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Posted on in Drug Charges

Connecticut defense attorneyIn Connecticut, marijuana possession is unlawful and can result in fines and even jail time. Fortunately, there are a variety of defenses that can be raised to counter these types of charges, so if you live in Norwalk and have been arrested for or formally charged with possession of marijuana or another drug, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can explain your legal options.

Possession of Less Than Half Ounce

The severity of a marijuana possession charge depends on how much of the drug was found on the defendant’s person and whether he or she has a prior criminal record. For instance, those who are arrested with less than half an ounce of marijuana will only be charged a $150 fine for a first offense, while the fine for a subsequent offense increases to between $200 and $500. Third-time violators must pay for, attend, and complete a drug education class. Those who are under the age of 21 years old will also have their driver’s license suspended for two months.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

drug crimes, school zone, Connecticut drug crimes defense lawyerLike any drug charge, at either the federal or state level, facing a drug charge in Connecticut can be devastating and have long-term effects that extend into multiple areas of a person’s life for years to come. Until very recently, however, the state had some of the most draconian drug laws in the country, eased only last year. The recently relaxed laws pertain to small possession charges of marijuana, and equalize punishment and criminal severity of cocaine and crack cocaine—for decades, crack cocaine was a much more severe charge resulting in higher fines and longer jail time. The bill included the stipulation that all felony drug possession charges would be reduced to Class A misdemeanors. It also expanded parole laws, allowing for a prisoner to be considered for release on parole after an evaluation but before having a proper hearing, providing that he or she was not convicted of a violent crime and is not familiar with the victim of the crime (ie: a person convicted of domestic violence or spousal battery would not be eligible for early release without a proper hearing).

Drug-Free School Zones

Another bombshell provision in the drug laws provided by this bill—“An Act Concerning a Second Chance Society”—reduced the scope of the crime regarding drug possession within 1,500 feet of a school or day care center to the possession of drugs on the grounds, instead. The law also reduced the penalty of possession near a school or day care to a Class E felony. Drug-free zone laws were first introduced in 1970, a full decade-plus before President Reagan officially used the term “War on Drugs,” though this law is certainly considered a major cornerstone of those concerted efforts. The idea was to protect children, or to shield them, from increased drug activity in these so-called drug-free zones, and included not only schools but also public parks. Anyone caught dealing or using drugs in such a zone faced significantly more severe punishments, both monetarily and regarding prison time.

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marijuana possession, smoking a joint, Stamford criminal lawyer, Connecticut drug possession lawWhether you already have a criminal record or whether a marijuana drug possession charge is your first offense, you should take your case seriously and hire a criminal attorney. In Connecticut, there are several different types of charges you might be facing if you are caught with marijuana. The only individuals approved for marijuana use in Connecticut are those who carry a medical marijuana certificate.

If you are arrested with less than 4 ounces of marijuana, you could be facing a fine of $1,000 and you could even be sentenced to up to a year in jail. Any case involving higher quantities of marijuana can have more severe consequences.

Even young adults can face penalties if caught with marijuana: for possession of less than 5 ounces or possession of drug paraphernalia related to less than 5 ounces of marijuana, a juvenile 16 years old or younger will have their license suspended for at least 60 days, or in the case they don't yet have a license, receiving it can be delayed up to 150 days. Youth aged 17-21 will face fines and driver’s license suspension as well. Juveniles may also need to attend drug counseling and complete a certain number of community service hours.

Some people are under the impression that a marijuana drug charge isn’t a big deal beyond the fine or handful of days in jail. Being convicted, however, can be problematic in the future if you apply for a job. Certain employers have a zero tolerance policy for hiring someone with drug charges in their past, and a simple review of your background check will reveal the truth. In addition, your insurance premiums for your car and homeowner’s policy can increase once the insurance company is aware of your conviction. There are far-reaching consequences to being charged with marijuana possession, and even one charge could have implications well into your future. If you have been charged with marijuana or paraphernalia possession, you should contact an experienced Connecticut drug possession attorney to manage your case. You need someone fighting for you and your future.