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Possession of Marijuana

Marijuana is plant that grows naturally in climates warmer than Iowa. It produces a relatively mild psychotropic effect when used by humans, but is not physiologically addictive, and, according to most studies, is less harmful to the body than alcohol or tobacco. Yet, our government has made it illegal to even possess cannabis or its byproducts, with potential jail time as punishment.

Des Moines Marijuana Possession Lawyer

If you have been arrested or charged with possession of marijuana, don’t go it alone or assume the charges are no big deal. Have a Des Moines marijuana possession lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. fight for your rights. We can seek to have evidence suppressed and seek to have your charges thrown out. You will have zealous, vigorous advocacy with the criminal defense attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to schedule a free consultation.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. is based in West Des Moines represents clients throughout the Des Moines area, including Ankeny, Johnston and anywhere in Polk County or Dallas County, and throughout Iowa.

Actual Possession of Marijuana vs. Constructive Possession in Iowa

Possession can mean the word in the traditional sense — that the suspect physically had pot on their person, in their purse, pocket, bag , the ashtray of their car or other place within reach. This is known as “actual possession.”

However, prosecutors may also argue that the suspect possessed the weed if it was in a place where he or she had exclusive control.  For instance, police search your car and find marijuana in the locked glove compartment. Prosecutors may claim that you are the only person with access to that glove compartment, and therefore the marijuana must be yours. This is called “constructive possession.”

Prosecutors may argue constructive possession if the pot is found anywhere where they can argue only you had access or control, including in your luggage, in the trunk of your car or in a dresser drawer in your room.

Polk County Cannabis Possession Penalties

Marijuana is the most popular controlled substance. The Iowa legislature, taking this into consideration, makes marijuana possession penalties slightly less punitive than other illegal narcotics.

A first offense can result in jail time up to a year and a fine of up to $1,000. The second offense can lead to time in prison of up to two years and a fine of $1,875. The third, or any subsequent offense, can mean prison for up to two years and a fine of up to $6,275.

Additionally, you’ll have marijuana charges on your permanent criminal record. While that may not seem like such a big deal, many employers have certain prejudices against people who use cannabis. It may also affect your ability to get into the college or university of your dreams, or obtain financial aid or student loans.

Fighting Marijuana Possession Charges in Des Moines

It is important to remember that in every criminal case, including misdemeanors like marijuana possession, the prosecutor must prove every element of their case beyond reasonable doubt. This means they must prove their case so that the jurors are completely sure that, save some entirely improbable scenario, everything they say is true.

The defense attorney doesn’t have to prove anything. He can, however, show the reasonable doubt in your case. For instance, if the case involved constructive possession, your lawyer could show how others may have had access to where the weed allegedly was.

Additionally, your Des Moines marijuana defense attorney can move to suppress any illegally obtained evidence. Evidence, usually the marijuana itself, is usually found as a result of a search or pat down, and police must show they had probable cause or reasonable suspicion to conduct that search or pat down. If they cannot, the evidence may be inadmissible, leaving prosecutors with little choice but to drop the charges.

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

If you face charges for marijuana possession, don’t just accept that you will have to deal with the consequences. A Des Moines marijuana possession lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can help you fight the charges. We have more than 40 years of combined legal experiences, and we’ll put that to work for you. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation.