Possession of Marijuana - 1st Offense
A 1st Offense charge of Possession of Marijuana is a Misdemeanor Criminal Offense in Michigan. Recent changes in the state’s Medical Marijuana Law have carved out an exception for possession of Marijuana in certain cases, but if a person has not been approved for a Medical Marijuana card, possession of any amount violates state Law. If you have been charged with 1st Offense Marijuana Possession anywhere in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County, I can keep it off of your Record, save your Driver’s License, and minimize all the other consequences. Of course, this means “no Jail.”
Sometimes, there are “search and seizure” issues, especially in Traffic Stop cases. These need to be explored carefully, and every bit of the evidence, including Police in-car video, must be examined to determine the legality of the Stop.
Assume for a moment (and this is true in most cases) that the Police contact and subsequent interaction is “legal,” in the sense that a Judge won’t throw it out of Court, like some Television character who bangs a gavel and yell “Case dismissed!” At that point, you’re stuck facing a Marijuana charge. Realistically, there is virtually no chance of being thrown in Jail. As a Criminal Defense Lawyer, I protect my Clients from a lot of consequences. As an honest Lawyer, I cannot pretend that I have to protect someone charged with a 1st Offense Possession of Marijuana case anywhere in the Detroit-area from going to Jail, precisely because they won't be.
In a 1st Offense case, Jail is just not on the menu. In over 20 years of handling Marijuana Possession cases, I have never had a single Client go to Jail. However, getting stuck with a “Drug Crime” conviction is a possibility, along with having your Driver’s License Suspended. I can make all of that go away. In fact, in more than 2 decades of representing people charged with Marijuana Possession, I have protected every 1st Offender from getting a conviction, and saved everyone of their Driver’s Licenses.
This section will NOT deal with Medical Marijuana. The majority of Marijuana Possession cases that I see involve a person who doesn’t have a Medical Marijuana card having Police contact and being found to have Marijuana. Often this occurs in a vehicle, as part of a Traffic Stop. If you have, or used to have a card, your case is very different. This section will be about those people who are not part of that program.
Under state Law, a 1st Offense charge of Possession of Marijuana is punishable by up to 1 year in the County Jail, a Fine of up to $2000, and a 6-month Suspension of the Driver’s License. The Judge handing the case can grant a Restricted License after the person has served at least 30 days of complete License Suspension.
Under any local ordinance, Possession of Marijuana can ONLY be punished by a Sentence of up to 93 days in Jail, a Fine of up to $500, and the same 6-month Suspension of the Driver’s License, with the same availability of a Restricted License after 30 days of what’s called a “hard Suspension,” meaning no driving is allowed at all.
By far, most Possession of Marijuana cases are brought under a local ordinance, rather than state Law. Under a state Law, and, with the sole exception of Medical Marijuana cardholders, it is illegal to possess Marijuana. Every municipality, however, has the legal authority to enact certain local laws, called ordinances, which prohibit certain things. The explanation is long, but the bottom line is the same: If a city, township or village has an ordinance in place that prohibits certain conduct, and its Police cite someone for violating that ordinance, the municipality gets to assess and keep the Fines. This explains why every municipality has volumes of ordinances that basically repeat what is covered by a similar state law.
This also explains how the City of Detroit, in the November 2012, elections, legalized possession, on private property, of less than one ounce of Marijuana for personal use. While that’s a change to the Detroit ordinance, a person could still be charged with Possession of Marijuana under state law. Beyond all of those considerations, however, the new ordinance won’t cover anyone caught with Marijuana in their car, and that’s where most pot charges begin.
About the only time a person is ever charged with Possession under state law is if they are pulled over by the State Police. The mechanics of handling a Marijuana charge brought under state law is identical to defending one brought under local ordinance. Fortunately, with the right strategy, the outcome can also be identical, as well, and you can walk out of Court with no conviction upon your Record, and a valid, unaffected Driver’s License still in your wallet.
Since 1990, I have saved the Records and Driver’s Licenses of every one of my countless Clients charged with a 1st Offense Possession of Marijuana anywhere in the Tri-County area. If you have a Marijuana Possession charge in any one of the following Courts, you can rest assured that I've been there before, and can do the same for you that I've done for others:
- St. Clair Shores
- Sterling Heights
- Clinton Township
- New Baltimore
- Shelby Township
- Plymouth (covering Northville)
- Oak Park
- Hazel Park
- Farmington Hills
- Royal Oak
- Madison Heights
- Bloomfield Hills
- Dearborn Heights
- Harper Woods
- Grosse Pointe
- Grosse Pointe Park
- Grosse Pointe Farms
- Grosse Pointe Woods
- Grosse Pointe Shores