Possession of Marijuana Defense Lawyers
Serving the Areas of Portland, Augusta, Saco, Bangor and Biddeford, Maine
In Maine, we have Medical Marijuana laws that protect low-end marijuana users who self-medicate their medical issues. However, not everyone has a legitimate medical issue where a medical marijuana card would make sense. Some people just like to smoke marijuana and as we all know, marijuana is the biggest selling recreational drug in Maine and the US. In fact, some Maine communities, such as Portland, have taken the extraordinary step of attempting to legalize marijuana within the city limits.
While medical marijuana and community coalitions to legalize marijuana have met with varied success throughout the country, possession of marijuana without a legitimate medical marijuana card is still illegal in Maine. So, what are the possible ramifications associated with being charged with possession of marijuana?
The answer is, "it depends". Meaning, it depends on how much marijuana is actually in your possession. Anything from 2.5 ounces or less is a civil offense. Anything more than 2.5 ounces is a criminal offense, and the penalties vary greatly based on the amounts.
Civil Possession of Marijuana
In Maine, it is illegal to be in possession of marijuana without a card. However, if you're in possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana or less, it's only a civil charge. That means the State can't put you in jail. They can only assess a fine and technically, you won't have a criminal record if things go poorly in court.
If you are in possession of 1.25 ounces or less of marijuana, a civil fine of no less than $350.00 can be assessed and no more than $600.00 may be imposed as a sanction by the court.
If you are in possession of more than 1.25 ounces of marijuana but no more than 2.5 ounces, a fine of no less than $700.00 may be assessed but no more than $1,000.00. On the high end of the scale, you're looking at a maximum fine of $1,220.00, which includes surcharges. Clearly, smoking marijuana (and getting caught by the police) can be an expensive habit.
Criminal Possession of Marijuana
Anytime you're in possession of more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, you're likely facing criminal charges, if you're busted by the police. The larger amount of marijuana in your possession, the bigger the penalty and the more serious the charge.
- 2.5oz - 8oz marijuana is a class E crime, for which the maximum penalty includes a fine of $1,000.00 and jail time of up to 6 months.
- 8oz - 16oz marijuana is a class D crime, for which the maximum penalty includes a fine of $2,000.00 and jail time of up to 364 days.
- 1+ pound - 20 pounds marijuana is a class C felony, for which the maximum penalty includes a fine of $5,000.00, 5 years in state prison and up to 2 years probation.
- 20+ pounds marijuana is a class B felony, for which the maximum penalty includes a fine of $20,000.00, 10 years in state prison and up to 5 years probation
Consequences of a Marijuana Conviction
Whether you're convicted of a criminal offense or it's adjudicated as a civil offense, possession of marijuana is a drug crime, which will prevent you from receiving federal financial aid when applying to college. On your Federal Student Aid Application, you'll be asked if you've ever been convicted of a drug crime. If the answer is yes, goodbye financial aid. If you lie and answer no andthe feds find out, you're facing felony charges. Don't lie. Better yet, don't end up with a conviction or adjudication.
Another issue that generally remains unspoken is entanglement in the civil forfeiture laws. If the police seize guns, money, drugs, cars, etc., during a search... you may never receive those items back under Maine's civil forfeiture laws. While it's bad enough if you lose your drugs and end up with a conviction. It's even worse if the government seizes your firearms and or cash that's laying around the house. Cash that you worked hard to earn and never deposited in your bank account.