The Steep Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Criminal Charges

Drug violations are considered serious offenses in America and are typically met with harsh penalties. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 1.8 million drug-related arrests were made in 2007. Despite the fact that it’s one of most widely used drugs in the United States and the constant debates regarding the legalization of its use, marijuana was found to account for majority of these arrests. As pointed out by on the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, approximately 44% of all drug-related crimes involve the possession, distribution, or manufacturing or marijuana. That is large number of the total cases and a clear indicator of how many lives can potentially be affected by charges of possession.

Certain states across America have decriminalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. Even fewer have legalized it completely. However, in majority of the country, simply possessing any amount of marijuana can cause serious issues and lead to a criminal charge. While penalties for a marijuana possession charge vary from state to state, convicted individuals can expect to pay up to thousands of dollars in fines. They could also end up serving a significant amount of time in jail.

In most places, marijuana possession is classified as a misdemeanor—at least at first offense. This could lead to paying a maximum $1000 fine and spending up to 1 year in jail. At second offense, marijuana possession is penalized with up to $2500 in fines and a maximum 2 years in jail. The crime is often upgraded to a felony at third and subsequent offenses. A marijuana possession felony charge can result in up to $5000 in fines and a maximum of 30 years imprisonment.

Certain areas impose stricter penalties based on the amount of marijuana found in an individual’s person. Punishment in Texas will vary depending on the weight of marijuana found in a person’s possession. Having 4 ounces or less is considered a misdemeanor and is punished with a maximum $2000 fine and 1 year of jail time. Anything more than 4 ounces is already considered a felony. The steepest felony punishment requires 5 to 99 years of imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines. Sometimes, convicted felons can also be sentenced in prison for life. For more information consult with a criminal defense expert.

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