Defending Your Marijuana Charges in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, drug charges, including those for small amounts marijuana, may result in a criminal record that could impact your future. A criminal record can make it difficult to get employment or to obtain loans. It can negatively affect custody cases or other family law matters. It can even affect your ability to rent or purchase a home. If you have been charged with a drug-related crime, make it your top priority to hire an attorney who understands Pennsylvania law. Attorney Caterina Saile knows the law, has a proven track record and has the experience needed to develop an effective legal defense plan for you. Don’t let the collateral consequences of one mistake ruin your life – contact Attorney Caterina Saile today to discuss your marijuana arrest.
Possession Of Marijuana
Many people think they have to be caught using marijuana or operating under its effects to be charged with a crime. This is not true. A charge of Possession of Marijuana is common for people found merely possessing marijuana. In Pennsylvania, Possession is defined as… “Knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled or counterfeit substance by a person not registered under this act, or a practitioner not registered or licensed by the appropriate state board, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription order or order of a practitioner, or except as otherwise authorized by this Act.” 35 Pa.C.S.A. 113-780(a)(16).
An officer does not have to catch you smoking marijuana nor do not need a positive drug test result to be found guilty of possession of marijuana. You only have to be caught with marijuana on you or within your personal belongings (such as your vehicle or your purse) to be charged with possession. If you are arrested for possession of marijuana in an amount that is not enough for you to be considered selling, distribution, or drug dealing, you could still be charged with a criminal offense and bear the burden of a criminal record for years to come.
If you are convicted of possession of marijuana and it is your first offense, you will be found guilty of a misdemeanor, sentenced to up to a year in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $5,000. If you have been previously convicted of possession of marijuana, you will be facing a much tougher sentence. A second offense possession of marijuana is punishable by fines up to $25,000 and up to three years in prison.
Attorney Caterina Saile has over 15 years of experience with drug cases including marijuana. Contact the law offices of Saile & Saile to schedule your free consultation to discuss your options in detail and work with you to strategize a defense that will help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
What if It’s Just One Joint?
You do not have to possess a large amount of marijuana to face some hefty penalties. Possession of even one ‘joint’ or edibles can be enough to get you in trouble with law enforcement under the current laws in Pennsylvania. 35 Pa.C.S.A. 113-780(a)(31)(i) specifically prohibits the possession of “a small amount of marijuana for personal use.”
A “small amount” is defined as 30 grams or less of marijuana (or 8 grams or less of hashish). While the penalties may be lower with possession of a small amount of marijuana, if you have been charged with this offense, the consequences may still have a serious impact on your life. Possession of a small amount of marijuana is still considered a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of possession of a small amount of marijuana, you could be facing up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Marijuana and Driving Under the Influence
If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana and also charged with Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana, you will be facing minimum mandatory jail time and mandatory license suspension on your DUI. This applies even if it is your first offense DUI. Click here for more information relating to Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana.