Tell Us About Your Case

How would you like to be contacted?

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

* All fields are required.

Marijuana Defense

There may not be a better example of the futility of the War on Drugs than the massive efforts spent to incarcerate people for the possession, distribution and cultivation of a plant that an Iowan can grow in their house with little effort: Marijuana.

The mere possession of cannabis is illegal in Iowa, banned by both state and federal government. There are even harsher penalties for distribution, cultivation and trafficking. If you've been arrested and charged with any crime pertaining to pot or weed, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges and keep your freedom.

Des Moines Marijuana Lawyer

At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we have four decades of combined legal experience we can put to work for you, defending you against any kind of cannabis charge. A Des Moines marijuana lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can challenge the prosecution's evidence, seeking to get your charges dropped or reduced. We will fight for you, whether you face possession, sale, cultivation or any other charge. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation.

Our attorneys represent clients facing marijuana charges throughout Polk County and Dallas County, including in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny or Johnston. We may also represent those facing marijuana charges across Iowa.


Iowa Marijuana Crimes Information Center


Back to Top

Federal Marijuana Charges in Iowa

The federal government prosecutes crimes that cross state and international borders, like human trafficking, and crimes that utilize federal systems, like mail fraud. For those crimes, there is a clear role for the federal government. Prohibiting a plant that grows naturally and its use does not have any apparent reason for falling under federal purview. However, the federal government has decided to take on that role by banning marijuana.

The Federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits the sale, cultivation, and even possession of cannabis. It is not only illegal, but also listed under Schedule I, a list of drugs that Congress determined to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse, despite studies that have shown marijuana's value in combating the effects of glaucoma and other conditions.

The Drug Enforcement Agency, a federal agency devoted to drug laws, can prosecute anyone for any violation of the Controlled Substances Act, including possession. However, it is more common for the DEA and other federal agents to pursue trafficking.

Trafficking is supposed to involve cartels and other high-level organizations. However, federal law determines trafficking by intent to distribute or cultivate and the amount possessed. These charges have heavy mandatory minimum sentences.

If convicted of trafficking 1,000 kilograms of marihuana or any substance with a detectable amount of marihuana or 1,000 marijuana plants, you will face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a $4 million fine — and that's for a first conviction. For 100 or more kilograms or 100 or more plants, you will face a minimum sentence of five years and a minimum fine of $2 million.

If you face federal marijuana charges, your lawyer must be licensed in federal court. Our defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. are licensed and experienced in defending against federal charges.


Back to Top

Cannabis Charges in Polk County

Iowa law prohibits the possession of marijuana. However, marijuana laws are slightly more lax than they are for possession of other narcotics. Any charge for simple possession is a misdemeanor. However, punishment gets worse for every charge for which you are convicted.

A first conviction results in jail time of up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. A second offense carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,875. Any subsequent offense could result in up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6,250.

Possession with the intent to distribute marijuana carries significantly greater penalties. The charges are felonies. The extent of the potential punishment depends on the amount of marijuana police can prove you possessed, but you can face up to 25 years in jail for possession with intent to distribute. If you are charged with sale to a minor, there is a minimum sentence of five years.

The charges for cultivation of marijuana are the same as for sale. If you run a growhouse or are growing plants using hydroponic equipment, you could face felony charges and significant penalties.

It is also a crime to possess any paraphernalia used to smoke pot, like bongs or water pipes.


Back to Top

Defenses to Des Moines Marijuana Charges

In most marijuana cases, the pot itself is the primary evidence. The marijuana was usually found by police in a search or pat-down, also called a "frisk." To conduct a search, police need to show they had probable cause, and often must secure a warrant. For a pat-down, they must show reasonable suspicion, a lesser standard.

If prosecutors cannot show that police had sufficient cause to search, the evidence that was collected as a result may be inadmissible. Your Des Moines criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress to keep the evidence out. Without this key evidence, the charges might be dropped, possibly before ever going to trial.

Our lawyers will argue vigorously in your defense. The prosecutor must prove all elements beyond reasonable doubt. We will work to show the reasonable doubt that exists in your case.


Back to Top

Iowa Marijuana Defense Resources

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws: This is a national organization dedicated to representing people who smoke marijuana responsibility and reforming laws surrounding cannabis. Our attorneys are members of NORML's Legal Committee.

Iowa NORML: This is the state affiliate of NORML, dedicated to lobbying the Iowa Legislature and other entities within the state for marijuana reform.


Back to Top

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. | Polk County Cannabis Attorney

If you are facing federal or state marijuana charges, don't go it alone. Have an experienced Des Moines marijuana  lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. fighting for you. We will challenge the prosecutor's evidence and seek to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation.


Tell Us About Your Case

How would you like to be contacted?

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

* All fields are required.

Our Office

1200 Valley West Drive
Suite 400
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Map and Directions

Proud Members Of

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National College for DUI Defense Iowa State Bar Association National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Testimonials

" Aaron, words cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I am of you/your firm, for all you did in my legal matter these past few months. Today was a great day. I think you for your professionalism/tenacity in getting my case suppressed/dismissed! Thank You Very Much. "

-M.H.

" I want to again thank you both for the deft, calm and professional manner in which you handled my case. Legal competence is often lacking these days, but you folks are truly skilled in representing a client, at least in my book. You made a potentially horrible situation bearable. I would highly recommend you to anyone, should that situation present itself. "

-Greg R.

" I just wanted to thank you for representing me in my criminal case. Honestly, I probably wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for you! So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! "

-Jamie H. Read More ›
Learn More ›