It may seem hard to believe that the state of Alabama would punish someone as harshly for merely possessing a natural product as it does for assault or sexual abuse. But that's what Alabama state law does with its felony marijuana possession statute.
Possession of any amount of marijuana, cannabis, pot or weed that prosecutors decide is more than for what one would consider “personal use” leads to charges of Unlawful Possession of Marihuana in the First Degree. This offense may also be charged to individuals who have been possessing any amount of marijuana and have a previous cannabis conviction on their record. Under either scenario, these are felony charges, with serious consequences. If charged, you should be ready with a solid defense.
Huntsville Felony Marijuana Possession Lawyer
Our defense lawyers at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal are ready to fight your charges of first-degree cannabis possession. We will look for weaknesses in the prosecution's case and mistakes made by police to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor or dismissed outright. We will also help you evaluate your options, like Madison County drug court. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 or send an online message to set up your free consultation with our attorneys to discuss your drug charges.
Our attorneys are experienced and understand the complex nature of Alabama's criminal court system. Both have worked as prosecutors — Andrew Segal for the Alabama Attorney General and Madison County District Attorney, and Sandra Segal at the Huntsville City Attorney's Office — so we both understand the way a prosecutor's mind works and speak their language. We practice with integrity that honors our profession, something jurors, judges, and even prosecutors notice. That goes a long way when we're negotiating to have your felony charges dropped to a misdemeanor.
If you're charged with felony marijuana possession anywhere in the Huntsville-Decatur area, including Madison, Morgan, Marshall, Limestone or Jackson County, call us today.
Alabama's Felony Marijuana Possession Laws
- Felony vs. Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession
- Repercussions and Penalties After Conviction
- Defenses to Huntsville Felony Marijuana Possession Charges
- Defending Clients Against Felony Marijuana Charges in Madison County
Marijuana is the only controlled substance in Alabama for which you might be charged with a misdemeanor. Alabama code allows for a misdemeanor charge if a person is accused of possessing only enough cannabis for “personal use.”
If law enforcement believes that you possess for other than your personal use you could be charged with possession for other than personal use or the more serious charge of possession with the intent to distribute. If someone was in possession of more than 2.2 pounds or one kilo, it becomes the felony charge of trafficking under Alabama Code with mandatory sentences of prison.
The law does not define “personal use” or say how much constitutes an amount of personal use, leaving it up to prosecutors to argue whether the amount should lead to felony or misdemeanor charges. Generally, the prosecutors will look to the quantity and the packaging of the marijuana. Prosecutors can argue that any amount was not for personal use, saying it was for distribution or other purposes, leading to a felony accusation.
“Possession” does not necessarily have to mean the pot was on your person. Prosecutors can argue for “constructive possession,” meaning the cannabis was somewhere that was under your control. This means if they found it in the glove compartment of your car, in a drawer in your home or in luggage in a bus compartment, they can still charge you with possession.
Unlawful Possession of Marijuana in the First-Degree can be punished as either a class C or a class D felony. This is because under Alabama law there are two ways this crime can be committed and depending on the manner in which the crime was committed the punishment will be different. Possession of marijuana in the First-Degree can occur when a person is in possession of marijuana for “other than personal use”. In other words, a person who is stopped and has a single joint of marijuana but tells the police officer that he is going to share it with his friends could be charged with felony possession because the use is for other than his own personal use. This type of marijuana in the first charge is treated as a class C felony and it carries a range of punishment from one year and a day in prison up to 10 years in prison. The other way in which a person can be convicted of possession of marijuana in the First-Degree is if they are found in possession of any amount of marijuana and they have a prior conviction for possession of marijuana. Alabama law treats this as a class D felony in the range of punishment is from one year and a day to five years in prison.
If charged with felony possession, you may be eligible for drug court or pretrial intervention programs. Both the drug court and the pretrial intervention program are rehabilitation programs. Once finished, your charges will be dismissed, meaning you won't have a felony conviction on your record. You may not be able to go through these programs if you have prior convictions or pending charges of violent crimes or sex crimes.
An experienced marijuana lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for either the drug court program or the pretrial intervention program, and whether it's your best option.
Just at the prosecutor can argue that any amount constitutes more than the amount required for personal use, your Madison County criminal defense attorney can argue that any amount does constitute an amount for personal use. The prosecutor must prove his or her case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a high standard. The defense attorney could find weaknesses in the case and seek to have the charges reduced to a misdemeanor or dismissed.
In order to charge you for possession, police generally have to actually find cannabis. To do that, they usually have to conduct some kind of search. An experienced marijuana defense lawyer can discover how police failed to meet reasonable suspicion or probable cause standards and have that evidence thrown out.
If you've been charged with felony marijuana possession, let the experienced marijuana possession defense lawyers at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal fight for your rights. We'll seek to get charged reduced or dismissed, and will argue your case to the jury if you plead “not guilty.” We'll also help you explore options like pretrial intervention or drug court. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 or send an online message for a free consultation to go over your charges.