Despite New York’s decriminalization of small amounts of pot, man persons feel like possessing marijuana is not a crime. The truth depends on the amount and kind of pot. If caught, a person is facing serious charges — even a felony.
Anyone stopped by the police and charged with marijuana possession should talk with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. They may be able to minimize the fallout and, at least, can provide guidance on addressing the issue.
Possession Consequences In New York City
Possessing under 25 grams of dried, marijuana flower has been decriminalized. Persons caught with less than 25 grams face a fine. The fine increases depending on the number of offenses with first time violators being fine $100. A second offense will be $200 while the third, or more charge, within 36-months will bring a $250 fine. Get caught consuming marijuana or showing it in pubic catch a second charge, a misdemeanor which means up to 90-days in jail and a $250 fine.
Possessing hash, or hash oil up to seven grams and the holder may get up to a year in prison and pay a $1,000 fine. Over 7 grams and less than 10 is a felony and carries up to seven years and $5,000 in fines.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Settling for a public defender is a good way to wind up caught in a plea deal which may result in more jail time. You will have a criminal record which will be with you forever. Public defenders, although good people are overworked and usually inexperienced in criminal defense.
When you’re caught possessing marijuana, or other drugs, in New York City, you want an experienced criminal defense lawyer who comprehends the vagaries in the city’s drug laws.
The range of options open to an attorney includes seeking diversion to a substance abuse treatment group to assisting in determining if your civil liberties were violated during the arrest.
Before you can hire an attorney, you need to find one.
How to Find a Lawyer in New York
1. Contact The State Bar
Get a referral by calling the state bar’s referral number, 800-342-3661. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. The service only covers specific counties. If you have to live in a county not covered, ask for a number to call. Phone numbers for the state’s local bar associations can be found here.
2. Describe The Situation
Describe, in detail, your legal status and problem to the referral service. They need to know, so the best client/attorney match is made.
Prepare for the consultation
The attorney will also need some data from you in analyzing your case. You should gather the documents before hand. Be sure to make a list of questions you may have. You don’t want to forget anything.
Attend the consultation which should last about a half hour. Discuss your situation and learn what the next steps are. You are never under obligation to hire the attorney — and the lawyer isn’t mandated to accept your case. But by the time you’ve finished the consultation, you will have a clearer view of the path ahead.