Marijuana Possession in Annapolis
Marijuana is treated differently than other possession of controlled substance cases because, in October of 2014, Maryland decriminalized possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. There is an alternate form of resolution of those cases, which usually require payment of a civil fine or requiring short drug education class to have those charges dismissed.
Being charged with marijuana possession, particularly as a first-time offender, is not catastrophic. There are many ways to resolve a case that would keep your record clear of the incident including diversion programs or disposition of probation before judgment.
Additionally, you have a constitutional right to be searched only when it is lawful. It is important to work with a qualified Annapolis drug possession attorney that understands your constitutional rights and your resolution options in the Annapolis court system to ensure that you get the best result possible.
Defense of a Marijuana Possession Case
The decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana has drastically changed much of the way Annapolis enforces marijuana laws, as well as how that affects the court system. Possession of small amounts of marijuana no longer gives police officers in Annapolis the right to search a vehicle or a person’s home. Additionally, because marijuana in small amounts is decriminalized, it greatly reduces the clutter that the court system was previously facing, thereby giving them an opportunity to focus their attention on more serious criminal matters, such as theft or violent crime.
The aspects of defending marijuana possession cases are the same as defending other drug cases because the question of possession is going to be the same, regardless of what substance is alleged to have been possessed. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution does not distinguish between what substances an officer finds. It only outlines how an officer found them.
A judge or a jury is not really cast with questions of leniency when they are determining whether the government has proven a case. If there is a charge that is brought, the role of the jury or the judge is to determine whether or not the prosecution has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Leniency is not applicable in a case until the sentencing phase of the process. In Maryland, a judge decides the sentence and will consider mitigating factors, such as the person’s criminal history, their age, or their professional background in making the decision. Then, of course, she or he can treat marijuana cases differently than other cases such as the possession of more serious drugs.
Long-term implications of a marijuana possession charge may not be serious because small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized. People that are prosecuted for misdemeanor possession of marijuana over 10 grams will have a criminal record, though.
Accordingly, they will face the same consequences that other people face in responding to questions regarding their criminal records. In a practical sense, the consequences are less serious to their life on a long-term basis because many have significantly changed their views about marijuana. A small amount of marijuana in your possession does not have the same social stigma that it used to.
Assuming that somebody is prosecuted for possessing larger quantities of marijuana or possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the long-term impacts could be significant. If someone is charged and prosecuted for a felony possession with intent to distribute, they can face serious consequences, including incarceration and lengthy probation.
The individual could also lose several rights, including the right to own a handgun, qualify for certain security clearances, professional licenses, and anything else that is associated with a felony criminal conviction on your record.