There are ongoing societal changes in our country about the use of marijuana, and many people view it as a harmless substance. However, under the state laws of Indiana, a person who knowingly or intentionally possesses marijuana may be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Marijuana possession can also include the act of knowingly or intentionally growing or cultivating the substance, or even simply knowing that it is growing on a person’s property. Our criminal defense lawyers have helped clients charged with all types of misdemeanors. If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Indianapolis or anywhere in Indiana, you may face harsh legal penalties. We will work tenaciously to stand up for your rights and will attempt to negotiate for lesser charges or a dismissal of your case.Legal Proceedings in a Marijuana Possession Case
To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that a person knowingly possessed marijuana. It is not enough to mistakenly or accidentally have possession. To succeed on this requirement of the law, the prosecution must show that an individual intended to maintain control over the substance.
In addition to the laws discussed above, there are also related laws that prohibit the possession of marijuana paraphernalia. A misdemeanor charge may be brought against a person who possesses an instrument or device that is intended for use in consuming a substance, testing the strength or purity of a substance, or enhancing the effect of a substance. Again, a very important consideration in the prosecution of a marijuana paraphernalia possession case is whether the individual knowingly or intentionally possessed the item.
While marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, you may face harsher charges and penalties if you have had a prior conviction for a drug-related offense. In addition, the punishments can significantly increase if you have more than a certain amount of marijuana or related substance in your control.
The penalties for a conviction of marijuana possession can vary, given the circumstances of the case. The sentence for the misdemeanor offense starts at 180 days of imprisonment, but it can increase to over two years, depending on prior convictions and the amount of marijuana in the individual’s possession. Moreover, a court may statutorily impose a monetary fine upon a conviction for these types of charges.
Fortunately, there may be several available defenses in a marijuana possession case. Most importantly, the Indiana Constitution protects the right of individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures. To infringe on this right is a constitutional violation. In order to protect citizens’ rights, the Indiana Constitution prohibits search warrants without an initial finding of probable cause that is supported by information describing the place that is to be searched, and the person or item to be seized. This is consistent with the federal Constitution, which similarly protects individuals’ rights. These constitutional considerations are significant, given that the majority of marijuana possession charges stem from the search of an automobile, residence, or a person.
One of the exceptions regarding searches and seizures that can apply with regard to marijuana possession is when a law enforcement officer has “reasonable suspicion” that criminal activity is occurring. A court will examine all the relevant circumstances to make a determination of whether there could be a reasonable suspicion. Ms. Rayl has the legal knowledge and experience to discover weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments, or identify defenses that may be available in your marijuana possession case.