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RHODE ISLAND MARIJUANA CHARGES

My name is Matt Marin and I am a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer dedicated to defending and protecting the rights of Rhode Island residents who have been charged with drug crimes including the newly decriminalized first offense simple possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and delivery of marijuana. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana (first offense) has been recently decriminalized and is now penalized by a civil violation carrying a fine of $150 to $600 in Rhode Island. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana (first offense) is still a misdemeanor criminal offense carrying up to one year in jail and fines from $200 to $500. For more detailed information, please read below.

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RI Marijuana Lawyer – (401) 228-8271

Penalties for Rhode Island Marijuana Charges

FIRST OFFENSE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA (LESS THAN ONE OUNCE)
If you are charged with a first offense simple possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in Rhode Island you have been charged with a civil violation subjecting you to fines that range from $150 to $600. The charge is not a criminal offense and does not result in a criminal record. However, if you are charged with a third offense within an eighteen month period, the third offense is a misdemeanor criminal offense carrying a possible jail sentence.

FIRST OFFENSE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA (MORE THAN ONE OUNCE)
If you have been charged with a first offense simple possession of more than one ounce of marijuana in Rhode Island you have been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense subjecting you to possible incarceration for up to one year, fines ranging from $200 to $500, and a criminal record/criminal conviction.

FIRST OFFENSE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA (MORE THAN ONE KILOGRAM)
If you have been charged with a first offense simple possession of more than one kilogram but less than five kilograms of marijuana in Rhode Island you have been charged with a serious felony criminal offense subjecting you to possible incarceration for up to fifty (50) years and a fine up to $500,000.

THIRD OFFENSE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA (LESS THAN ONE OUNCE)
If you have been charged with a THIRD offense simple possession of less than one ounce of marijuana within eighteen (18) months of your first offense in Rhode Island you have been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense subjecting you to possible incarceration for up to thirty (30) days and a fine from $200 to $500.

RHODE ISLAND MARIJUANA DEFENSE STRATEGIES

Depending upon the facts and circumstances of the individual case, a skilled Rhode Island Marijuana Defense lawyer can identify legal and factual defenses in the State's case which can be used to negotiate and possibly convince the State to dismiss the charges. Some of the legal areas in which many defenses arise in marijuana cases include:

Automobile Search and Seizure Law
The Constitutionality of automobile search and seizure law under the United States Constitution was drastically changed in 2009 due to the United States Supreme Court's decision rendered in Arizona v. Gant. Many in law enforcement personnel as well as lawyers who rarely practice in Rhode Island's criminal courts remain unaware of the broad and sweeping protections that this decision provides those in automobiles.

Search Warrant Issuance and Execution
The issuance and execution of a search warrant may appear to be a daunting battle. However, there are many legal avenues whereby experienced defense lawyers can attack search warrants. The search warrant must be issued under the strict confines of Rhode Island Statutory and United States Constitutional Law. Second, the police must execute the search warrant in strictly in accordance to its terms.

Medical Marijuana Law and Defenses
Given the recent changes in the societal view of marijuana and its use for medicinal purposes, those with Licenses for Medical Marijuana and those that self-medicate for due to legitimate and serious medical problems can and should be treated differently. The Court's are beginning to recognize that some individuals can be positively benefited by the medicinal use of marijuana and a skilled Rhode Island Marijuana lawyer can effectively advocate those reasons.

Illegal Pat Down / Frisk Searches
Oftentimes, police believe that they can search any person at any time for any reason. Oftentimes, because the police act so confident individuals mistakenly believe that the police have the authority to conduct the searches they initiate. Just because you have been found to have illegal drugs on your person does not mean that the evidence is admissible. If the illegal narcotics are not admissible, then they cannot be used against you in court and you cannot be convicted. Experienced criminal defense lawyers know the inside and outs of pat down and Terry-frisk searches and whether the police have overstepped their boundaries.

Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Laws

The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act

§ 21-28.6-4 Protections for the medical use of marijuana. –

(a)
A qualifying patient who has in his or her possession a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marijuana; provided, that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marijuana that does not exceed twelve (12) mature marijuana plants and two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana. Said plants shall be stored in an indoor facility.

(b) No school, employer or landlord may refuse to enroll, employ or lease to or otherwise penalize a person solely for his or her status as a cardholder.

(c) A primary caregiver, who has in his or her possession, a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for assisting a qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process with the medical use of marijuana; provided, that the primary caregiver possesses an amount of marijuana which does not exceed twelve (12) mature marijuana plants and two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana for each qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process.

(d) Registered primary caregivers and registered qualifying patients shall be allowed to possess a reasonable amount of unusable marijuana, including up to twelve (12) seedlings, which shall not be counted toward the limits in this section.

(e) There shall exist a presumption that a qualifying patient or primary caregiver is engaged in the medical use of marijuana if the qualifying patient or primary caregiver:

(1) Is in possession of a registry identification card; and

(2) Is in possession of an amount of marijuana that does not exceed the amount permitted under this chapter. Such presumption may be rebutted by evidence that conduct related to marijuana was not for the purpose of alleviating the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the medical condition.

(f) A primary caregiver may receive reimbursement for costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana. Compensation shall not constitute sale of controlled substances.

(g) A practitioner shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline or by any another business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau solely for providing written certifications or for otherwise stating that, in the practitioner's professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a patient.

(h) Any interest in or right to property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marijuana, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be forfeited.

(i) No person shall be subject to arrest or prosecution for constructive possession, conspiracy, aiding and abetting, being an accessory, or any other offense for simply being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marijuana as permitted under this chapter or for assisting a registered qualifying patient with using or administering marijuana.

(j) A practitioner nurse or pharmacist shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau solely for discussing the benefits or health risks of medical marijuana or its interaction with other substances with a patient.

(k) A registry identification card, or its equivalent, issued under the laws of another state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia to permit the medical use of marijuana by a patient with a debilitating medical condition, or to permit a person to assist with the medical use of marijuana by a patient with a debilitating medical condition, shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the department.

(l) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 21-28.6-3(6) or subsection 21-28.6-4(c), no primary caregiver other than a compassion center shall possess an amount of marijuana in excess of twenty-four (24) marijuana plants and five (5) ounces of usable marijuana for qualifying patients to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process.

(m) A registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver may give marijuana to another registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver to whom they are not connected by the department's registration process, provided that no consideration is paid for the marijuana, and that the recipient does not exceed the limits specified in § 21-28.6-4.

(n) For the purposes of medical care, including organ transplants, a registered qualifying patient's authorized use of marijuana shall be considered the equivalent of the authorized use of any other medication used at the direction of a physician, and shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance.

Attorney Marin Named A Super Lawyers Rising Star in '14 and '15

Attorney Matthew Marin was named a Rhode Island Rising Star by Super Lawyers in both 2014 and 2015. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.


Attorney Matthew Marin

Rated by Super Lawyers 

Rhode Island Member of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorney Marin is a Rhode Island General Member of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.

NCDD National College for DUI Defense: Matthew Marin