No, Missouri is not legalizing marijuana. The state is decriminalizing it. Yes, there is a distinction!!
First of all, the possession of marijuana is still (and will continue to be) illegal in Missouri. But recently the state legislature revamped the criminal code to lessen the penalties for some crimes. And possession of marijuana is an example of this trend.
ONLY $375 TO HANDLE MOST ST LOUIS MARIJUANA POSSESSION CHARGES
So for example, the crime of marijuana possession is currently described as a Class A Misdemeanor if you are caught with less than 35 grams of the substance, or a Class C Felony if you have 35 grams or more. But starting January 1, 2017, if you are caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana, then you can be charged with a Class D Misdemeanor.
This lessening of the criminal penalties that you may be charged with for smaller amount of marijuana in St. Louis is an attempt by the state of Missouri to “decriminalize” the offense. In other words, possessing marijuana will still be illegal in Missouri; but at least the charges will be less severe.
PLEADING GUILTY IS NOT YOUR BEST OPTION!!
As always, you should keep in mind the fact that pleading guilty to the charge of St. Louis marijuana possession is not your best option. In fact, it is the worst option available to you. Instead, our firm would like to either 1) get the charges thrown out (especially if the police officer who ticketed you performed an illegal search when the substance was found); or 2) get the charges reduced to a lesser infraction (such as “littering,” which does not even show up on your record at all).
If you choose to plead guilty, however, then you will be allowing the state to put the drug conviction on your permanent record. This will make it incredibly difficult in the future to get a decent job or rent a decent apartment (because most employers and landlords run criminal background checks on most applicants, and if do not have a clean record, then you could easily be screened out as a candidate).
So what do you do now? Well, the best thing to do in this kind of situation is to call an experienced lawyer. The affordable St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been making sure our client’s receive the best care and information possible regarding their rights and range of options. Our goal is to get you the best possible outcome for your particular situation, whether it is a trial, a reduction of the charge to something less severe, or getting the charges dropped altogether. Our initial consultation is free of charge, so call today.