As of January 1, 2017, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri is punishable by a $500 fine but no jail time.
New Missouri Law Eliminates Jail Time For Possession of Small Amount of Marijuana by First-Time Offenders
According to a new Missouri law, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana by a first-time offender (with no prior convictions for drug possession) is a Class D misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 but no possibility of jail time.
In the past, there was no separate misdemeanor class for possession of 10 grams or less, so it was considered a Class A misdemeanor.
Pleading Guilty to Possession of 10 Grams or Less of Marijuana Will Show Up As a Drug Conviction On Your Criminal Record
Many people think this new Missouri law “decriminalizes” possession of a small amount of pot, but that’s not true. Others say getting caught with pot is now like getting a speeding ticket, but that’s also not true.
If you plead guilty to possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri, you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record. The only difference is that the new law eliminates the possibility of jail time for possession of 10 grams or less for first-time offenders.
You Can Be Arrested For Possession of 10 Grams or Less of Marijuana
Even though you can’t be sent to jail for possession of 10 grams or less of weed under Missouri’s new law if you are a first-time offender, you can still be arrested, and the record of that arrest will show up on your criminal record.
New Missouri Marijuana Law Applies to First-Time Offenders Only
If you are a first-time offender and you plead guilty to possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri, there is no possibility of jail time, but you can be fined up to $500 and you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record.
Keep in mind that having a drug conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, getting federal student loans for college, etc.
Higher Fine For Repeat Offenders Caught With 10 Grams or Less of Marijuana
The new Missouri law applies to first-time offenders only. If you have prior convictions, that means you are not a first-time offender, so if you are caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana, you will be charged with Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Fine Increases for Possession of More Than 10 Grams But Less Than 35 Grams of Marijuana in Missouri
The fine for possession of more than 10 grams but 35 grams or less of marijuana has increased. The previous law allowed a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine for possession of 35 grams or less. The new law increases the fine to $2,000 but the maximum potential jail time remains 1 year.
Hire an Attorney To Get Your Marijuana Charges Dismissed or Reduced to a Lesser Offense
If you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you, it’s very likely they can get your marijuana case dismissed or amended to a lesser offense. The outcome of your case depends on several things:
- How old are you?
- Do you have any prior convictions?
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
- Were you polite and respectful to the police officer?
- Does your attorney have experience handling drug charges?
No matter what, don’t just plead guilty to possession of 10 grams or less of weed in Missouri. It may seem like a minor offense, but it’s not. An experienced attorney can help keep this off your permanent criminal record.
For 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 if you want to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. Call Andrea at (314) 724-5059 or email her at [email protected] for a free consultation and a price quote for legal representation.