Here is why:
Up until January 1, 2017, possession of any amount of marijuana, no matter how small, was considered at least a Class A misdemeanor. A ‘Class A’ misdemeanor carries a possible jail sentence from 1 day to 1 year in the county jail. This meant that if a defendant was caught with marijuana, even a single joint, the judge had the authority to put the defendant in jail for a year if he wanted to. As of January 1, 2017 possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana is now a Class D misdemeanor, so long the defendant has no prior drug convictions. A ‘Class D’ misdemeanor carries NO jail time and a maximum fine of $500. This essentially decriminalizes recreational possession. However, possession of marijuana over 10 grams or a previous conviction for possession of marijuana, can elevate the charge back to a Class A misdemeanor. It is important to note that although a first offense is not punishable by jail time, a second conviction would be. Therefore, it is important to preserve your criminal record if you are in fact charged with this offense. Many times a lawyer may be able to negotiate an outcome that is not considered a “conviction” and therefore under the law, if you ever got caught again, you would still be considered a first time offender. Pretty good considering Marijuana Isn’t Legal in Missouri.
Key concepts and terms:
RSMo 579.015 – Missouri Statute that defines the crimes of possession of marijuana.
Classy link to statute(
3.5 grams = 1/8 oz
Class D misdemeanor – 10 grams or less (& no prior drug convictions)
-Maximum fine $500, no jail time possible
Class A misdemeanor – over 10 grams of marijuana but less than 35 grams, or previous drug conviction
-1 day to 1 year County Jail and/or fine up to $2,000
Class D felony – over 35 grams of marijuana
-up to 7 years in Department of Corrections and/or fine up to $10,000
Sale of Marijuana
Class E Felony – Sale of 35 grams or less
-up to 4 years in Department of Corrections and/or fine up to $10,000
Class C Felony – Sale of more than 35 grams
-3 years to 10 years in Department of Corrections and/or fine up to $10,000
Charles Barberio is an accomplished criminal defense attorney with a well-defined track record of winning at trial. Charles has accumulated dozens of Not Guilty verdicts and ranks among the very top in that category over the past 5 years. Charles has become one of the “go to” serious criminal defense attorneys during that time. With multiple acquittals on the most serious of charges, including murder. You can read more about his practice at thepeoplescounsel.com.