Any arrest for marijuana possession is a reason for concern, even when the amount of marijuana involved is small enough to only merit misdemeanor charges. People should never assume that a marijuana offense only being a misdemeanor means that the arrest will not be consequential later on.
Misdemeanor marijuana arrests are incredibly common because many people do not carry large amounts of marijuana on their person, but it is important for all alleged offenders to remember the damaging effects of a criminal record if they are convicted of these offenses. It is always best to examine the circumstances surrounding the arrest to see if there may be a way to fight the criminal charges.
Were you arrested for alleged misdemeanor marijuana possession in the Columbus area? It will be in your best interest to quickly contact Sabol | Mallory to discuss your case and see what options you might have.
Our firm has more than two decades of experience defending people against all kinds of marijuana charges, and we know how to help people achieve desirable outcomes to their cases. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online today to set up a free consultation that will let us look at your case and begin developing the strongest defense options.
Ohio Revised Code § 3719.01(M) defines “marihuana” as meaning “all parts of a plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds of a plant of that type; the resin extracted from a part of a plant of that type; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of a plant of that type or of its seeds or resin.” The term does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oils or cake made from the seeds of the plant, or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, except the resin extracted from the mature stalks, fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination.
"Marihuana" does not include "hemp" or a "hemp product." Ohio Revised Code § 928.01(C) defines hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than three-tenths per cent on a dry weight basis.” Under Ohio Revised Code § 928.01(F), hemp product is defined as “any product, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than three-tenths per cent, that is made with hemp. "Hemp product" includes cosmetics, personal care products, dietary supplements or food intended for animal or human consumption, cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard, and any other product containing one or more cannabinoids derived from hemp, including cannabidiol.”
Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11 establishes that no person can knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11(C)(3)(b), if the amount of marijuana involved equals or exceeds 100 grams but is less than 200 grams, possession of marihuana is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. When a person possesses less than 100 grams, the crime is a minor misdemeanor.
Keep in mind that marijuana possession may be either actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession relates to when marijuana is found on the actual person of an alleged offender, such as in their hands or pockets. With actual possession, no other person will have had equal access to the drugs.
Constructive possession relates to drugs being found in a location over which an alleged offender had control, even if they did not directly possess the drugs. Marijuana found in a glove compartment could be constructive possession for the owner of the motor vehicle.
Actual possession cases are typically harder to fight than constructive possession. A misdemeanor marijuana arrest based on constructive possession may still allow an alleged offender to claim that the marijuana actually belonged to a different person.
The possible sentences that people can receive if convicted for misdemeanor marijuana possession crimes may include the following:
● Minor Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $150
● Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $250
While the punishments listed above do not sound as extreme as the possible years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines people face for felonies, it is important to remember that misdemeanors can have many other negative consequences that affect alleged offenders down the line. Long after fines are paid and cases are closed, misdemeanors can still haunt people for several years.
Misdemeanor convictions can negatively impact numerous public benefits, including public housing and housing vouchers. You could also see student loans, grants, work assistance, and welfare benefits impacted by a misdemeanor conviction.
Convictions for drug crimes also prevent people in Ohio from being able to purchase firearms. Licensed professionals can run the risk of having their licenses suspended or revoked, and people seeking professional licenses may see their opportunities declined because of misdemeanor convictions.
One of the most prominent areas of trouble created by misdemeanor convictions is related to jobs. Individuals searching for employment may have to disclose their convictions and be declined employment offers.
In other cases, some people may lose jobs because of misdemeanor convictions. Still others can experience hardship getting promotions because of their criminal records.
Immigrants also need to be especially mindful of the consequences of misdemeanor convictions, as some immigrants could lose their legal status and face possible deportation measures in some cases. Misdemeanor convictions can disqualify immigrants from receiving United States visas or green cards.
Collateral Consequences of Conviction Project - American Bar Association (ABA) — The Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC) is an online catalog of over 45,000 federal and state statutes and regulations that impose collateral consequences on persons convicted of crimes. In Ohio alone, there are 1,250 different consequences of a criminal conviction. You can view the National Summit Brochure and articles on EEOC criminal record guidance one year later, FCRA applied to criminal records, one strike and you're out, Reentry Council Collateral Consequences, and "Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work."
A Misdemeanor Conviction Is Not a Big Deal, Right? Think Again — View an April 2014 Time magazine story about Christian Watts, a 31-year-old who was working for a Las Vegas limousine service when he connected a friend with someone who had a supply of MDMA, or ecstasy, and was charged with felony possession. At the advice of his lawyers, he pleaded the conviction down to a misdemeanor, and served no jail time. The district judge that sentenced Watts told him in 2011 the only way to clear it would be to be granted a presidential pardon, even as he praised Watts for working hard to bounce back. “I constantly have to prove I’m not the bad guy this piece of paper says,” he says. “Felony and misdemeanors have little distinction in the effects on your life. The only real difference is the name.”
State v. Robinson, 103 Ohio App.3d 490 (1995) — On December 10, 1993, David Robinson was arrested and charged with obstructing official business and possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana. Prior to a trial of the charges, Robinson filed with respect to each charge a motion seeking the suppression of evidence seized in a warrantless search of his apartment. The trial court granted Robinson's motion to suppress, and the state of Ohio appealed. The Court of Appeals of Ohio for the First District in Hamilton County ruled that because the Fourth Amendment was implicated by the warrantless, forcible entry of the police officers into Robinson's apartment and that their entry could not be justified under a recognized exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, that the officers violated the Fourth Amendment in gaining the vantage point from which the marijuana in Robinson's shoe could be plainly viewed. Because the officers' warrantless seizure of the marijuana violated the Fourth Amendment, the court held that the trial court properly granted Robinson's motion to suppress and overruled the state's sole assignment of error and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
If you were arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Columbus or a surrounding area of Ohio, you are going to want to try to fight the criminal charges. Sabol | Mallory represents clients throughout Franklin County and we help residents of Ohio as well as visitors.
Our firm is dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome to your case and we will work tirelessly to get your criminal charges dismissed. You can have us look at your full case and discuss everything with you as soon as you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.