The weekend is almost here, and you can’t wait for it to begin. Your last hour at work consists of you slowly shuffling papers around your desk, staring at the same email for fifteen minutes, and stealthily glancing at the clock. Finally, it’s 5:00 pm.
With a quick, “Have a good weekend,” to your coworkers, you’re out the door and in your car. This weekend is particularly special, because you’re spending it with friends and family in scenic Michigan.
As usual, the weekend flew by, but you were able to float in the waters of Lake Michigan, hike through lush, wooded areas, and simply relax.
Before you head back to Indiana to prepare for the upcoming workweek, your friend Steve pulls you aside. He carefully unravels a small bag filled with marijuana, “The best in town,” he says—think of it as a parting gift (in Michigan, it is legal to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana outside of your home, and 10 ounces within your home).
You smile as you toss the baggie onto your center console—now to begin the drive home to Indiana. As you speed down the highway, your mind begins to wander—thoughts surrounding the upcoming workweek and household chores take center focus, and you don’t realize you’re driving ten miles over the speed limit.
Out of nowhere, the flashing of red and blue lights brakes your trance. As you glance in your rearview mirror, you see that you are being signaled to pull over.
“I hope it’s not a speeding ticket,” you tell yourself as the officer approaches your car.
And then you remember—the small bag of weed that is clearly visible on top of your center console…now what?
Perhaps you experienced a similar situation or know someone who is facing the same struggle. As state governments continue to hash out the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana, it can be confusing to know where Indiana stands on the issue.
As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Lafayette, Indiana, Bryan Coulter is here to answer common questions concerning marijuana possession in Indiana. Know where Indiana stands on the issue, and see how the consequences of being caught with marijuana can affect you.
Is Marijuana Legal in Indiana?
Your mind races as you struggle to remember if Indiana converted to a “green state.” With all the recent headlines in the news concerning cannabis legalization, you begin to confuse one state with another.
Well, to put it simply, the answer is no. Even for medicinal purposes, marijuana is still illegal in Indiana.
What are the Consequences of Possessing 30 Grams or Less of Marijuana?
Your heart pounds as the state trooper nears the car, “It’s less than 30 grams,” you tell yourself, “It has to be.”
Though it may be 30 grams or less, it is still considered a misdemeanor. Typically a Class A Misdemeanor is given, which can result in up to a one year jail sentence and up to a maximum fine of $5,000. You can also receive a combination of jail time and a fine.
If you are a first time offender with no criminal history, you may be offered a drug diversion program, but the risk of jail time and heavy fines is always present.
What are the Consequences of Possessing More Than 30 Grams of Marijuana?
The trooper is a foot away from your vehicle now, and sweat begins to pool on your forehead as you continue to size up the bag.
Okay, maybe a “small baggie,” was a bit of an understatement. Your breathing begins to quicken as you realize there might be more than 30 grams in that bag.
In Indiana, drug laws are extremely stringent, which means that possessing marijuana is a heavily punishable offense.
If you are caught possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana, you will most likely receive a Class D felony. A Class D felony is generally considered a victimless crime, yet this felony will remain on your record.
The consequences for a Class D felony can range between 6 months in jail to 3 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of both jail time and a fine.
What Are the Consequences of Manufacturing and Distributing Marijuana?
As the officer places his hands on the window of your car, you see his smile quickly turn into a frown. He saw the bag. “Distribution,” he quietly questions underneath his breath.
The consequences for marijuana distribution depend upon the amount that is being manufactured and sold.
If you are caught distributing or manufacturing up to 30 grams of marijuana, you will most likely receive a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to a one-year jail sentence, a maximum fine of $5,000, or a combination of the two.
If caught with 30 grams to 10 pounds, you can be charged with a Class D felony, which can result in between 6 months of jail time to 3 years in prison. A fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of both jail time and a fine can also be given.
Distributing more than 10 pounds can result in a class D felony, but the consequences are elevated. You can spend 2 to 8 years in prison, be fined up to $10,000, or be given a combination of both.
Will the Laws Regarding Marijuana Possession in Indiana Change?
“Aren’t the cannabis laws in Indiana changing,” you wonder to yourself as the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle.
As states surrounding Indiana begin to legalize recreational and medical marijuana, Indiana will undoubtedly feel pressure to begin conversations about cannabis legalization or decriminalization.
But for the present, it appears that Indiana will not soon come to a conclusion or consensus with regard to marijuana’s legality.
How Can You Protect Yourself if Charged with Possession of Marijuana?
If you have experienced the story described above, or a similar situation, you should seek an experienced criminal defense attorney in Lafayette, Indiana. Bryan Coulter, a criminal defense attorney with a decade of experience, has the skills and expertise to best represent you.
Don’t let a misdemeanor or felony on your record prevent you from participating in future opportunities—contact Coulter Law Office for a free consultation.