Marijuana Possession Defense
Michigan law makes it a misdemeanor to possess marijuana in any quantity. The state statute prescribes a punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. However, several local governments in Michigan have adopted ordinances “decriminalizing” marijuana. Exactly how those ordinances treat possession of marijuana varies.
Marijuana Possession in Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo is one of the Michigan cities that has enacted an ordinance regarding possession of marijuana. While possession of marijuana remains a misdemeanor under the ordinance—meaning that marijuana possession hasn’t actually been decriminalized—the possible penalty has simply been reduced to up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $100.
However, Kalamazoo residents, including Western Michigan University students, can’t be confident that they’ll face the lower penalties if arrested for possession of marijuana. That’s because some police agencies within the area charge possession under the state statute rather than the city ordinance, opening the defendant up to the more serious penalties set forth in the state statute.
Understanding Your Kalamazoo Possession of Marijuana Charges
If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana in Michigan, even if the arrest occurred within the city of Kalamazoo, you may be unsure of what to expect. Attorney’s Tara Sharp and Alicia Storm can help. Schedule your free consultation right now to learn more about the penalties you may be facing and your possible defenses. Just call 269-978-6560.
Driver’s License Suspension for Possession of Marijuana
Possession of marijuana in Michigan carries a mandatory 180-day driver’s license suspension. The prosecutor has no discretion to waive this license suspension and the judge has not authority to refuse to impose the suspension. The judge may grant a restricted license after 30 days, but there is no leeway—driving privileges must be completely suspended for at least 30 days.
The driver’s license suspension is a key reason that many people charged with possession of marijuana, particularly under a local ordinance which carries lesser penalties, choose to fight the charge in court.
If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana and you can’t afford to lose your license, schedule a free consultation to talk about your options. Dial 269-978-6560 right now.
Defenses to Marijuana Possession Charges
The best defense to your marijuana possession charges will vary depending upon the facts of your case. In many cases, the best defense is to challenge the sequence of events that led up to the discovery of the marijuana.
Search and Seizure Issues in Marijuana Possession Cases
If marijuana is discovered in a vehicle after a traffic stop, there may have been inadequate cause for the stop itself. If the discovery stemmed from an illegal stop, then the evidence obtained as a result of the stop will likely be inadmissible.
Similarly, if the officer did not have either probable cause or permission to search the vehicle (or other location where the marijuana was found), then the evidence discovered as a result of that search may be inadmissible.
During your free consultation, we’ll assess the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the substance in question and whether we may be able to suppress the evidence against you.
In Michigan, a defendant can be convicted of possession of marijuana based on “constructive possession”. Constructive possession means that you are deemed to have possession even if the drugs aren’t in your actual physical possession at the time of arrest. A common example would be marijuana found in your apartment if you live alone and no one else has regular access to the premises.
Conditional Discharge for Possession of Marijuana
Michigan law provides for deferred sentencing on a first offense possession of marijuana charge. If the defendant qualifies for deferred sentencing, the court may accept a guilty plea but not enter judgment of conviction. Instead, the court may impose terms of probation, including drug treatment. If the defendant successfully completes the term of probation, the case will be dismissed without entry of a conviction. This not only protects the defendant from a criminal record, but also avoids the mandatory driver’s license suspension that would be entered upon conviction.
Talk to a Marijuana Possession Lawyer
Find out whether you may qualify for deferred sentencing and what other options may be available to you in a free consultation. Contact us at 269-978-6560.