Personal possession of marijuana – temporary possession for disposal

Opinions in blog posts are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of 1.800.NoCuffs and The Kavinoky Law Firm.

Personal possession of marijuana – temporary possession for disposal

Personal possession of marijuana may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on what type of marijuana the accused possessed and how much of the drug was possessed. Although the consequences of this offense are not as severe as a possession of marijuana for sale charge, they are still serious, which is why an individual charged with this offense should immediately contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer who regularly defends California drug charges to immediately begin building a defense based on the specific facts of the alleged crime.

Temporary possession of marijuana for disposal is one of the defenses that a savvy attorney might employ in a personal possession case. California courts have held that “possession” means having actual control, care and management over something. Consequently, “control” that is passing, momentary or fleeting will not constitute “legal” possession and therefore, an individual’s temporary possession of marijuana for the sole purpose of disposing of it will not (without more incriminating evidence) be sufficient to sustain a personal possession charge.

It is up to a good criminal attorney to convince the judge and jury that the individual accused of possessing marijuana only did so because he or she was in the process of disposing of it. Examples of situations where this defense has worked include a case where the accused made an immediate statement to the police about his intent to dispose of the drug, a case where the accused was not under the influence of the drug and didn’t display any signs that he had used or sold the drug or was planning on using or selling the drug, a case where the accused discarded the drug because he had a feeling he was being “framed” by an ex-girlfriend, a case where the defendant placed the drugs in his car with the intent of disposing of them after they had been left at his house following a party and a case where the defendant only held the drugs long enough to flush them down the toilet. This defense will obviously only work in certain situations, but a creative attorney may be able to apply it in an unorthodox manner.

It should be noted that this defense does not apply to an individual who, fearing he or she is about to be apprehended, removes marijuana from his or her immediate possession. Because there is such a fine line that separates temporary possession for disposal from this type of scenario, only an experienced drug attorney should attempt to argue this defense, as an inexperienced attorney would likely not fully understand the distinction nor be able to effectively articulate it for a judge or jury.

While it is possible that this defense could apply to a possession of marijuana for sale charge (the most likely case scenario being that an individual was charged with constructive or joint possession of the drug), it would be an unlikely defense, especially if other circumstances (for example, paraphernalia, baggies, scales, etc.) corroborated an intent to sell the drug.

The outstanding criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm specialize in California drug crime defense and know how to convince a judge and jury that momentary possession isn’t sufficiently related to the dangers that a possession charge is designed to punish. They have mastered this area of the law and are better equipped than anyone to defend an individual against a personal possession charge. With law offices throughout California (including several in the Los Angeles area), they are conveniently located for anyone in need of a vigorous defense. For more information about the defenses that apply to a personal possession charge, contact them today for a free consultation.