Criminal Possession of Marihuana
There are too many scenarios to describe how and when New York City police officers or police officers in other New York jurisdictions make arrests for marijuana possession (called "marihuana" in the New York Penal Law). Although some of these examples will be addressed below, assuming the weight of the "nug," baggie or loose marihuana is twenty five grams or less and the marihuana is burning or open to public view, you will find yourself before a New York Criminal Court Judge charged with Criminal Possession of Marihuana (New York Penal Law 221.10).
Is Criminal Possession of Marihuana the most serious crime in the Penal Law? Absolutely not. However, a fully processed arrest for PL 221.10 or a Desk Appearance Ticket for possession of "weed," "ganja" or "pot" can have extremely serious consequences to professionals and foreign nationals. Whether you determine that retaining counsel is in your best interest, the decisions you make is one that will stick with you forever. Make no mistake. Consulting with and retaining a criminal lawyer is certainly something to consider when examining an NY PL 221.10 arrest in the context of both criminal liability and collateral consequences.
Sometimes police officers smell marijuana and approach you as you are smoking a blunt. Other times the police observe you or your friends passing around what appears to be a joint. Maybe the police found marijuana in the center console of you car. As noted above, whatever the reason for the recovery of the marijuana, the crime you will face in these scenarios is PL 221.10, a misdemeanor. Once the police recover the marihuana and issues you a Desk Appearance Ticket or process your arrest through central booking, there is still much work to be done before you throw your hands in the air and accept guilt. In fact, if you do not do so, you could end up with a criminal record that will not ever go away.
In no particular order, there are many issues to address in a marijuana arrest. What was the basis of your stop and search? Was your alleged possession of the marihuana "constructive" or actual? While you likely cannot argue your possession was lawful, did you knowingly possess the marijuana? Did you ever possess it or were you merely present? Remember, even assuming there is not apparent factual or legal defense, the burden is always on the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the worst scenario where the evidence of guilt is strong, are you a good candidate or eligible for a Marihuana Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal? If, so, after one year your case will be both dismissed and sealed. Fortunately, for those individuals who have licensing, certification, employment or immigration related issues, a capable and experienced criminal lawyer may be able to convince a judge to dismiss your case not in one year, but in days, weeks or months from your arraignment.
If you are arrested in New York for the first or second time for Criminal Possession of Marihuana, jail or incarceration should not likely be your first concern. Although permitted by law, a fear of custody is misguided. Instead, the greater issue for students, professionals and foreign nationals is how to avoid a criminal history and ascertaining how to minimize any secondary issues. Don't be naive. An arrest for NY PL 221.10 can have long term ramifications.
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As former Manhattan prosecutors and NYC criminal defense attorneys, the lawyers at Saland Law not only possess the knowledge and experience representing clients in marihuana related arrests and Desk Appearance Tickets, but have successfully obtained early dismissals and sealing. Remember, each case is unique and there is no guarantee of a particular result, but you often get only one chance to put forth your best defense. Don't miss that opportunity.
Protect not just your rights, but your future and career. Search the newyorkcriminallawyer-blog.com for information on marijuana and Desk Appearance Tickets. Educate yourself on the law and begin your defense today.
Call the New York City Marijuana Possession Lawyers and Former Manhattan Prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.