3 reasons why you should consult with a criminal lawyer when charged with marijuana possession in Suffolk County New York.
In the last 7-10 years with the advent of medical marijuana, along with social activists promoting the legalization of marijuana, the courts and the District Attorney’s Office have relaxed in aggressively prosecuting such cases. Unlawful marijuana possession is found under Section 221.05 of the New York State Penal Code.
1. Your first offense could easily result in dismissal if handled by the right Suffolk County criminal defense attorney.
The first reason why you want to consult with a criminal lawyer is because many people don’t actually realize that on a first offense of unlawful marijuana possession the person charged with the violation is actually eligible and entitled as a matter of law to what is called an “ACOD,” otherwise known as “an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.”
Basically, this is tantamount to a “dismissal.” Accordingly, the person charged with the violation does not admit any guilt, nor pay any fines, and then in six months the case is then fully dismissed and any reference to the charge is deleted from your personal criminal history. The only catch or hitch is that when the person is granted the ACOD, they must stay out of trouble and refrain from being arrested during the one year ACOS period or the District Attorney’s Office can if they choose to re-docket the original possession charge and continue prosecuting the case.
Ultimately, this is s highly beneficial plea arrangement that equates to a dismissal. Therefore, in order to fully understand your rights and eligibility for an ACOD, it is imperative to contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible when charged with unlawful criminal possession of a controlled substance.
2. Is the lab report valid? Can it be proven?
The second reason why you want to consult with a criminal lawyer is that many times the prosecution does not follow up on the lab report in a timely enough manner that is needed and required by the prosecution in order to prove their case. Therefore, often times the prosecutors are too busy with other bigger and more serious cases and neglect to order the lab report associated with the case.
When the prosecution doesn’t have a valid lab report with a nexus to the specific unlawful controlled substance case then the case gets dismissed as well. Therefore, when an individual is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana it is critical for them to consult with a criminal lawyer because the attorney may be able to pursue a dismissal of the charges based on the prosecution not having a valid and tangible lab report.
3. Know exactly how multiple offenses can affect your criminal record
The third reason to consult with a criminal attorney when charged with unlawful marijuana possession is that often people have “priors,” and because they enjoy marijuana it’s possible that they’ve been charged with this violation a few times. Often in the city courts and crowded district courts, the prosecution offers something like a $100 fine in total if the individual charged pleads guilty to the offense. Although they are pleading guilty to a violation and not a crime it can often have a negative impact on that persons record concerning criminal background searches in connection with employment.
Unlawful Possession of Marijuana is not a crime, but is a violation under Section “220” of the New York State Penal Code which is the Section that covers all of narcotic or drug possession charges. Unfortunately, this comes up on employment background checks and can derail that persons ability to pass a background check and obtain their dream job.
Consulting with the right criminal lawyer when charged with a violation of marijuana can maximize your chances of achieving the best possible disposition in the case.