Marijuana Related Offenses

State College Drug Possession Lawyer

Marijuana is widely used throughout North America and Central Pennsylvania is no exception. The only intoxicant in the United States and Canada more popular than marijuana is alcohol. Of course, the big difference between these two drugs is that one is legal, but tightly regulated, while the other remains illegal in most states. Alcohol has been legal in the United States since 1933, while marijuana had been illegal in every state between 1937 and 2012, with Washington and Colorado becoming the first two states to re-legalize cannabis for recreational purposes since the Marihuana Tax Act banned the plant on a national level.

Marijuana misdemeanors and felonies

Marijuana offenses fall into two major categories: misdemeanor offenses and felony offenses. If all the evidence suggests that the marijuana in your possession is for personal use, then you will be charged with a misdemeanor. Items like bowls, vaporizers, bongs, rolling papers, digital scales, etc. are known as "drug paraphernalia," which is also a misdemeanor charge. If you sell marijuana or intent to sell it, then you will be charged with a felony. Needless to say, the direct and collateral consequences of a felony are far more severe than they are for a misdemeanor.

Many Penn State students are charged with marijuana-related offenses

The majority of my clients charged with marijuana-related offenses are Penn State students, and this is true of both misdemeanor possession for personal use, as well as felony delivery or possession with intent to deliver marijuana. This is not because Penn State students are the only people smoking or selling marijuana in Central Pennsylvania. Like alcohol, marijuana is a drug which enjoys wide usage among a variety of age groups and socio-economic classes. The reason I represent so many Penn State students in marijuana cases is because they are the group most likely to be caught.

A 50 year old husband and wife smoking in their home are rarely going to be hassled by the police. The old adage is that if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it doesn't make a noise. Penn State students, especially those living on campus, do not have the benefit of privacy and seclusion. If you smoke marijuana in the dorms, you run a substantial risk of a visit from the Penn State Police. Even if you are smart enough not to smoke in the dorms, smoking in other areas of campus is not exactly safe either, as the police know all the spots favored by tokers.

State College criminal defense attorney

Penn State students are far more likely to be caught selling marijuana than non-student dealers here in Central Pennsylvania. Quite frankly, students are the "low hanging fruit," which is easiest for the police to pick. Students who sell marijuana in State College tend to be quite amateurish, and thus are likely to make mistakes, which makes it easy for them to be caught. Professional dealers, which are usually non-students, have been schooled in the ways of the criminal underworld and, as such, are far less likely to make mistakes. Also, many students charged with delivery of marijuana are not even dealers at all; they are gullible, nice guys who think they are doing a "friend" a favor by hooking him up with a bag of weed. When that "friend" turns out to be a confidential informant working with the police, this middle-man nice guy, who made no money on the transaction, ends up being charged with delivery of marijuana, just as if he were an actual dealer.

Free initial consultation

If you are charged with a marijuana-related offense, you need a good criminal defense attorney. In some cases, we engage in "harm reduction," by achieving a positive outcome to your case through a plea agreement. In other cases, we can seek to have illegally obtained evidence "suppressed" by a judge, meaning that the evidence cannot be used at trial. This effectively ends the ability of the Commonwealth to prosecute the case. Sometimes we can proceed to trial, and argue that the marijuana was not yours, or that it did belong to you, but it was for personal use, and not intended for sale. Sometimes we can even get you into a program, which would allow you to avoid any damaging criminal records. The goal and direction we take will depend upon the facts of your case.  Please call our State College Law Office today for a free initial consultation at 814-308-0870.