Although current state marijuana laws reflect the rising trend toward the acceptance of its use, many offenses remain on the books. If you have been arrested for marijuana possession, it is important to understand the options available to you as well as the potential consequences of a conviction or plea agreement. Saratoga County marijuana possession lawyer Gregory P. Garofalo can provide guidance to people facing criminal charges and defend them against the prosecution. With over 25 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Garofalo has an astute understanding of marijuana laws and the protections afforded to New York residents arrested for possession.Navigating Marijuana Possession Laws
In general, criminal offenses related to marijuana possession are categorized by the weight amount of marijuana allegedly possessed. In the State of New York, the possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana has been decriminalized in most situations, and a violation typically results in a monetary fine. However, possessing the same amount of marijuana and displaying or burning it in a public place is a misdemeanor offense. In addition, the unlawful possession of more than 25 grams of marijuana is also a misdemeanor, with penalties that may include incarceration and a large fine upon a conviction. Unlawfully possessing more than eight ounces of marijuana is a felony offense classified by amount. If they are convicted of felony marijuana possession, a defendant may be sentenced to jail time and fined. For many of these offenses, penalty and sentencing determinations are dependent on the defendant’s record and any prior convictions.
A related offense to marijuana possession involves the possession of concentrated cannabis, which consists of the separated resin of the cannabis plant or a mixture or preparation that contains at least 2.5% THC. Penalties for concentrated cannabis possession tend to be especially severe. Even the possession of under a quarter of an ounce may result in imprisonment for up to one year, while the possession of between a quarter-ounce and an ounce is a felony that may be punished by up to seven years in prison.
An arrest for marijuana possession does not always lead to a conviction. First, the prosecution has the burden to prove that the defendant unlawfully and knowingly possessed the alleged amount of marijuana, or a substance containing marijuana, beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense, therefore, may challenge the State’s evidence with its own evidence and witnesses to weaken the prosecution’s case. An example might be proof that the defendant lawfully possessed the marijuana at issue pursuant to a legally issued medical marijuana certification. If evidence was obtained through an illegal police search or seizure, or a confession was elicited without proper due process, the defense might also ask the judge to throw it out. The charges may be reduced in a negotiated plea agreement or even dropped. Due to the evolving and complex nature of marijuana laws, a marijuana possession attorney in Saratoga County can provide advice specific to your situation after learning the details surrounding your drug charge.Medical Marijuana Use in New York
In 2014, the Compassionate Care Act was passed in New York, allowing for the controlled use of medical marijuana. The law provides that people diagnosed with certain medical conditions may be issued a certification for medical marijuana by registered professionals. These conditions are enumerated by law and include cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, HIV infection or AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and more, although other conditions may be added. Recently, chronic pain was added as a qualifying condition after the state recognized that there may be benefits from the use of medical marijuana for patients suffering from chronic pain. Only doctors and nurse practitioners registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program are authorized to certify patients for medical marijuana. The patients may then obtain medical marijuana from authorized dispensing facilities in New York State.Preserve Your Legal Rights by Consulting a Marijuana Possession Lawyer in Saratoga County
Attorney Gregory P. Garofalo can provide trustworthy advice to people who are facing drug or DWI charges. He has defended individuals in communities such as Ballston Lake, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, Saratoga Springs, Malta, Rotterdam, Gansevoort, Waterford, Albany, Latham, Schenectady, Glens Falls, and Queensbury, as well as other areas of Albany, Warren, Washington, and Schenectady Counties. To arrange a free consultation with a Saratoga County marijuana possession attorney, contact the Law Office of Gregory P. Garofalo online or by phone at (518) 584-1557. He also can assist people who need a DWI attorney to fight a drunk driving charge.