If you've been arrested on marijuana charges, you may be aware that you'll likely be facing state charges, but you might also face federal charges in some instances. This is because the state and the federal government have separate and distinct laws concerning controlled substances — and federal marijuana charges can be much scarier because potential penalties are more severe and for even smaller amounts of marijuana.
Marijuana Charges in California
California law provides that possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana for personal use carries a $100 fine but no jail time. Possession of more than that amount is classified as a misdemeanor, which carries up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines.
For an intent to distribute more than an ounce of marijuana, defendants could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Delivery or attempted delivery is a felony punishable by between three and seven years' imprisonment, depending upon the buyer's age.
Marijuana Charges as a Federal Crime
Simple possession is a much more serious crime according to the federal government, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, denoting that it is highly addictive and dangerous. Even the smallest amount of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor, which carries the potential of up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for a first offense.
For repeat offenders, the potential penalties increase substantially. A second conviction carries a 15-day mandatory minimum jail sentence with a maximum of up to 2 years prison and a fine of up to $2,500. A third or subsequent offense carries a mandatory 90-day jail sentence with a maximum of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
On the federal level, distribution charges start with potential penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 and go all the way up to a potential life sentence and a fine of up to $10 million.
As you can see, marijuana charges can quickly become quite serious. If you or a loved one is facing federal or state marijuana charges, call the Sigal Law Group today at (818) 325-0570 for a free consultation.
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