Federal Marijuana Possession Charges
Drug possession charges are usually only filed in federal court when a case also involves allegations of trafficking, manufacturing, or selling the drug in question across state lines. This does not mean, however, that the possession of small amounts of drugs, such as marijuana are not ever charged in federal court. In fact, federal prosecutors can claim jurisdiction over a minor possession case, as long as a state is not also pursuing charges. This can have devastating consequences for defendants, as federal penalties for drug crimes tend to be particularly severe and judges are often forced to comply with strict minimum sentencing guidelines. To speak with a Miami federal crime attorney about your own pending federal drug charges, please call our legal team today for a free consultation.
Marijuana Possession Penalties
Although many states consider the possession of marijuana to be one of the least serious drug-related offenses, federal law still categorizes marijuana as a controlled substance, so its possession is considered a serious crime even if a person has no intention of manufacturing or distributing it. In fact, under federal law, possession of marijuana, regardless of the amount, is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison, even for a first offense. Second offenses are punished even more severely by a mandatory minimum of 15 days in prison, although the sentence could be increased to two years. Finally, third and subsequent offenses are punishable by a mandatory minimum of three months, but up to three years in prison. Unfortunately, judges are required to comply with mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, so those who are convicted of multiple counts of marijuana possession will most likely face prison time and hefty fines.
When possession can be linked to another drug-related offense, such as sales or manufacturing, the penalties become even more severe. Other factors that could affect a defendant’s punishment for possession of marijuana include the following:
- The defendant’s age;
- Whether the defendant had a previous criminal record;
- Whether it is the defendant’s first arrest for possession of a controlled substance;
- Whether the defendant was arrested for possession near a public park or a school;
- Whether the arrest was made in connection with a driving infraction;
- Whether the defendant was in possession of cut marijuana or plants; and
- Whether the defendant was also found in possession of drug paraphernalia.
In some cases, judges are willing to commute the sentences of first time offenders who agree to enter into drug rehabilitation programs or complete classes about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
Call Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Dedicated Federal Crime Lawyer
If you are being investigated for or have been charged with marijuana possession in federal court, you could be facing serious penalties. To begin working on your defense, please contact experienced federal crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. by calling 305-670-9919 or by sending an online message to our legal team. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.