Personal possession of marijuana – lack of knowledge

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Personal possession of marijuana – lack of knowledge

Personal possession may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California, depending on how much marijuana the accused possessed and depending on the type of marijuana drug that the accused possessed. While it is considered a much less serious offense than possession of marijuana for sale, it still carries stiff penalties. When arrested on a possession charge, it is critical that the accused contacts a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in California marijuana defense in order to secure the best representation.

Lack of knowledge provides a defense to a personal possession charge that an inexperienced attorney may not fully understand or know how to effectively articulate for a judge and jury. “Possession,” by definition, necessarily implies knowledge – in other words, a person cannot be convicted of possessing anything without the knowledge that he or she is doing so. With respect to a drug possession case, it is necessary that the accused has control over the marijuana, has knowledge of its presence and has knowledge about its narcotic character. If either of those knowledge issues can be effectively called into question, the accused should not be convicted.

Lack of knowledge about marijuana’s presence is one defense. This type of defense would most likely arise if marijuana was found in a location other than on the body of the accused. For example, if marijuana was found in a person’s car or inside his or her home, it could be argued that somebody other than the owner of the car or home (be it a friend, roommate, family member or other acquaintance) had previously left it there, unbeknownst to him or her. This defense could also apply in a situation where the accused was “framed” by another due to anger, revenge, fear of being “caught” or some other motive. Depending on the particular motive, the true culprit could “tip off” the police and hope that the accused would suffer the consequences of a possession charge. Incidentally, whether or not the police would be required to disclose the identity of the informer presents another legal issue that an experienced attorney would be prepared and qualified to handle.

Lack of knowledge about the narcotic character of marijuana can also be a defense to a possession of marijuana charge. It should be noted that both types of knowledge may be proven using circumstantial evidence (that is, evidence that isn’t directly observed but is inferred from events or circumstances that surround it). With respect to marijuana’s narcotic character, this fact may be easily proven by the prosecution if the accused has a history of possession or other drug related charges or if he or she made any statements at the time of arrest that indicated he or she knew that marijuana was an illegal drug. Without this type of history or without incriminating statements, this element will be more difficult for the prosecution to prove and easier for a defense attorney to challenge.

Lack of knowledge is only one defense out of several that may be applicable to a personal possession of marijuana case. The outstanding criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm critically review every case that they receive in an effort to uncover as many defenses as they can that will apply to their clients’ cases. Because they focus on and stay on top of California’s drug laws, they know which defenses will most likely persuade a judge and jury to acquit their clients and which will not. With law offices throughout California, including several in Los Angeles, they are conveniently located for anyone in need of an aggressive, passionate and skilled California defense attorney. For unsurpassed legal advice and the best representation, contact them today for a free consultation.