Given the cultural shift about marijuana in the last decade, more people seem less concerned about the legal implications of getting charged with a marijuana crime. Although some states have legalized the plant for adult use, Pennsylvania is not one of them.
It is still a criminal offense to get caught in possession of marijuana, even if it is for personal use. Although first time offenders may be eligible for probation instead of jail, the criminal record associated with a conviction or guilty plea could completely change the course of a young person’s life. College could become a distant dream.
If your high school or college student has been charged with marijuana possession, you need legal help. You don’t want to leave your child’s future to an overworked public defender. You need an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to help give your child the best chance for a positive outcome. Once you have shared the details of the arrest and charges to your attorney, you can explore all the options for defense. With the right attorney, there could be a number of options available, from contesting the inclusion of certain evidence to questioning the validity of the police encounter itself.
Pennsylvania’s penalties aren’t that harsh, but life with a conviction can be
There are many states with penalties for marijuana possession that are much harsher than the penalties in Pennsylvania. However, that doesn’t mean that the charges won’t cause major issues for your child. A conviction or guilty plea can haunt your child for years. Even if your child is accused of simple possession, pleading guilty will mean losing out on all federal student aid.
Drug convictions can also make it difficult to secure a good job or find a place to live. Employers and landlords are typically wary of anyone who has a drug-related criminal history, due to potential liability and property damage.
The actual penalties in Pennsylvania aren’t too steep. Possession of 30 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and a fine of $500. Possession of more than 30 grams, also a misdemeanor, carries up to a year in jail and a fine of as much as $5,000. However, both of those penalties come with a criminal record that can keep your child from finishing school or getting a good job in the future.
An attorney can protect your child’s future
Even simple misdemeanor marijuana possession charges can irrevocably change your child’s life. From the inability to get federal student aid to issues with housing and employment, a simple possession charge can often cause major problems. The best way to push for a positive outcome to this situation is to work with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney. Call for help as soon as you know your child is facing criminal charges.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001