Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
Nationally, there has been much debate over the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use. In 2014, the State of New York became one of the 22 states allowing access to marijuana for medical purposes. In addition, the New York Police Department changed its protocol regarding treatment of individuals who possessed small amounts of marijuana, enacting a policy to issue tickets to individuals instead of performing an arrest. While efforts have been made to limit the consequences of possessing a small amount of marijuana, it has not been legalized in the state of New York.
Although marijuana has not been legalized in New York, possessing a small amount of marijuana is not a crime. Understandably, this leads to confusion by the general population. It is important to emphasize that New York’s statute provides that unlawful possession is a violation of the law, a minor offense. The offense is committed when an individual knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana. Although the statute does not specify a range justifying a citation, possession of marijuana becomes criminal when an individual possesses 25 grams or more of marijuana. Any person committing the offense may be required to pay a fine in most instances.
The amount of a citation for unlawful possession may range. The citation will likely be higher when an individual has received previous citations for the same violation. If this is the first violation, the fine may not be in an amount that exceeds $100. If there has been more than one offense within three years of a prior offense, the individual may receive a higher fine or be required to spend a maximum of 15 days in jail. While unlawful possession of marijuana is not a criminal offense, any individual that receives a citation for unlawful possession of marijuana should consult with an attorney prior to deciding to simply pay a fine.
The potential consequences of a citation for unlawful possession of marijuana may extend far beyond a fine. Individuals seem to think that full payment will make the issue disappear. In reality, once payment is satisfied, the real impact of the violation may begin to appear. After submitting to, and making payment for the violation, it will appear on your record. This may have an affect on the ability to obtain employment should employers conduct general background investigations. It may also affect the ability to obtain certain student loans.
Contact Me Prior to Your Plea
Before admitting guilt, contact Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Attorney Murphy will explain your options and inform you of all the strategies that may help obtain a dismissal. It is important to understand that a plea to unlawful possession of marijuana may not just be a financial mistake. Rockland and Bergen County attorney Murphy will also gather information regarding the facts and circumstances to explain your likelihood of success. If you or someone you know want to make an informed decision, contact the office today.