Drug charges of any kind can bring serious consequences, but many people overlook the potentially serious impact of a conviction for marijuana possession. While the national perception of this drug has shifted dramatically over the last few years, with some states even decriminalizing marijuana, the fact remains that it is still illegal to possess marijuana in Michigan unless you have a qualifying medical condition.
If you are facing charges related to marijuana possession, it is critical to take steps to protect yourself against the potential effect of a conviction. While these charges may not seem as serious as violent crimes or other drug charges, the reality is that they can bring serious, costly consequences.
The penalties associated with possession
Since marijuana is still illegal in the state, this means that you may face arrest and criminal charges if caught with any amount of the drug. Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime, yet the penalties associated can be more than a proverbial slap on the wrist. If it is your first offense, you could face the following repercussions:
- Up to one year in jail
- Fines as high as $2,000
The application of the law regarding marijuana possession varies widely, and multiple factors can impact the severity of this type of misdemeanor charge. For example, smoking marijuana is a less severe crime than possession. Other factors that could affect your case and bring more severe penalties include:
- Cultivating marijuana plants
- Possession of a large amount of marijuana
- Possession or use near a school, church or public park
- Previous convictions for drug-related crimes
The appropriate reaction to marijuana charges will depend on the unique circumstances of your individual case. It is wise to seek the opinion of an experienced defense attorney in order to understand the most effective course of action for your defense.
Serious charges merit a strong defense
It is important for your current and future interests not to underestimate the potential impact of a marijuana possession charge, but rather seek to minimize consequences by confronting charges with a strong defense. It is your first offense; you can fight for a suspended sentence or conditional discharge.
From challenging the evidence that the prosecution brings against you to pursuing certain sentencing options that may be available in certain circumstances, it is possible to protect your freedom and financial interests and keep your criminal record clean.