Indiana has some of the most stringent marijuana laws in the country. If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana-related crime in Indiana, you are probably concerned about the charges you’ll face. Below we answer the most common questions we receive from defendants about state and federal marijuana charges.
Q: Is Marijuana really illegal in Indiana?
A: Yes. Marijuana is illegal under both federal and Indiana law. Any person who grows, markets, distributes, or possesses marijuana in Indiana is almost certainly violating the law. Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal and Indiana statutes.
Q: This is my first offense for marijuana possession or any drug charge. Will that make a difference?
A: Yes. Indiana law penalizes first offenders less harshly than multiple offenders. Indiana law (Code § 35-48-4-10) provides that for a first offense, possession of any amount of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor. You can be punished up to 180 days in jail or fined up to $1,000 or both.
Federal law is stricter, however. Under federal law, a first offense for marijuana possession of any amount is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines.
Q: What happens if I already have a marijuana possession conviction on my record?
A: Under Indiana law, if you already have a drug conviction, the subsequent charge for marijuana possession will depend on the amount of drugs allegedly in your possession. If you had less than 30 grams of marijuana, you would face a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a possible fine of up to $5,000.
If you have greater than 30 grams in your possession, the violation becomes a level 6 felony, which comes with a penalty of a maximum of 2.5 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Under federal law, a second marijuana possession offense is a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of a maximum of two years in jail and fines up to $2,500. A third offense could be a misdemeanor or a felony charge, and a conviction could bring up to three years of jail, fines up to $5,000, or both.
Q: What charges do I face if I’m arrested for the sale and distribution of marijuana?
A: In Indiana, selling or distributing less than 30 grams of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor. The sale or distribution of 30 grams to 10 pounds is a Class D felony, punishable with up to three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Selling or distributing more than 30 pounds of marijuana brings a Class C felony charge, which could bring an eight-year prison sentence and fines up to $10,000.
Federal laws concerning the sale, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana are even more severe. Selling 50 kilograms or less could result in up to 5 years of prison and $250,000 in fines. If you sell or distribute 1,000 kilograms or more, you could get 10 years to life in jail and up to $1 million in fines.
With so many states legalizing marijuana, it may not feel like a serious charge if you’re arrested for marijuana-related offenses in Indiana. But these charges and penalties show that it is taken very seriously in this state.
If you have been arrested for a marijuana-related offense, contact the criminal defense lawyers of Razumich & Associates right away. We stand ready to fight for your rights.