Can I be charged for having my friends medical marijuana in my car? 12 Answers as of July 13, 2011

The other day I was driving home and it was rainy. I was going 25 in a 25 zone, but then sped up to 45. The minute I hit the gas the cop turned on their lights, they were behind me I guess. She came up to the car, shined the light in and in the backseat my friend must have left his medical marijuana kit (he is legal, and has a card) the cop saw it. She asked whose it was and I told her my friend must have left it behind. She asked if she could look around the car, I said yes, and showed her his pipe and grinder back there as well. She cuffed me and put me into the back of the car and searched the car. All in all, my buddy left a baggy saying medical marijuana in the backseat in an airtight container, a pipe and grinder and I'm getting a marijuana possession charge, and my car is impounded. I have a clean record with nothing more than one speeding ticket about a year ago. What advice do you have for me?

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Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux
Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux | Scott Tibbedeaux
Possession of opened alcoholic beverage bottle or can while driving; Possession of marijuana while driving; Fine (a) No person shall have in his or her possession on his or her person, while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle, containing any alcoholic beverage which has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed. (b) Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses, while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, not more than one avoirdupois ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis as defined by Section 11006.5 of the Health and Safety Code, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100). Yes, you can be charged, although you could have a strong case against it. Basically, you will have to contest the charge by proving the fact that the marijuana did not belong to you and that there was a legitimate reason as to why it was in your car. To put it even more plainly, you and your friend will have to convince the District Attorney/Judge/Jury that the drugs did not belong to you and that they belonged to your friend. That would be your best chance at getting rid of this charge. Your good record doesnt hurt either. I am assuming that this attached charge is the actual one you were charged with
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/13/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
In order to avoid a conviction, you should hire an attorney to represent you and to discuss your potions.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/5/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Yes you can be charged with the constructive possession of his marijuana in a location (your car) over which you have control. If it is worth it to you since it is a minor infraction now if under one ounce, is to hire a lawyer to convince the Da that while you may or may not be technically guilty, the case should be dismissed in the interests of justice. Whether your story is believed or not is the problem in that it sounds like you friend was not present at the time. You would need him or her to come forward and claim ownership of the marijuana.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/5/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
CAN they charge you? Of course. You were in possession of illegal drugs and paraphernalia. They think they can convict you of a couple felonies. What can you do? Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to effectively help you in your defense, other than the advice to exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/1/2011
The English Law Firm
The English Law Firm | Robert English
Your car, your marijuana. You can certainly be charged. Your rights are to present any credible evidence you may have in your defense, but you could still be convicted. Talk to an attorney about the specifics of your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/30/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    First off, the marijuana was in your car and you do not have a medical marijuana card. Did you know it was there? Your friend will have to step forward and state that the marijuana was his/hers. That alone may not get the charges dismissed. You should seek the assistance of an attorney to defend against the pending charges. For more information, contact us.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    First of all, you should never have allowed the cop to search your car (the reason they ask for permission is because...they need it!). Secondly, yes you can be charged, because it is your words/credibility that is on the line. No one has to believe you when you say that the stuff belongs to your friend. It is up to you to hire a good lawyer to present your case coherently to the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Fight the charge. Get an attorney. You can't accidentally possess marijuana.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Get your friend on board to admit it was theirs and get a skilled attorney in your corner. The prosecutor won't lay down easy without a good opponent.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Retain an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible so he can review the police report and evidence against you. There may be errors that could get the charges reduced or dismissed. Worse case scenario is that you could be eligible for HYTA or 7411 which could keep the charge permanently off your public record if you successfully complete probation. Speak to an attorney for more information.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Get a friend that won't forget their stuff. The fact that's it's your friends may help, but it won't necessarily force the DA to drop charges as you were in possession. Your friend will need to agree to say that it was his. Speak to an attorney in person.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    In California, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is merely an infraction and not a misdemeanor. You may also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for having the pipe in your vehicle. If your friend truly has a medical marijuana card, it may be a good idea for him to sign a declaration stating that it was solely his marijuana and pipe. You should remember that the "it's my friend's drugs, not mine" defense is something the District Attorney hears all the time. Without a Declaration, that defense is most likely useless. I hope this advice is helpful.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
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