In Alabama if you are arrested with marijuana, your charge can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. Obviously, a felony is much more serious than a misdemeanor. A signification difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the length of time in which you can be sentenced to jail. Misdemeanor convictions are punished by less than a year in jail. Felony convictions can be punished by more than a year in jail. the fines are much higher for felonies too.
Possession of Marijuana 2nd
This is a Class A misdemeanor charge where by you are in possession of marijuana for personal use. Some people even call this a simple possession charge. Furthermore, Alabama does not have safe harbor provision allowing someone to legally possess a small amount. In other words, you can even be charged if you only have a small amount of pot. With this charge you are begin charged with the possession or “control or dominion” over the marijuana. Your punishment varies based on whether the charge is pending in State Court or Municipal Court. However, both courts list the charge as a Class A misdemeanor.
Municipal Misdemeanor Penalties
- Up to six months in jail
- Up to a $500 fine plus court costs
State Misdemeanor Penalties
- Up to a year in jail
- Up to a $6,000 fine plus court cost
How to I know if my case is in Municipal Court or District Court?
There are several ways in which determine which court your charge is pending.
- Obviously, the easiest is to look on any paperwork that you were given and it will have either municipality or district as party in the caption of the case. This will be listed on the complaint at the top of the page. It as a word municipality or city in the party description, then you case will be pending in a city court. However, if one of the parties is listed the State of Alabama, then your case is pending in District Court and is subject to the more severe state court penalties.
- Another way to determine if your case is in district or municipal court is from the type of officer that arrested. If a city officer arrested you than more than likely your charge will be pending in the municipal court. If a state trooper or sheriff arrested you, your charge will be pending in state court.
Felony Marijuana Charge
If you have a prior conviction for marijuana, you may be charge with felony possession of marijuana. This a a Class C Felony. Possible punishment includes:
- Up to 10 years in jail
- Up to a $15,000 fine plus court cost
- Six-month driver license suspension
Alabama does not have a medical marijuana statute. Furthermore, Alabama does not recognize other states medical marijuana laws. Therefore, having any a prescription for marijuana from another state does not allow you to legally possession marijuana in Alabama nor does it provide you with a valid defense to your charge.
Why Hire a Lawyer to Represent You?
Just as with any other criminal case, you should hire an attorney if you have been charged with marijuana. An attorney maybe able to get the charge reduced to drug paraphernalia which means your license will not get suspended. Also, there may be a option to get deferred prosecution.