More and more states have relaxed their laws regarding marijuana, but unfortunately, Alabama has not caught up. Despite growing evidence that marijuana is less addictive and more medically beneficial than authorities believed decades ago, our state continues to treat marijuana possession, distribution and cultivation as a dangerous crime. We defend clients throughout Alabama who are charged with:
- Possession of marijuana for personal use
- Possession of marijuana for other than personal use
- Possession or use of drug paraphernalia
- Unlawful distribution of marijuana
- Unlawful manufacture (cultivation) in the first or second degree
- Sale of marijuana to a minor
- Trafficking of marijuana
- Juvenile marijuana crimes
- Federal marijuana crimes
Steep Penalties for Marijuana Crimes
As a member of NORML and a professional criminal defense attorney, we know the criminal penalties for marijuana possession are often far disproportionate to the crime. In the State of Alabama, possession of marijuana for personal use only (second-degree marijuana possession) is a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to a year in prison, whereas possession of marijuana with intent to distribute is a Class C felony carrying one to ten years in prison. The penalties for more serious marijuana crimes can be even higher. Those convicted also face:
- Thousands of dollars in fines.
- A mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension.
- Confiscation of your property.
- Professional consequences, including loss of job opportunities and some licenses.
- A drug conviction on your record that makes any future charge more serious.
- After a felony conviction, loss of your right to vote or possess a firearm.
- The social stigma of a criminal record.
The penalties are raised if you happen to be within three miles of a school (including universities) or a public housing project, if there was a firearm or violence involved, or if it’s a repeat offense. And because prosecutors like to “stack” several drug charges together, those convicted may be looking at decades in prison for crimes that could draw just a few years in other jurisdictions. If you’re facing drug charges in Alabama, there’s just too much at stake to go it alone. You need aggressive representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Alabama Marijuana Crime Defense
Because the use of drugs, even safe and private use, carries a deep stigma in our society, law enforcement officers often make mistakes, violate your civil rights or cut corners when building a drug prosecution. We can use these flaws and assumptions to destroy the case against you, getting your charges dropped or substantially reduced. If that’s not possible, he can negotiate with prosecutors to find an acceptable alternative sentence, such as drug court, work-release or probation-only. Those accused of a non-violent marijuana crime have a very good chance of being sentenced to drug court in counties where it exists, including Jefferson and Shelby Counties. The program allows them to avoid a conviction altogether in exchange for passing several drug tests and submitting to treatment.
If it’s appropriate to go to trial in your case, we will argue aggressively for you in court. Law enforcement may assume intent to sell because you had more than an ounce, but in court, they must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Similarly, if you are charged with trafficking, the state must prove that you knew of the marijuana, which can be difficult in cases of “constructive possession” (when the marijuana was not actually in your possession, but assumed to be under your control). Even if you believe the case against you is overwhelming, you should never plead guilty to a marijuana crime in Alabama without understanding all of your options. Call for a free, no-obligation consultation on your case.