The state laws in the US vary regarding the use of marijuana. Some states such as New Jersey and New York allow medical use of the drug, but do not allow recreational use of the drug. Other states such as Alaska, Colorado, and Washington allow both recreational and medical use of the drug.
In states where it’s illegal to possess marijuana, there are different penalties regarding simple possession and possession with the intent to distribute. In this article, we will look at the legal definition of the two terms and the penalties associated with the crime.
Legal Definition of Simple Possession vs. Possession with Intent to Distribute
Every state where recreational use of marijuana is illegal has put fines and penalties for possession of the drug. The penalties depend on the quantity of marijuana in possession. If you possess small amounts of the drug, you are said to have simple possession. On the other hand, when the police search your house or car and find a large quantity of marijuana, it will show that you had the intent to distribute. That’s the main difference between the two.
Possession of the drug in large quantities can result in a felony. On the other hand, if the quantity of the drug in possession slightly exceeds the possession limit, you will be charged with the misdemeanor. The state laws regarding what amount constitutes a misdemeanor and a felony differs.
Keep in mind that cultivation of marijuana can also result in a felony. When you grow two or more plants in the backyard, you will be charged with cultivation of the marijuana.
Misdemeanors are considered minor crimes. The penalties for misdemeanors are relatively less severe. The offence is usually punishable by fines and sometimes jail time of less than one year. Multiple misdemeanors can result in consecutive punishments. This means that when one sentence ends, the next sentence begins.
Felonies are serious crimes that are classified by degrees. The most serious felonies are considered first degree felonies. They are punishable by high fines and prison sentence that exceed more than one year. The more quantity of marijuana you posses, the quicker you will get into a serious felony offence.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney if Charged with Possession
The state laws regarding possession of marijuana can be confusing. If you or someone you know has been charged with a simple possession or with the intent to distribute, you should consult with a reliable and professional criminal defense attorney.
A trusted criminal defense lawyer will use the in-depth knowledge about state laws regarding possession of marijuana to protect your interest in the court. The attorney will look at all the details regarding the case and try to convince the court to issue a minimum possible sentence against you.
In case you are looking for a professional criminal defense lawyer in Union County, Elizabeth, Westfield, Plainfield, or Linden in New Jersey, you can contact The Law Offices of Edward S. Cooper. You can fill in our online form, or dial 908-481-4625 to get in touch with one of our representatives.