If you possess marijuana and do so in a knowing manner that is also unlawful, then you can be charged with criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree. The amount of marijuana that you possess would need to be more than two ounces. This charge is one of two of the misdemeanor charges in New York that relate to marijuana possession.
In the event that you’re in a vehicle that has marijuana inside, you could be charged with this crime because there is evidence that the drug could be yours. However, if the marijuana is found on one person, then that person would be charged instead of everyone in the vehicle. If there is an amount of marijuana in plain view in a room, then you or the person closest to the drug would be charged unless the owner of the drug steps forward or there is more of the drug found on another person in the room.
Police officers see a vehicle that is moving in erratic motions on the road. It’s swerving from one side of the road to another and rounding curves at a high rate of speed. Suspecting that the driver could be under the influence of alcohol or some kind of drug, the officer stops the vehicle. A small bag of marijuana is found in the vehicle in the center console. When the marijuana was weighed, it was about seven ounces, more than the two-ounce requirement to be charged with criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree. The driver would be charged with possession as well as any passengers unless the owner of the drug admitted to owning the marijuana. If the driver is the only person in the car, then he would be charged whether it’s his marijuana or not because it was in his possession at the time.
Some of the related offenses include the criminal sale of marijuana in the fourth degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree. If there are materials with the marijuana that could be used for selling the drug, such as small bags, then possession of drug paraphernalia could be included in the charges that you receive.
There are a few defenses that can be used when you go to court in order to have your charges reduced or your sentence reduced if you are convicted of the crime. One thing that you can do would be to challenge the actual weight of the marijuana that was discovered. If the actual weight was less than two ounces, even by a small amount, then the prosecutor would not be able to charge you with fourth-degree possession. You can argue that the marijuana was discovered during a search that wasn’t lawful. This would occur when police officers find items while performing a search that did not follow the rules. Anything that is found during a search like this is usually not admissible evidence because of the nature that it was found.
Criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree is considered a class A misdemeanor in New York. You could be sentenced to spend up to a year in jail if you’re convicted when you go to court. Another option would be that you’re sentenced to up to three years of probation. This would be the better outcome because you can continue working and providing for your family. However, there are rules that you would need to follow while on probation. The court will look at your background and other details when making a decision about your sentence. A New York drug crimes attorney can offer assistance to try to have your charges reduced so that you don’t spend time in jail.