More arrests are made in Rhode Island for marijuana possession than for all other illegal drugs. Marijuana arrests account for a huge percentage of juvenile drug arrests. Some people, rightly or wrongly, do not consider marijuana to be a serious drug and use of marijuana is not deemed as serious as other drugs. The Rhode Island criminal statutes, however, do not comply with this view. Penalties for marijuana possession in Rhode Island are very serious.
The penalties for marijuana possession (first offense) in Rhode Island are as follows:
- Possession of less than 1 kilogram of marijuana - In Rhode Island, this is considered misdemeanor possession. It is punishable by up to one (1) year in prison and a fine of $500.00. Many convictions for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Rhode Island will also require drug counseling and community service.
- Possession of 1 - 5 kilograms of marijuana - In Rhode Island, this is considered felony marijuana possession. The penalties include a minimum ten (10) years in prison up to a possible fifty (50) years. Fines can also range up to $500,000.00
- Possession of more than 5 kilograms of marijuana - This charge of felony possession requires a minimum of twenty-five (25) years in prison with a potential sentence of life in prison. Fines can range up to $100,000.00.
- Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school may double these above potential penalties.
- Possession of marijuana while driving will result in a suspended license for six (6) months
A person facing a second conviction for marijuana possession in Rhode Island faces double the above penalties. Similarly, a person facing a third conviction will see these penalties triple.
Like all other drug possession cases, the police must have had a Constitutional right to search your home, car, or person. Illegal search and seizure is a common defense to charges of marijuana possession in Rhode Island.
If you have been arrested for marijuana possession in Rhode Island call my office for a free consultation so that we can discuss your options.