Written by attorney Anthony D. Cotton

I Have a Marijuana Charge in Milwaukee

Some years ago (back when Mayor Norquist was around), Milwaukee announced that it would decriminalize marijuana possession. The idea, on the surface, was that marijuana possession of less than an ounce would be handled by way of citation, as opposed to criminal charges. Despite this pronouncement, Milwaukee has not been consistent with its handling of marijuana cases over the years. For example, there are first time offenders, caught with small amounts of marijuana, who still face criminal prosecution in Milwaukee. If you find yourself caught with marijuana (regardless of the amount), there are certain principles which should be kept in mind.

First, it rarely does any good to make statements to the police upon arrest. It is almost always the best practice to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent.

Second, if the police have elected to refer the case to the District Attorney's office it is critical that you secure legal representation as soon as possible. A lawyer should be able to make contact with the District Attorney's Office in an effort to discuss resolution prior to charges being issued.

Third, Milwaukee has a relatively comprehensive deferred prosecution program that is being utilized on many drug cases. Drug treatment programs are utilized in conjunction with the deferred prosecution program in order to help offenders get the services and care they need. So far, this program has resulted in a substantial decrease in the quantity of marijuana cases prosecuted in Milwaukee. Make sure to speak with your lawyer about whether you might be eligible for a program like this.

Finally, always be mindful of your constitutional rights. You do have the right to remain silent and the right to refuse a search of your home, car or person. The constitution requires police to obtain a warrant to search your home (subject to some limited exceptions). Know your rights, and exercise them. If you have a marijuana case in Milwaukee you should know that there are options, many of which will allow you to avoid a criminal conviction. Make sure you don't go through this process alone. Securing legal representation, at any early stage, will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.

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