get the help of a criminal defense attorney in lafayette indiana if youre caught possessing marijuana

Ever since the successful legalization of marijuana in Colorado in 2012, law enforcement officials have had their work cut out for them in states where marijuana is still an illegal substance. 

Reminiscent of the days of prohibition back in the early 20th century, we’re seeing new waves of “bootleggers” taking advantage of their legal access to marijuana to more easily distribute or personally utilize marijuana in their home state, where it’s not yet legal. 

Many people don’t realize that—just because you legally bought marijuana in another state, it doesn’t mean you can legally possess it in a state where it isn’t legal.

Let Bryan Coulter, a criminal defense attorney in Lafayette, Indiana, walk you through the consequences of marijuana possession. 

The Crossroads of America

Fast forward to 2019. Indiana finds itself in a law enforcement vise, being sandwiched between 2 states where weed is entirely legal for recreational use and another where it’s legal for medicinal use. 

This presents a real challenge, not just for police, but also for the general public, who may not realize the legal ramifications of returning to the Hoosier state after using or purchasing cannabis in another state. 

The pressure was increased in 2018, when Indiana’s northern neighbor, Michigan, became the nearest source for legal weed, followed by Illinois, coming up at the beginning of 2020.

With legal sources of pot so close by, the temptation to drive across the border to buy or partake in marijuana is too much to resist for many, and if you’re feeling the urge to cross the border and make a purchase, there are a few things you need to know.


The increased traffic from legal states boosted the amount of possession arrests in Indiana from 7,431 in 2014 to 8,953 in 2016, demonstrating that in a short time, before weed was even legal in nearby states, the influx of weed traffic was placing more and more people behind bars.

This should let you know that there are real risks to taking advantage of weed’s newfound legality if you live in Indiana.


learn about possession laws with coulter law office a criminal defense attorney in lafayette indiana

Despite being legal in other states, possession of marijuana is still a crime in Indiana, even if you procured it legally. Here’s a breakdown of the different marijuana-related crimes you could be charged for and their penalties.

  • Class C Misdemeanor – Possessing marijuana paraphernalia 
    • Up to 60 days in jail, or
    • Up to $500 fine, or 
    • Both 
    • (Subsequent convictions are Class A Misdemeanors – up to one year in prison, up to $5,000, or both. 
  • Class B Misdemeanor – Possession of any amount, with no prior drug convictions 
    • 180 days in jail, or
    • $1,000 fine, or
    • Both
  • Class A Misdemeanor – Possession of less than 30 grams, with a prior drug conviction
    • 1 year in jail, or
    • Up to $5,000 fine, or
    • Both.
  • Level 6 Felony – Possession of 30 grams or more, with a prior drug conviction
    • 6 months in jail and two and one-half years in prison, or
    • Up to $10,000 fine, or 
    • Both

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-48-4-11, 35-50-2-7, 35-50-3-2, 35-50-3-3 (2019).)


Matters get worse when taking distribution into consideration. Worse than merely possessing weed, distributing marijuana has harsher penalties.

  • Class A Misdemeanor – Distributing up to 30 grams
    • 1 year in jail, or
    • $5,000 fine, or
    • Both
    • (Subsequent violations raise to Level 6 Felonies – 6 months in jail to 2 ½ years in prison, $10,000 fine, or both.
  • Level 6 Felony – 30 grams to 10 pounds 
    • 6 months in jail to 2 ½ years in prison, or 
    • $10,000 fine, or 
    • Both 
    • (Subsequent violations become Level 5 Felonies – 1-6 years in prison, $10,000 fine, or both
  • Level 5 Felony – 10 pounds or more 
    • 1-6 years in prison, or 
    • $10,000 fine, or 
    • Both
  • Level 5 Felony – Selling to a minor 
    • 1-6 years in prison, or
    • $10,000, or
    • Both

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-48-4-10, 35-50-2-6, 35-50-2-7, 35-50-3-2 (2019).)

contact coulter law office if youre caught driving under the influence

One common misconception about pot use is that you can get away with it so long as you aren’t caught with it in your possession. 

But this isn’t the case.

If you think you can simply pop over the border, get high, and come back to Indiana, you may find yourself in trouble should you get pulled over. Although determining whether you’re under the influence is not as simple as it is with alcohol, if a police officer finds probable cause to suspect that you’re under the influence, you may find yourself in trouble.

A Solid Defense

The penalties of a marijuana DUI vary greatly depending on the specifics of the case, the judge’s deliberation, and the presence of a skilled attorney.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges involving marijuana, seek out Coulter Law for help navigating the legal waters of this unique situation.