There is no possibility of jail time for first-time possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri, but the conviction will show up on your criminal record if you plead guilty.
Penalty For Possession of 10 Grams Or Less Of Marijuana In Missouri
First-time possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is a class D misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a $500 fine but no jail time.
If you are NOT a first-time offender, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
The maximum penalty for possession of more than 10 grams but less than 35 grams of marijuana is 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Marijuana Possession Has Not Been “Decriminalized” In Missouri
It is common for some police officers to issue a ticket for possession of 10 grams or less of weed and advise the suspect to plead guilty and pay the fine because it’s “just like a speeding ticket,” but that is incorrect.
If you plead guilty to possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, you will end up with a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record. This is true even if you are a first-time offender with no possibility of jail time.
Having a drug conviction on your criminal record will prevent you from getting a job or internship, and it will cause landlords to refuse to rent an apartment to you. You can also lose federal student aid for college if you are convicted of a drug-related offense. In addition, you can be evicted from government-subsidized housing because of a marijuana conviction.
Don’t Plead Guilty To 10 Grams Or Less of Marijuana
Instead of pleading guilty to possession of any amount of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, you can hire a criminal defense attorney to get your drug charge dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering.”
If your case is being prosecuted in a municipal court and your attorney gets your marijuana ticket reduced to “Littering,” nothing will show up on your criminal record because most courts don’t report low-level offenses such as “Littering” to the Missouri State Police.
Hire A Lawyer To Get Your Marijuana Ticket Reduced To “Littering”
Criminal defense attorneys usually offer a free consultation and a flat-fee price quote for how much they will charge to represent you.
If you hire an attorney to represent you for your marijuana ticket, they will review your case and give you an estimate of the most likely outcome, which depends on the following factors:
- How old are you?
- How bad is your criminal history?
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
- How much marijuana did you have in your possession?
- Were you honest and cooperative with the police officer?
- Is your attorney experienced in handling marijuana charges?
Most misdemeanor marijuana or drug paraphernalia cases don’t go to trial, so your attorney can handle everything without requiring you to appear in court. Your attorney will negotiate a plea bargain deal with the Prosecutor which may involve one of the following options:
- Dismissal – this requires community service and/or drug education class, but no fine
- Deferred Prosecution/Diversion Program – your case will be dismissed after 6 months or 1 year of good behavior – you will pay a fine and court costs and may also have to take a drug education class
- Reduction to “Littering” – your marijuana charge gets reduced to “Littering” – you will have to pay a fine and court costs
- Suspended Imposition of Sentence With Probation – no fine, pay court costs, do community service and/or take a drug education class, court appearance with attorney is required – case is closed after probation is completed.
For more information about how to avoid getting charged with marijuana possession, see my previous post “Best & Worst Places to Smoke Weed in Missouri.”
Call St. Louis marijuana attorney Andrea Storey Rogers for help with your Missouri drug charges. Call Andrea at (314) 724-5059 or email her at [email protected] for a free consultation and a flat-fee price quote.