Although recent legalization efforts have not been successful, California
remains one of the more marijuana-friendly states in the country through
decriminalization efforts. However, many marijuana offenses remain serious
crimes, and can result in severe penalties if you are convicted.
The consequences discussed below are all for simple possession
drug crimes. However, additional penalties may be assessed if the prosecution can
prove that you had an intent to sell. Additionally, none of the penalties
will apply if the possessor has a valid medical marijuana prescription,
as there are different restrictions for medical patients.
Possession of Under One Ounce
Simple possession of less than one ounce of marijuana (28.5 grams or less,
to be exact) is actually a non-criminal infraction, similar to a parking
violation. As a non-criminal offense, this level of possession does not
entitle you to a trial by jury or a public defender. However, you will
not be subject to any jail time, and you can choose to fight the infraction
in a trial before a judge.
More Than An Ounce, or in a School Zone
This is where things start to get sticky (no pun intended). If you’re
caught in possession with more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, the crime
will be a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 6 months in prison,
as well as a $500 fine. That’s right – a difference of just
half a gram can be the difference between a slap on the wrist and six
months in jail.
If you possess less than 28.5 grams of weed, but you are in a school zone,
you will face misdemeanor charges. The maximum jail time is 10 days, and
carries a fine of $500. For minors under 18, a first-time conviction will
carry no jail time and a smaller fine, but subsequent convictions will
have comparable penalties to an adult charge.
Concentrates (Hash, Wax, Oil, Shatter)
The information above all refers to the actual flower buds of marijuana,
but the drug is now available in a number of different concentrated forms.
Possession of any amount of concentrated marijuana is illegal, and is
at minimum a misdemeanor charge. This crime is known as a “wobbler,”
because prosecutors can choose to charge individuals with either a misdemeanor
or a felony. As a misdemeanor crime, you may spend up to a year in jail,
and pay a $500 fine. As a felony, however, you will be jailed for at minimum
16 months, and up to three years.
Don’t plead guilty to marijuana possession.
Call our Riverside criminal defense attorney at
(951) 221-4331 for aggressive defense.