Will My Los Angeles Marijuana Possession Charge be an Infraction?

When you have been arrested and charged with the possession of marijuana, the amount of marijuana you have in your possession will help determine how you will be charged.

If you have less than one ounce in your possession, you will be charged under California Health and Safety Code 11357(b). This code section states in relevant part:

“Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100)” An infraction is generally just a fine. There is no probation, or community service, or rehabilitation classes. An infraction is similar to a traffic ticket. It does not go on your permanent criminal record and rarely has to be disclosed on employment or education applications.

If you had in your possession more than an ounce of marijuana, you will be charged under California Health and Safety Code 11357(c), which reads as follows:

“Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment” Unlike the prior statute, the second statute provides a range for sentencing. Unlike infractions, possession charges that are misdemeanors often include probation, rehabilitation classes, community service, and fines. The exact sentence will vary from case to case as the Judge will take into account the facts of the case and the person’s prior criminal history.  For example, if a person has two prior marijuana possession convictions, they may be facing some jail time, or if a person had a significant amount of marijuana in their possession, then they might be facing some jail time.

Regardless of the charges, there are available defenses. One such defense is if you hold a valid marijuana prescription. If you are legally able to have marijuana in your possession, and have a valid prescription, there is a strong chance to have your case dismissed.  If you are facing potential marijuana possession charges, it is important that you speak to an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Offense lawyer immediately. There is a very big difference between a misdemeanor and an infraction. A misdemeanor goes on your permanent criminal record and will need to be disclosed on all applications. It required potential jail time, rehabilitation classes, probation and possibly a higher fine. An infraction, on the other hand, does not need to be disclosed. It requires a sentence of nothing more than a fine.  It is in your best interest to give yourself the strongest fighting chance to have your case completely dismissed and if not dismissal, then to have the case charged as an infraction so that you face the least possible consequences.