Possession of Marijuana Charges

Getting arrested or receiving a desk appearance ticket (DAT) for a marijuana-related crime in New York City may have some significant consequences. However if handled properly the consequences could be dramatically reduced or eliminated.

Two of the most common marijuana related offenses are:

  1. Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fifth Degree (New York State Penal Law Section 221.10): This offense is a Class B Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, one year of probation, a fine, a conditional discharge or community service or an ACD. There could also be a combination of several of these punishments.
  2. Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (New York State Penal Law Section 221.05): This offense is a violation and not a crime and it is punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, up to 15 days in jail, a conditional discharge, community service or an ACD. Or a combination of several of these.

Many cases involving these two statutes listed above can be resolved of with an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal commonly known in the court as a Marijuana ACD.

If the court grants you the ACD you do not have a criminal conviction. In fact it is not a plea of guilty at all.

A Marijuana ACD might not be available if:

  1. You had previously been granted a Marijuana ACD or regular dismissal,
  2. You had previously been convicted of any offense involving a controlled substances,
  3. You had previously been convicted of a crime and the prosecutor does not consent,
  4. You had previously been adjudicated a youthful offender on the basis of any acts involving controlled substances and the prosecutor does not consent.

The conditions for a Marijuana ACD are typically twofold:

  1. The judge may order you to perform community service or to participate in marijuana abuse program.
  2. You must not get arrested or have any involvement with the criminal justice system for a period of one year.

If both of these conditions are satisfied, then-

  • The case will be dismissed at the end of the one-year period.
  • You will not have to return to court in order for the dismissal to take effect; it is automatic.
  • Please note that upon a violation of any condition fixed by the court, the court may revoke its order, restore the case to the calendar, and regular prosecution will proceed.