission, it may be grounds to exclude evidence based on a Fourth Amendment violation. Police officers need probable cause to search without a warrant. Some police officers search cars and homes without first having probable cause. A well-argued motion to suppress evidence may result in the case against you being dismissed.
Improper Execution of a Search Warrant: Search warrants are required to be specific. If a police officer is searching for a stolen television and decides to root through your sock drawer, he has likely violated the proper execution of the warrant. The evidence her finds can then be excluded.
Suppressing Statements: If you were placed under arrest but not read your Miranda Rights, statements you made cannot be used against you. Anything you said or confessed to may be suppressed and excluded from the evidence in your case. Confessions that are coerced may also be suppressed.
Attacking the Credibility of a Witness: In many St. Louis drug cases, the evidence is based in part on witnesses who helped the police. Informants are often not reliable witnesses. They may have been promised leniency in their own drug or marijuana possession cases just to cooperate. Before trial or at trial, attacking the credibility of the witnesses may help win your case.
St. Louis Marijuana Possession Lawyers at JCS Law Fight To Win Your Case
If you face charges for marijuana possession, first get the help of an experienced attorney. Our experienced attorneys at JCS Law will give you hope by walking you through the steps we take to successfully fight a marijuana possession case. You may have defenses you have not even considered. We will identify the strengths and weaknesses in your case, and give you an honest assessment of how you can best fight your charges.
Remember that the police are not your friends when you are being investigated for a crime. Do not speak with the police if you are the suspect of a crime. Do not make any verbal or written statements. You should speak with an attorney right away. Call JCS Law now to schedule a free consultation.
If you have any questions call: 314-561-9690
Speak with a lawyer
Schedule a FREE, no-obligation case review
to receive professional legal advice.