You may find you need a criminal defense lawyer for numerous reasons. The following are a list of situations where a criminal defense lawyer may be helpful to your family and/or you. Craig M. Divine with the Divine Law Office, LLC is a criminal defense lawyer. Contact Divine Law Office, LLC today for a free consultation.
National trends are increasing the number of states for which recreational marijuana is legal, Kansas and Missouri are not currently in that trend. Marijuana in all forms (leaf, edible, vape oil, etc.) is still illegal in Kansas and Missouri and if you get caught with more than 35 grams you could be looking at felony charges. Additionally, even people with prescriptions like Adderall could find themselves in trouble if you are carrying your pills in something other than the prescription bottle. To make matters worse if you are carrying any significant amount of cash law enforcement may treat your case as a trafficking case or possession with intent to distribute. A conviction for either could land you in a civil asset forfeiture proceeding where the state will try to take away your money.
Simple possession is often a misdemeanor but can carry with it jail time depending on the jurisdiction. First time offenders will often qualify for a diversion (on the Kansas side) or an SIS probation (on the Missouri side). With assistance from an attorney it is often possible to keep a misdemeanor possession off of your criminal record. Kansas City, Missouri has passed an ordinance making the max fine for possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana $25 dollars. Don’t be fooled! While this seems like a relatively harmless outcome it does result in a criminal conviction on your record which is problem for many employers. Quantities above 35 grams and for all schedule 1 narcotics possession is a felony and can carry with it significant jail time.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
Far more serious than simple possession this is often a serious felony that carries hefty jail time for a conviction. Intent to distribute will be inferred based on how drugs are packaged, the quantity, the presence of a drug scale or other paraphernalia commonly used in the drug trade. It is often how the officer regards the items found that controls whether possession gets morphed into distribution.
The big brother of possession with intent to distribute, trafficking often involves large quantities found within a vehicle while in transport, especially if you are in a vehicle registered out of state.
Commonly charged with most possession and possession with intent to distribute cases but it can be charged on its own without any drugs being found. Residue in a pipe or hypodermic needle will often result in a possession of paraphernalia charge. Believe it or not common household items like sandwich baggies and aluminum foil are also often regarded as drug paraphernalia if found in close proximity to illicit drugs.
In the age of credit and debit cards and ecommerce payment apps like venmo, something as simple as carrying cash on you can actually raise the suspicions of law enforcement. If you are caught carrying a large amount of cash and officers also find drugs on your person or in your vehicle they may seize your money and initiate an asset forfeiture case. If the state is successful in convincing a judge that the cash you had was the result of illicit activity your money will be forfeited to the state. Often the law enforcement agency who seizes the money get to keep some of it so there is financial incentive for this kind of enforcement. A skilled lawyer knows how fight back and return your money to its rightful owner.
Minor in Possession
A familiar companion of the possession offense these cases commonly occur with young people out at a party when law enforcement arrives to end the evening. Persons merely in attendance at a party where underage drinking is occurring can find themselves charged with minor in possession of alcohol. While this may not seem like a big deal, if you are a Kansas resident a conviction for this offense can result in the loss of your driving privilege for one year even if you weren’t operating a motor vehicle. In both Kansas and Missouri offenders have to take a series of drug and alcohol classes in addition to fines and court costs in these types of cases.
A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you with any of the examples above.
Contact the Divine Law Office, LLC for a free consultation.
Attorney Craig M. Divine is a member of both the Missouri Bar Association and Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association .