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Indianapolis Marijuana Attorney Fighting Your Drug Charges
Marijuana laws in Indiana are harsher than marijuana laws across the country. While an Indianapolis marijuana attorney will be able to provide you with more detailed information, marijuana can be classified in one of several ways:
- In states like Colorado and Washington, private possession of up to 1 oz. by persons 21 or older carries no penalty.
- Possession penalties vary by amount from state to state, but punishment is usually not severe, as maximum fines are just a few hundred dollars.
- The use of marijuana without a medical prescription is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the state and gravity of the offense.
- A state where marijuana use or possession is considered illegal carries the harshest punishment, with potential jail time and fines.
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Marijuana Laws in Indiana
In Indiana, marijuana is classified as an illegal substance. It is categorized as a Schedule I drug, which the DEA classifies as the most dangerous drug with no medical value. Other drugs in this class include LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. Indianapolis marijuana defense lawyer Chris Eskew has a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system in Indiana and can help you get your charges dismissed or dropped.
Possession of Marijuana in Indianapolis
Possession of marijuana as a first time offender is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. These carry a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000. For subsequent offenses of possession of fewer than 30 grams, crimes are labeled as a Class A misdemeanor, which has a maximum sentence of one year and a fine of up to $5,000. For those who have a prior drug conviction and are found to be in possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, a Level 6 felony charge is possible, carrying a potential sentence of six months to 2.5 years, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000.
Sale or Distribution
Selling or growing marijuana is classified as a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant is selling fewer than 30 grams. Any subsequent convictions are categorized as Level 6 felonies. Selling between 30 grams and 10 pounds of marijuana is punishable as a Level 6 felony.
The sale of more than 10 pounds of marijuana, or the sale of any amount to a minor, is punishable by one to six years in prison and fines up to $10,000. This is a Level 5 felony.
Importantly, you can be charged with dealing with marijuana even if police officers do not observe a direct sale. However, unless the amount of marijuana exceeds 10 pounds, the government must present additional evidence of your intent to “manufacture, finance the manufacture of, deliver, or finance the delivery of the drug.” For example, the government may present evidence that you possessed scales, packaging materials, a ledger, or introduce statements you made to detectives indicating you possessed the marijuana for the purpose of distribution. This is considered possession with intent to distribute, and is the same charge as an actual hand-to-hand deal.
Hash, Hash Oil, and Hashish
Possession and distribution of marijuana concentrate carry stiff penalties in Indiana, as well.
- Possession of hash, hash oil, or hashish, or the manufacture of fewer than five grams, is a Class A misdemeanor for first time offenders.
- Possession of more than two grams, subsequent offenses, or the manufacture of 5 to 300 grams of marijuana concentrates is a Level 6 felony.
- The sale or distribution of over 300 grams, or any amount sold to a minor, is classified as a Level 5 felony.
In the state of Indiana, it is considered unlawful to possess, distribute, or manufacture drug paraphernalia. In this context, paraphernalia is anything other than rolling papers that is used for the following purposes:
- Introducing a controlled substance into a person’s body;
- Testing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance; or
- Enhancing the effect of a controlled substance.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a Class C misdemeanor and may result in up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Subsequent convictions are categorized as Class A misdemeanors and may result in one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
The sale of drug paraphernalia is a Class A infraction unless the person engaging in the sale knowingly sold marijuana paraphernalia. In that case, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor. A subsequent offense is graded as a Level 6 felony. A Level 6 felony carries a possible punishment of up to 2.5 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defenses to Indianapolis Marijuana Charges
Indianapolis weed laws are relatively tough, and it’s easy to give up hope after police officers arrest you for a marijuana offense. However, there are defenses to drug crimes. An Indianapolis marijuana defense attorney can help you identify which makes the most sense in your situation.
Challenging Illegally Obtained Evidence
One of the most common defenses in marijuana cases involves challenging the evidence the government plans to use against you. In almost all marijuana cases, this consists of the marijuana itself, as well as any paraphernalia for using or selling the drug. As a general rule, police officers cannot search or seize you or your property without justification. Depending on the situation, the right to curtail your freedom requires either reasonable suspicion or probable cause that you committed a crime depending on the level of intrusion. Thus, if a police officer pulls you over for speeding, they cannot automatically search your car unless they have probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime inside your car. The odor of marijuana probably causes one to believe there will be evidence of a crime. One exception to the probable cause requirement is if you consent to a search. Once you consent to a search, the officer does not need to have any other legal authority to search—your consent is enough.
Before a judge or jury can convict you of a marijuana offense, the government must prove you “possessed” the drugs. In some cases, such as when an officer removes marijuana from your pocket, it’s safe for them to claim you possessed it. However, if an officer recovered marijuana from a vehicle containing multiple occupants, it is less clear. In this situation, the prosecution must prove that you had the ability and intent to maintain “dominion and control” over the drugs. Necessarily, this requires that you knew of the marijuana’s existence in the vehicle. While this is a common defense in marijuana cases following a traffic stop, it can also apply in the sale or distribution of marijuana cases involving sales made from a “stash location.”
Contact an Indianapolis Marijuana Lawyer for a Consultation
Though Indiana’s laws regarding marijuana use are harsh, the right legal defense can give you the best result possible. If this is your first offense, you may be able to obtain a “conditional release.” This is essentially a free pass – you may be required to do community service or attend a drug abuse class, but the offense will not go on your criminal record.
If you are seeking counsel for repeated offenses, the right Indianapolis criminal charges defense lawyer can work with you to enter a plea to negotiate a lesser sentence or fee than the maximum allowed by law. It is important to retain counsel as soon as possible.
- Indiana General Assembly
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