It is absolutely amazing to the lawyers, paralegals and staff at the Maddox Law Firm, that there are people of all ages, including teenagers and their parents, who think that a conviction for possession of marijuana isn't a big deal.
The myth that marijuana possession has been decriminalized is just one aspect of the collateral damage caused by the Connecticut legislature when it decided six years ago to make possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana an infraction.
Before you fall victim to that myth, read these five tips about Connecticut marijuana possession.
1) If you're under the age of 18 and are charged with possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana, you're going to court. And your parents are going with you - to juvenile court. There's no mailing in a ticket with a fine. There's a judge and a prosecutor and Juvenile Probation waiting to decide what to do with your juvenile self and for how long.
2) If you're over 18 and are ticketed for possession of less than less than a half ounce of marijuana, you can plead guilty or not guilty by mail, but beware. A conviction will be recorded by DMV for at least two years and it will appear exactly as your guilty plea: Possession of Marijuana.
3) Internships, employers, colleges, sports programs and anyone else who does a background check will find your infraction marijuana conviction. Yes, it's an infraction and not a criminal conviction, but it will be there for all the world to find in plain, simple English.
4) Once the charge grows above a half ounce of marijuana, you're in criminal territory. You're going to court whether you're a juvenile or an adult. If you're an adult, you may qualify for the Drug Education Community Service Labor Program which will put you in fifteen consecutive weekly classes and require you to perform forty hours of community service. Assuming that you jump through the required hoops, you may be granted a dismissal about a year later. If you have a prior record, you may not qualify for this program and you're facing a possible criminal conviction.
5) If you're in a friend's basement, garage, living room or car and there's marijuana within reach, you can be charged with possession of that marijuana. It doesn't matter if you didn't physically put the marijuana there or didn't even know that it was there. The law describes possession as "dominion and control", which doesn't require that you're found actually holding the marijuana.
When you're in a social situation and there's weed around and police show up, your buddies won't have your back. If you think that the person who brought the marijuana is going to "do the right thing" and take the fall, don't hold your breath while you duck your head into the police car.
The Maddox Law Firm is passionate about prevention. There's nothing that we like more than to see young people and their families receive the information and education that they need in order to avoid pitfalls and thrive. We also know, though that people, especially young people, make mistakes. We've been investigating and defending marijuana charges in Connecticut for twenty six years. We protect, advocate, defend young people and their families and guide them toward durable solutions.