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Possession of Marijuana

Getting Caught With a Small Bag of Weed In West Virginia

Newsflash: possession of marijuana for recreational use is still illegal in West Virginia.  Nationwide, 10 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use.  Thirty-three states allow medical marijuana.  While West Virginia has taken steps to permit the medical use of marijuana, recreational use is still a crime.

What are the penalties for simple possession of marijuana?

Under West Virginia law, marijuana is a Schedule I drug.  W.Va. Code § 60A-2-204(d).  For the first offense, a person may be “confined in jail not less than ninety days nor more than six months, or fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both.”  W.Va. Code § 60A-4-401(c).

What is a conditional discharge?

If a person has never previously been convicted of any drug offense, W.Va. Code § 60A-4-407(a) permits a court to defer entering a judgment and place the person on probation.  If the person successfully completes probation, the case will be dismissed and discharged and it restores the person to the status he or she held prior to being arrested.

Importantly, “[n]o person as to whom a dismissal and discharge have been effected shall be thereafter held to be guilty of perjury, false swearing, or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his or her failure to disclose or acknowledge his or her arrest or trial in response to any inquiry made of him or her for any purpose.”  Hence, if you receive a conditional discharge, you cannot later be charged with perjury or giving a false statement if you fail to disclose your previous arrest.

Do I need an attorney for a simple possession charge?

It is always a good idea to get an attorney when you have been charged with any crime.  An attorney can guide you through the court system and provide advice along the way.  Moreover, all marijuana charges are not equal.  Charges such as possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and possession with the intent to produce or grow marijuana are felonies that carry stiff penalties.

Barney Law PLLC has experience defending clients who have been charged with possession of marijuana and other controlled substances.  Feel free to call us at 304-932-8775 to discuss the specifics of your case.