Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession Charges in St. Louis, MO
The current way in which the state of Missouri divides the level of severity for a St. Louis marijuana possession charge is through a basic measurement of the amount of the substance you are caught with. Specifically, if you are caught with less than 35 grams of marijuana, then it is described as a Class A Misdemeanor; if you are caught with more than 35 grams, it is a Class C Felony. But if you are caught with less than 10 grams, it is a Class D Misdemeanor (so long as you have never been convicted of a prior drug-related crime).
WE KEEP OUR FEES LOW SO THAT EVERYONE CAN HAVE LEGAL REPRESENTATION
For those familiar with weights and measurements, 35 grams of anything is not very much. It equates to about 1.23 ounces. Or about two and half tablespoons. So the police do not have to find you in possession of much in order to slap a felony level charge on you. And once it reaches the Class C Felony level, you will be facing a potential sentence of up to seven (7) years of jail or prison time and a $5,000 fine.
$450 TO TAKE CARE OF MOST ST LOUIS MO MISDEMEANOR MARIJUANA CHARGES
If the amount we are talking about is less than 35 grams, then it is a Class A Misdemeanor (although starting January 1, 2017, less than 10 grams will be a Class D Misdemeanor). This level of misdemeanor carries a potential jail time of up to one (1) year and a fine of $1,000. The penalty is clearly less than that of the felony level, but it still packs quite a punch.
PLEADING GUILTY IS NOT YOUR BEST OPTION!!
The biggest mistake that people make when charged with either a misdemeanor or felony for marijuana possession in St. Louis is to plead guilty. Why is that the biggest mistake you could make? Because once you enter a plea of guilty, that’s it. No “do overs”. No going back to correct that mistake. It will become a part of your permanent record as a drug conviction. And once it is on your record, anybody who is interested in taking a look at your record can see it. For example, if you apply for a job in the future, your employer will undoubtedly run a criminal background check (which will likely result in you being screened out as a candidate); or if you try to rent an apartment, the landlord will run the same kind of check (and reject your application); or if you try to renew your governmental benefits (like food stamps or public housing vouchers), the drug conviction on your record will prevent you from drawing these benefits.
So what should you do instead? Very simple: contact an experienced attorney (even if you do not get in touch with us, you should call a good lawyer to learn your rights!!) A St. Louis criminal defense lawyer can examine all the pertinent facts surrounding your particular case to see if there are any viable defenses that might be asserted on your behalf (in an attempt to get the charges dismissed). And at the very least, a good attorney can work closely with the local prosecutor to perhaps secure a reduction on the charge to a lesser offense (like “littering,” which is an infraction that does not even show up on your record). And that is far better than the negative outcome described above!!
The affordable St. Louis marijuana possession criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken, have been helping people with their misdemeanor charges for over ten (10) years. Our goal is to make sure that the charges leveled against you do not stay on your permanent record, and do any lasting damage. And we want to do all of this at an affordable price. The fees for a typical misdemeanor case start at $450. But the initial consultation to discuss your legal issues is free of charge. So contact us today!!