Arrested for Possessing a Small Amount of Marijuana
While the issuance of criminal court desk appearance tickets may have gone down in light of a re-energized debate as to the wisdom of continued illegality of marijuana, the number of NYC marijuana summonses or pink summonses issued appears to have increased. This occurrence probably has as much to do with the relaxed views on the harmful effects of marijuana as it does with the protestations of the defense bar and others that misdemeanor marijuana arrests were often times predicated on illegal or questionable practice of ordering an arrestee to empty his or her pockets only to be told that upon compliance the marijuana was now “open to public view” thus elevating the charge from a violation to a misdemeanor. Whatever the cause, people who have received a marijuana summons in New York City need to know that they have the right to pursue a result which keeps their criminal records not only conviction-, but also arrest-free. The full text of the statute regarding marijuana violations is below:
§ 221.05 Unlawful possession of marihuana. A person is guilty of unlawful possession of marihuana when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses marihuana. Unlawful possession of marihuana is a violation punishable only by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars. However, where the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense defined in this article or article 220 of this chapter, committed within the three years immediately preceding such violation, it shall be punishable (a) only by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, if the defendant was previously convicted of one such offense committed during such period, and (b) by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars or a term of imprisonment not in excess of fifteen days or both, if the defendant was previously convicted of two such offenses committed during such period.
Most individuals who appear at 346 Broadway for a marijuana summons (pertaining to Manhattan or Brooklyn arrests), 120-55 Queens Boulevard (Queens), 161st Street (Bronx) or on Staten Island do not realize that a far better disposition than a plea to a violation may be reached with the assistance of an attorney. A conviction of a marijuana violation can leave you with a permanent arrest record. Thus, if you have received a summons charging you with marijuana offenses in the greater New York City area, you should appear withcounsel experienced in handling marijuana cases in New York City courts.