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Possession of Marijuana in a Public Place

Many law enforcement officers throughout New York City have found a big loophole in the state's marijuana laws. The possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana (often called cannabis, pot or weed) is not a criminal offense, but can result in a civil citation. Despite this clear intention of the New York legislature, law enforcement officers often conduct a "stop and frisk." If the officer orders the individual to empty his pockets or open his bag, the individual may comply with the request only to be accused of marijuana possession in a "public place" or in "public view" which is a criminal offense with criminal penalties.

This legal loophole often results in an extreme injustice because the individual may be then arrested for possession of marijuana in a public place, handcuffed, driven in a police car to a precinct, fingerprinted, a mug shot taken, brought to central booking, and held for 24 hours or more before being arraigned in front of a judge. The consequences for a criminal case of possession of marijuana in a public place include not only those penalties announced by the judge in open court, but also certain indirect consequences that can last a lifetime.

Queens Attorney for Possession of Marijuana in a Public Place

If you were arrested for criminal possession of marijuana in a public place (or in open view) then contact an experienced marijuana defense attorney in New York to discuss important defenses that may help you fight your case. Rochelle S. Berliner is an attorney on the NORML Legal Committee, dedicated to the reform of marijuana laws throughout the State of New York.

Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner represents men and women charged with marijuana crimes, including criminal possession in a public place throughout Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and the surrounding communities. Call 718-261-5600 for a free and honest assessment of your case.


Queens, New York Possession of Marijuana in a Public Place - Information Center


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New York's Penal Law 221.10(1) - Criminal Possession of Marihuana in a Public Place for less than 25 grams

Even a small amount of marijuana smoked in public, or allegedly possessed "open to public view," can be charged as the class B Misdemeanor of Criminal Possession of Marihuana in the Fifth Degree under New York Penal Law § 221.10(1). Alternatively, under Penal Law § 221.10(2), a person can be charged for this crime if he or she possesses more than 25 grams of marihuana. To give you an idea of how much 25 grams is, there are 28 grams in an ounce. Judges and prosecutors often refer to this offense as "CPM." This misdemeanor crime is punishable by up to ninety days in jail and/or a $500 fine.


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Important Defenses for the Criminal Possession of Marijuana in a Public Place

Important defenses exist for anyone charged in New York City with possession of cannabis, pot or weed in open view in a public place. The most common defenses include:

  • Motions to suppress the marijuana on the grounds that the stop, detention or search was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment;
  • Motions to dismiss the charges because the individual charged did not actually or constructively possess the marijuana;
  • Contesting the charge because of the lack of a crime lab report showing the item seized is, in fact, marijuana;
  • Showing the possession was not in the open and resulted only because of compliance with the officer's demands;
  • Showing that the individual did not know the cannabis was in his or her possession; or
  • Moving to suppress any statements taken in violation of Miranda.

Other defenses may exist depending on the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with offices conveniently located in Queens, NY, for any arrest that occurred throughout the greater New York City Metropolitan area.


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Consequences of a Misdemeanor Arrest for Criminal Possession of Marijuana in New York City

Rochelle S. Berliner fights for her clients, including professionals, charged with the misdemeanor of possession of marijuana in public or in open view. The consequences of the criminal arrest and prosecution include not just the punishments that the judge might announce, but also serious indirect consequences that can impact nurses and other healthcare professionals, pilots, members of the military, school teachers and pilots.

Young people can also face serious collateral consequences for their educational opportunities because the high school, college or graduate student may face disciplinary action brought by the school, college or university even if the criminal charges are dropped, particularly if the possession occurred on campus or at any school function.

The criminal conviction can also have serious consequences for anyone applying for public housing or college federal financial aid.


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Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner | New York Lawyer for Possession in a Public Place

Queens criminal defense attorney Rochelle S. Berliner has devoted a significant portion of her practice to fighting these serious consequences for her clients charged with misdemeanor offenses of New York's marijuana laws. An aggressive defense often requires filing and litigating complicated motions to suppress evidence or to dismiss the marijuana charges.

Thorough preparation and a complete understanding of defenses that can be asserted in these cases are essential. Call 718-261-5600 or submit an online form today to discuss the particular facts and circumstances of your case during a free consultation.

Free Consultation

Submit your information using this form to schedule a free consultation with attorney Rochelle Berliner.

Name* Phone* Email* Subject* Message*

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