How To Get Your Marijuana And Drug Paraphernalia Tickets Dismissed Or Reduced To “Littering”

marijuana and drug paraphernalia tickets

Your marijuana and drug paraphernalia tickets can be dismissed or reduced to “Littering” with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

An Attorney Can Get Your Marijuana And Drug Paraphernalia Tickets Dismissed Or Reduced To “Littering”

If you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you for your marijuana and drug paraphernalia tickets, here are the options for the outcome of your case:

  • Your marijuana or drug paraphernalia ticket could be completely dismissed after a period of probation
  • Your marijuana or drug paraphernalia ticket could be reduced to “Littering”
  • The Prosecutor might agree to not file the charges for your marijuana or drug paraphernalia ticket

In many cases involving misdemeanor marijuana and drug paraphernalia tickets, your attorney will handle everything without requiring you to appear in court.

You will have to pay a fine and court costs if your ticket gets reduced to “Littering.”

If your marijuana or drug paraphernalia ticket gets reduced to “Littering,” the conviction for “Littering” will not show up on a standard criminal background check.

If your case involves probation, you won’t have to pay a fine, but you might have to complete a 1-day drug education class or do a few hours of community service. Your attorney will be able to tell you what to expect.

The outcome of your case depends on the following:

  • Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
  • Do you have any prior drug-related convictions on your criminal record?
  • How old are you?
  • How much marijuana did you have in your possession?
  • Does your attorney have experience handling marijuana or drug paraphernalia tickets?

Penalties For Marijuana And Drug Paraphernalia Possession in Missouri Can Include Jail Time

The penalties for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) and drug paraphernalia in Missouri are:

  • 10 Grams or Less of Marijuana (first-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
  • 10 Grams or Less of Marijuana (not a first-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
  • Drug Paraphernalia (first-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
  • Drug Paraphernalia (not a first-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
  • 11 to 35 grams of Marijuana= $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail

What Happens If You Plead Guilty To A Marijuana Or Drug Paraphernalia Ticket

If you plead guilty to any of the criminal offenses listed above, you will have a drug conviction on your criminal record. This applies if you are a first-time offender or repeat offender, and regardless of whether your case is being prosecuted in state court or municipal court.

Having a drug conviction on your criminal record (even a misdemeanor conviction for a small amount of marijuana) can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or obtaining federal aid for college.

Missouri Marijuana And Drug Paraphernalia Laws

If you want to read Missouri’s law regarding possession of a controlled substance, it is RSMO 579.015

Missouri’s law regarding unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia is RSMO 579.074

To read more about Missouri’s marijuana laws, see my previous blog post, “Marijuana Has Not Been Decriminalized in Missouri.”

How To Get Marijuana And Drug Paraphernalia Tickets Expunged From Your Criminal Record

Missouri’s new expungement law went into effect on January 1, 2018. It allows people to file a petition for expungement to request the removal of old marijuana and drug paraphernalia convictions.

  • To qualify for expungement of a misdemeanor, you must have a clean criminal record for at least 3 years.
  • You are allowed  to expunge a total of 2 misdemeanors during your lifetime
  • You can file the petition for expungement yourself, but you are more likely to be successful if you hire an attorney to file the petition for you

Here is a link to the court form to file a petition for expungement.

For more information about Missouri’s new expungement law, you can read my previous blog post, “Missouri’s New Expungement Law Allows Many Misdemeanors & Felony Criminal Records To Be Sealed.”

How Much Will It Cost To Hire An Attorney To Represent You For Your Marijuana And Drug Paraphernalia Tickets?

Before hiring an attorney, you should call around and talk to a few criminal defense attorneys until you find someone you feel comfortable with.

Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation and charge a flat-fee price. An experienced attorney can assess your case and give you an estimate of the outcome, including fines and court costs.

How To Find Out If You Qualify For A Public Defender

Public Defenders don’t represent people charged with misdemeanors in most municipal courts in Missouri. But if your case is being prosecuted in state court and you have no income or assets, you might qualify for a Public Defender.

You can contact the Missouri State Public Defender’s office and fill out an Application for Public Defender Services to see if  you qualify. Or you can go to court on your court date and ask the judge to appoint a public defender to represent you.

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To get a free consultation about your Missouri marijuana and drug paraphernalia tickets, contact attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or [email protected]

How To Get Possession of Marijuana Charges Dismissed Or Reduced In Missouri

medical marijuana card

An experienced attorney can get your possession of marijuana ticket dismissed or reduced to “Littering” in Missouri. The outcome of your case depends on 1) which court your case is being prosecuted in, and 2) your criminal history.

Possession Of Marijuana Is Still Illegal In Missouri

Marijuana has not been “decriminalized” in Missouri.

It is true that there is no possibility of jail time for first-time possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri, but you should not plead guilty to possession of any amount of marijuana. If you plead guilty to possession of even a tiny amount of marijuana, you will end up with a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record.

Having a drug conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job or internship, renting an apartment, or obtaining federal student aid for college.

Click here to read Missouri’s marijuana law RSMO 579.015 regarding possession of a controlled substance.

A Conviction For Possession Of Marijuana Stays On Your Criminal Record Forever

If you plead guilty to possession of marijuana (even 10 grams or less), the conviction will stay on your criminal record forever, unless you get it expunged.

Missouri’s new expungement law allows you to expunge (remove) the record of your marijuana conviction if you have had a clean criminal record for 3 years following your conviction date.

Click here for more information about how to get a marijuana ticket expunged from your criminal record.

Punishment For Possession Of Marijuana And Drug Paraphernalia In Missouri

Here are the maximum penalties for misdemeanor marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession in Missouri:

  • 10 grams or less of marijuana (1st-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
  • 10 grams or less of marijuana (not a 1st-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
  • Drug Paraphernalia (first-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
  • Drug Paraphernalia (not a 1st-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
  • 35 grams or less = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail

If you have an attorney representing you for your misdemeanor marijuana ticket, jail time is very unlikely.

For more information about how to avoid getting caught with marijuana, you can read my previous blog post, “Best & Worst Places to Smoke Weed in Missouri.”

How Can An Attorney Get Your Marijuana Charges Dismissed or Reduced To “Littering”?

You can hire a criminal defense attorney to negotiate a plea bargain deal with the court to get your misdemeanor possession of marijuana ticket dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering.”

“Littering” is a low-level offense that will not show up on most criminal background checks. If your possession of marijuana ticket gets reduced to “Littering,” you won’t have to appear in court, but you will have to pay a fine and court costs.

In some cases, the Prosecutor will dismiss the charge completely instead of reducing it to “Littering.” If that happens, the Prosecutor may require you to complete a drug education class or do a few hours of community service.

Every court handles marijuana cases slightly differently. Your attorney will discuss your case with you and tell you what type of penalties to expect.

The outcome of your case depends on:

  • Which court your case is being prosecuted in
  • Your criminal history
  • Your age
  • How much marijuana you possessed when you were caught
  • The skill and experience of your attorney

How Much Does It Cost To Fight Your Possession Of Marijuana Charges?

Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation and can give you a flat-fee price quote for how much they will charge to represent you. They can also give you an estimate of any fines and court costs you may have to pay.

If you can’t afford to hire a private criminal defense attorney, you can contact the public defender’s office in the county in which you were charged to apply for a Missouri public defender.

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For a free consultation about your Missouri marijuana ticket, contact marijuana attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or [email protected]

St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Dismisses Current Marijuana Cases And Refuses To Prosecute New Cases Under 100 Grams

medical marijuana card

St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner recently announced she will no longer prosecute anyone charged with possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana and will dismiss all current cases under 100 grams unless there are aggravating circumstances.

In some marijuana cases, Gardner may recommend a “diversion” program instead of immediate dismissal. With a diversion program, the charges are dismissed if the defendant maintains a clean criminal record for a certain period of time.

In 2017, there were 205 murders in the city of St. Louis, making it the deadliest city in the United States because of its per capita murder rate. Marijuana cases currently make up 20% of the St. Louis City Circuit Court docket. Gardner believes that by refusing to prosecute marijuana cases of 100 grams or less, police will be able to focus their resources on fighting more serious crimes.

Marijuana Possession Is Still Illegal In St. Louis

Many people believe marijuana has been “decriminalized” in St. Louis, but that is not true. Possession of marijuana is still illegal in St. Louis and throughout Missouri.

New Marijuana Cases Will Be Prosecuted In St. Louis City Municipal Court

St. Louis City Police don’t sound very happy about Gardner’s refusal to prosecute marijuana possession.

“We’ve got a name for somebody riding around with 100 grams of marijuana in their car — a drug dealer,” said Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

In the future, St. Louis City police officers can still issue citations for possession of under 100 grams of marijuana but those cases will have to be prosecuted through the St. Louis City Municipal Court.

Marijuana Possession Will Still Be Prosecuted In St. Louis And Throughout Missouri

If you get caught with weed in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, or anywhere else in Missouri, your case can be prosecuted in either the municipal court or circuit court in the municipality or county in which you were caught.

EXAMPLE:  If police charge you with possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana or drug paraphernalia at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, your case will be prosecuted in Maryland Heights Municipal Court.

EXAMPLE:  If police charge you with possession of under 100 grams of marijuana in St. Louis City, your case can be prosecuted in St. Louis City Municipal Court.

EXAMPLE:  If you get caught with 35 grams or less of marijuana or drug paraphernalia on the river or at a state park in Crawford County Missouri, your case will be prosecuted in Crawford County Circuit Court.

PLEASE NOTE:  Federal prosecutors can prosecute marijuana possession cases if the Circuit Attorney refuses to prosecute them.

How Much Is The Fine For Possession Of Marijuana In St. Louis City?

The fine for possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana in St. Louis City was reduced to $25 in March 2018.

What Happens If You Plead Guilty To Possession Of Marijuana?

If you plead guilty to marijuana possession (even if it’s just an ordinance violation in municipal court), you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record.

Having a drug conviction on your record can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or obtaining federal student aid for college.

I discussed why you should not plead guilty to marijuana possession in my previous blog post, “Don’t Plead Guilty To Possession Of 10 Grams Or Less Of Marijuana.”

What Is The Maximum Sentence For Marijuana Possession In Missouri?

The maximum punishment for misdemeanor marijuana or drug paraphernalia possession in Missouri is as follows:

• 10 grams or less of marijuana (1st-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
• 10 grams or less of marijuana (not a 1st-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
• Drug Paraphernalia (first-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
• Drug Paraphernalia (not a 1st-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
• 35 grams or less = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail

An Attorney Can Get Your Marijuana Charges Dismissed Or Reduced To A Less Serious Offense

If you get caught with marijuana in St. Louis or elsewhere in Missouri, you can hire an attorney to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering.”

The outcome of your marijuana case depends a lot on which court your case is being prosecuted in because some prosecutors are more strict than others. In many cases, everything can be taken care of without the defendant being required to appear in court.

Discuss your case with an experienced attorney and get a price quote for how much they will charge to represent you. Most attorneys offer a free consultation and can give you an estimate of the fines and court costs you will have to pay.

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For a free consultation about your Missouri marijuana case, contact St. Louis marijuana lawyer Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or [email protected]