Can I expect an infraction for a possession of marijuana ticket in California? 13 Answers as of January 03, 2011

I was recently hanging out with a friend that I have not seen in three years, as I just returned from overseas. My friend invited two of his friends, who came with marijuana and blunts, not exceeding an ounce. As we were hanging out outside of an old friend's apartment, 2 officers riding approached us on suspicion. They found the marijuana and charged all of us with possession of marijuana of less then an ounce. How hard would it be for me to change this charge to an infraction? I am 19 years old and enrolled in a program that requires me to go overseas to help people in need. Also, I do not want my parents finding out by receiving mail from the court or the police department about my court appearance notifications. Is there any way to keep from getting mail regarding court? Thank you !

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Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
As of January 1, 2011 possession of less than an ounce is an infraction. With the right attorney you should get this reduced.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/3/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Possession of marijuana under an ounce is now as of this year a infraction in California. The has been changed whether that will apply to you is a question that has yet to be resolved (arrest before the new law took effect)
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/1/2011
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
The good news is that in Cal. Possession of small amounts of MJ is punishable by only an infraction penalty.However it is still characterized as a Misdemeanor. It is possible to get the records destroyed after 2 years. It may also be possible to defend the case. The only way to prevent the court from coming to the house is to go to the police agency that made the arrest and ask them to change the address.

Our office has handled many MJ cases successfully and we would be happy to cunsult with you or quote a fee. Call
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/31/2010
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
This will become an infraction in 2011 so it should be relatively easy to get it reduced to an infraction. It would not hurt to talk to an attorney to get the entire charge dismissed. As far as receiving notice from the court; you cannot request to have them not send mail to you. However most of the time the citation that you received will be the only correspondence of the case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/30/2010
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
You need to hire a lawyer. A skilled lawyer can often negotiate the charge down to an infraction, provided that you do some drug classes. As for the mail, court will usually not mail anything to you unless there is a change in the initial court date.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/30/2010
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq.
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq. | Tomas M. Flores
    If you retain an attorney, the mail will go to his or her office - not your house, or your parent's house. You probably want to hurry if your arraignment date is coming up.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Under an ounce is generally a simple infraction. Over that you face a misdemeanor and jail. Whatever the DA charges you with, you need to defend. Effective plea-bargaining, using whatever defenses and sympathies you may have, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it, depending upon all the facts and evidence. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict you. If serious about hiring counsel, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help you use whatever defenses you may have. If you can't afford private counsel, apply for the Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    In California, possession of marijuana is not treated very harsh. That being said, you will most likely be able to get the charge reduced to an infraction. However, you could face a misdemeanor charge and you may get information mailed to your home.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
    First of all, possession can either be charged as a infraction or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. The officer might cite you with one thing, but the prosecutor might charge you with something else.

    Second, any address you gave the police is now a public record. Watch out for any notice to appear from the court or solicitations by attorneys.

    Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It is possible to bring up defenses and negotiate with the prosecutor. Sounds they may have a probable cause issue...which can be good for you. I have had success getting this type of charge reduced or dismissed
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Unfortunately for you, the law hasn't changed yet. On January 1, 2011, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana will be an infraction, but for now, it's a misdemeanor. The punishment will be the same - a maximum of a $100 fine, but it's still a misdemeanor.

    You have got some things going for you, but in order to maximize your chances of a good outcome, I'd suggest you contact a criminal defense attorney to represent you. Your attorney can appear in court on your behalf. There very well could be a way to get these charges dismissed - either because they cannot prove you were in possession - or because you are a first offender (I assume) and may be entitled to a diversion program.

    Unfortunately, if the police send you any notices, there's no legal way to stop it. If you can watch your mail until this is all over, that would be the best.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Steven Mandell
    Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
    The law regarding possession of under an ounce of marijuana changes on January 1, 2011 to make it an infraction! But, it may apply only to cases where the seizure of the marijuana is AFTER 1/1/11. A good criminal lawyer shouldn't have too much trouble accomplishing your goals. And, if you attend all your court appearances, you should not receive any mail at home from the court or the cops, but that is not a guarantee. I do not know which agencies are involved, and there are differences of policy between different courts and police agencies. If your case is in LA, and you'd like to talk to me about your matter, feel free to give me a call. Good luck and happy new year.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
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