Do not plead guilty! You’ve probably had a friend, a co-worker, or even an attorney tell you that you should just plead guilty to the charge and ask for “first offender” status. Listen: there is absolutely no reason you should EVER plead guilty to possession of marijuana. There are two very good reasons I say this:
- You do NOT have to plead guilty to the charge in order to be eligible for the “first offender” program; if you are eligible for the program, you can be placed into it even if you plead not guilty, have a trial, and get convicted;
- You can WIN at trial. Don’t let anyone tell you that possession of marijuana cases are impossible to win – they are not!
There are several ways to win a possession of marijuana case, from illegal searches of your car, to “constructive” possession defenses. And as I said, even if you have a trial and get convicted, you still are eligible for the “first offender” program. So, plan A should be to get the charge dismissed, and the “first offender” program should only be used as a plan B. All too often I see folks with lawyers pleading guilty when the case could have been won!
There are two main ways to win marijuana possession cases, and I’ve successfully used them both many times. One is to identify an illegal search, and the other is to identify a “constructive possession” case and argue it properly.