Marijuana Possession in NY: Defense
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- Protect your record
- Stay out of jail
- Save time
- Case dismissed?
Our lawyers handle marijuana defense in all New York courts. If you plead guilty to any drug offense, including a low-level marijuana violation, it may make you ineligible for financial aid and cause other problems in the future.
Warren Redlich is a top marijuana and drug defense attorney. In 2012 he won an appeal on the “Judicial Diversion” law for felony drug cases in People v. DeYoung. This means that most felony drug offenders can get treatment instead of jail, and can have a chance at getting their records cleaned up. We know how to get this done.
Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
The most common charge we see is Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (UPM – Penal Law 221.05) for possession of less than 25 grams (about 7/8 of an ounce) of marijuana. This is not a crime – it’s a violation. The law usually does not allow for jail time. Our fee for simple UPM cases is $1000.
In many of these cases we will be able to get you an “ACOD” – Case dismissed.
Under New York law, a marijuana ACOD wipes the slate clean, as if you were never arrested. This is very important for college financial aid, and for many other reasons.
Some judges will require community service as a part of the ACOD. We disagree with this requirement, but it is usually in our client’s interest.
For some clients, especially those trying to enter the military or seeking a job in law enforcement, the ACOD can be a problem. We may be able to get an outright dismissal. In some cases you may have to choose between pleading guilty to something, or putting your plans on hold.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
Criminal Possession of Marijuana
Also common is Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the fifth degree (CPM – Penal Law 221.10) for possession in a public place where the marijuana is either burning or open to public view, or where the amount is more than 25 grams but less than 2 ounces. This is a crime – a B misdemeanor.
CPM 4th (221.15) is where the amount of marijuana (including everything it’s mixed with) is more than 2 ounces but less than 8 ounces – an A misdemeanor. This is where marijuana offenses start to become more serious, though jail time is still unlikely. Our fee on misdemeanor CPM cases is $1500 to see if we can either get you an ACOD or negotiate a deal.
In rare cases it makes sense to fight a marijuana misdemeanor. Our fee to fight is at least $5000 up front. These fees include motions and hearings. If a trial is necessary, there will be an additional fees.
Felony Marijuana Cases
Fortunately, few of the marijuana possession cases we see rise to the felony level. In some of these cases the original felony will be dropped to a misdemeanor if the lab weight is less than 8 ounces. For felony cases, our fee is at least $5000 up front, and this covers motions and hearings, but does not include trial.
There is some good news about felony marijuana cases in New York State. In 2009 a new law was passed. Under CPL Article 216, most felony drug cases are now eligible for something called “judicial diversion.”
Judicial diversion means treatment. If you stick with the treatment and stay out of trouble, it means no jail time. If all goes well, we may even be able to get the charges sealed or dismissed down the road.
Attorney Warren Redlich has long been an outspoken critic of the War on Drugs. He is a member of the NORML Legal Committee, speaker for the New York non-profit, ReconsiDer, and is also pro bono general counsel to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. As a part of this interest, Warren wrote an article on constitutional issues related to the drug war, available in Acrobat (pdf) format: A Substantive Due Process Challenge to the War on Drugs.
NY Marijuana Lawyer