More and more states have relaxed their laws regarding marijuana, but unfortunately, Alabama has not caught up. Despite growing evidence that marijuana is less addictive and more medically beneficial than authorities believed decades ago, our state continues to treat marijuana possession, distribution, and cultivation as a dangerous crime.
Our drug crime lawyers defend clients throughout Alabama who are charged with:
According to a report issued by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana was the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States in 2014. The charge of “possession of marijuana with intent to sell” is a serious charge that can result in serious punishment.
Individuals who are faced with this charge often find it critical to employ the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will be able to construct a strong defense in response to the charges. It is also important for individuals in Shelby County who face “possession of marijuana with intent to sell” charges to understand some of the basic elements concerning these types of charges.
In order to understand the requirements to satisfy this type of charge, is important that an individual understands the various definitions that are in play.
First, the term “marijuana” refers to any parts of the cannabis plant from which resin has not been extracted.
Individuals are prohibited from knowingly possessing or using marijuana or possessing marijuana to sell, but the requirements to satisfy an “intent to sell” include several specific categories.
“Intent to sell” is not always gauged according to the amount of marijuana possessed but measured according to the intent to exchange the substance for anything of value or advantage like money.
The distinguishing line between “intent to sell” and “possession” can be difficult, but some of the characteristics that tend to suggest “intent to sell” is when an individual contains a large amount of marijuana which is greater than for an individual’s personal issue.
There are some other behaviors that indicate the intent to sell, which include: the presence of small bags used for packaging drug amounts to sell, a ledger to keep track of sales, large sums of money, phone records regarding marijuana sales, and a scale used to weigh products.
There are available strategies for defending an “intent to sell” charge. Individuals most often attempt to defend an “intent to sell” charge by disproving the intent to sell.
Individuals who are charged with an “intent to sell” offense in the state of Alabama face either prison time or a substantial fine. An individual’s prior criminal history, possession of weapons at the time of the charge, and various other factors will be used as elements to increase the penalties which an individual faces.
It is also worth noting that the task of proving an individual possesses and intends to sell marijuana lies on the prosecution. In an effort to demonstrate this burden, the prosecution often relies on indirect evidence to prove that a person both possessed a drug and wanted to sell or gift the drug as well.
As a result of this high requirement for the prosecution, many individuals are able to successfully argue against “intent to sell” charges by simply demonstrating that the prosecution has not met its high burden.
As members of NORML and professional criminal defense attorneys, we know the criminal penalties for marijuana possession are often far disproportionate to the crime.
In the State of Alabama, possession of marijuana for personal use only (second-degree marijuana possession) is a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to a year in prison, whereas possession of marijuana with intent to distribute is a Class C felony carrying one to ten years in prison.
The penalties for more serious marijuana crimes can be even higher. Those convicted also face:
The penalties are raised if you happen to be within three miles of a school (including universities) or a public housing project, if there was a firearm or violence involved, or if it’s a repeat offense.
Because prosecutors like to “stack” several drug charges together, those convicted may be looking at decades in prison for crimes that could draw just a few years in other jurisdictions. If you’re facing drug charges in Alabama, there’s just too much at stake to go it alone. You need aggressive representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Because even safe and private drug use carries a deep stigma in our society, law enforcement officers often make mistakes, violate your civil rights or cut corners when building a drug prosecution. We can use these flaws and assumptions to destroy the case against you, getting your charges dropped or substantially reduced.
If that’s not possible, we can negotiate with prosecutors to find an acceptable alternative sentence, such as drug court, work-release or probation-only. Those accused of a non-violent marijuana crime have a very good chance of being sentenced to drug court in counties where it exists, including Jefferson and Shelby Counties. The program allows them to avoid a conviction altogether in exchange for passing several drug tests and submitting to treatment.
If it’s appropriate to go to trial in your case, we will argue aggressively for you in court. Law enforcement may assume intent to sell because you had more than an ounce, but in court, they must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Similarly, if you are charged with trafficking, the state must prove that you knew of the marijuana, which can be difficult in cases of “constructive possession” (when the marijuana was not actually in your possession but assumed to be under your control). Even if you believe the case against you is overwhelming, you should never plead guilty to a marijuana crime in Alabama without understanding all of your options.
If you are facing marijuana charges in Birmingham, Columbiana, Huntsville, Montgomery, or anywhere else in Alabama, you can depend on an experienced marijuana lawyer at Alabama Criminal Lawyers to help you fight your charges.
As members of NORML and veteran Alabama drug crime attorneys, we believe marijuana crimes are overly prosecuted and unfairly punished. Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.