Written by attorney Robert Keates

Marijuana Possession and Marijuana for Personal Use Guide

Marijuana Possession and Marijuana for Personal Use arrests have routinely been one of the most numerous types of arrest and criminal conviction throughout the United States, ranging from a small amount of Marijuana to just under an ounce, and even larger. Possession of Marijuana arrests continue to wreak havoc on the American public, and not just college students or young adults; Police arrested 847,864 persons for marijuana violations in 2008, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report Possession of Marijuana for personal use can lead to jail time, probation, and costly fines if the criminal arrest and charges are not dealt with quickly and aggressively by a qualified defense attorney or lawyer familiar with the Marijuana laws of your particular state.

But beware, even a minor arrest for possession of marijuana, even if truly for personal use, can quickly become a serious felony charge representingMarijuana Sales, Marijuana Delivery, and even Marijuana Transportation. Often the arresting officer will make a quick judgement call based only on the amount of marijuana present, and not based on the consumption or habits of the marijuana smoker. This leads to the district attorney filing charges for Marijuana sales rather than personal use, forcing the defendant to go to a criminal jury trial against a trumped up charge. An experienced attorney can argue and defend against such criminal charges concerning marijuana, helping you defend against the allegations.

An experienced and seasoned lawyer familiar with Marijuana Possession defense knows how to file and argue motions based on Violations of your Search and Seizure Rights, meaning that if police officers invade your privacy and conduct an illegal search, your lawyer can challenge the search in court. A successful motion to supress marijuana possession can lead to an outright dismissal where officers illegally searched for marijuana. Know and Protect Your Constitutional Rights by Contacting a Marijuana Possession Lawyer in your Area.

- Marijuana Possession Laws Across the United States -

Marijuana Possession Laws vary state to state, ranging from a slap on the wrist fine to years in state prison as penalty or punishment. Because each state is free to set the punishments and penalties within the state lines, there is a wide discrepancy in Marijuana law across the United States of America. For instance, in California, Possession of Marijuana -- under an ounce of marijuana or 28.5 grams or less for personal use -- is not an arrestable offense. As long as the offender can provide sufficient identification and promises to appear in court, the officer will not arrest the offender, and for first time offenders, conviction of the misdemeanor charge mean a maximum fine of $100. In New York, Possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $100 for the first offense. For the second offense, the penalty increases to a $200 fine and for subsequent offenses the fine increases to $250 and a maximum of 15 days in jail time may be imposed.

Contrast New York and California's Marijuana Law with Texas's Marijuana Law. In Texas, Possession of two ounces or less of marijuana is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000. Possession of greater than two ounces is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000. The penalties and punishments increase as the amount and weight of Possessed Marijuana increases.

Lastly, many states are reducing the penalties and sentencing for possession of marijuana in general, while increasing the punishment for possessing marijuana in certain areas, such as schools, parks, and other locations. For instance, in Michigan, Possession of marijuana in any amount is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000, unless the possession occurred in a public or private park, which increases the penalty to a possible 2 years in prison.

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