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Marihuana, as listed in the New York Penal Law 221.10, is illegal in the state except for individuals holding a valid red card. A red card is a medical marijuana card issued by a licensed physician in the state. Just as other drug crimes are heavily penalized in New York, so too is marijuana. Anyone found in possession of marijuana may face a slew of consequences if convicted. The larger quantity of marijuana the person possesses and the purpose of possession both affect the outcome of the case. Whether a lawyer is there to represent the case also makes a tremendous difference in the case outcome.
Marijuana Laws in New York
Of the many types of drugs being used today, marijuana is considered the least harmful of all. It’s legal in many states across the U.S., some for medicinal purposes; others for recreational and medicinal purposes. As such, New York recognizes that the drug isn’t as serious as drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine. As such, the substance is now decriminalized throughout the state. This reduces the number of arrests made for simple marijuana possession. A person in New York may be charged with unlawful possession of marijuana or criminal possession of marijuana. Each charge has entirely different concerns and possibilities.
Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
Unlawful possession of marijuana occurs when an individual is found in possession of a small amount of the drug, deemed to be a ‘personal amount.’ This doesn’t result in an arrest, but instead issuance of a ticket and fine. Anyone found in possession with two ounces or less of marijuana is guilty of unlawful possession of marijuana. Fine for possession under one ounce is $50 while the fine for one-two ounces is $100. Persons found in possession with two ounces or less is not arrested, cited, or otherwise criminally charged.
Criminal Possession Of Marijuana
A person found in possession of two ounces of marijuana or more is considered to be criminal possession of the drug. As a result, police officers have the discretion to arrest the individual and charge them with a misdemeanor crime if they possess 8 ounces of marijuana or less, or issue them a ticket in lieu of an arrest. Convictions for this charge may result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Individuals found in possession of 8 ounces to 16 ounces of marijuana is guilty of a felony and may receive a sentence of 1- 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Possession of more than 16-ounces of marijuana is felony charges that may result in 1 – 7 years behind bars.
Trafficking, Sales, Cultivation, and Other Marijuana Drug Charges
Keep in mind the above information pertains only to marijuana possession. Sales, trafficking, and cultivation are all still criminal offenses in the state that can result in an arrest regardless of the amount of drug in question. Penalties for crimes associated with marijuana, other than possession, may range from jail time and fines to many years in prison. Most New York courts examine the individual’s criminal record to determine the penalties of a marijuana crime conviction.
Do You Need a New York Drug Crimes Lawyer for a Marijuana Charge?
Although you probably don’t need a lawyer if you’re found in possession of two ounces or less of marijuana, many other situations apply that may constitute the need for a lawyer. Prison time, fines, and a tarnished name are only a few of the potential consequences of a marijuana criminal offense in New York. The risk of receiving harsh consequences lessens when a competent drug crimes lawyer represents your case in a court of law. They know the laws, are comfortable inside the courtroom and can plan a proper defense that reduces the risks of a conviction and the consequences of such.
Drug crime lawyers offer no cost consultations to those who’ve found themselves in trouble due to marijuana. The consultation is a time the lawyer learns the specific details of the case to better decide the next best steps to take in the matter. You’ll learn the many ways a lawyer can benefit the case, costs, and other pertinent information during the constitution as well.