During the past few years, the penalties for certain crimes involving marijuana have changes in some states. While certain states have legalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana, others have chosen to significantly reduce the penalties associated with low-level marijuana possession crimes. Nevertheless, based on data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of people arrested for marijuana crimes across the United States remains high.
Recently, the FBI reported that an arrest was made for a marijuana crime once every 48 seconds in 2012. In total, about 50 percent of all arrests made for drug-related crimes involved marijuana last year.
In addition, a large number of the marijuana arrests were made solely for possession of the drug. In 2012, seven out of every eight arrests involving marijuana were only for marijuana possession.
The FBI also reported that more arrests were made for marijuana possession than violent crimes last year. In total, just over 521,000 arrests were made for violent crimes — such as murder and rape — compared to over 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession. These statistics have caused some law enforcement officers to question the effectiveness of harsh penalties related to marijuana crimes in the U.S.
Fight marijuana charges in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, the penalties for marijuana possession continue to be severe — a fact in much of the Midwest, where the penalties tend to be stricter than other parts of the country. The potential penalties for a marijuana possession conviction will depend on whether the individual has prior convictions.
An individual found in possession of marijuana in Wisconsin for the first time may face misdemeanor charges. A conviction could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Upon a subsequent arrest for marijuana possession, an individual may face felony charges. The penalties for subsequent convictions are much more severe, as those convicted could face a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 3.5 years in jail.
Those convicted of marijuana crimes in Wisconsin may also lose their driver's license for six months to five years.
In some cases, individuals charged with marijuana possession may be able to avoid the stiff criminal sentences upon completing a drug rehabilitation program.
If you are facing marijuana charges in Wisconsin, take steps to protect your rights. Seeking the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure a strong defense is established on your behalf.