If you think a little marijuana joint won’t land you in big trouble, think again. Indiana has strict penalties for drug possession crimes, whether you are caught with a small or large amount.
Although several other states have begun to change their recreational and medicinal usage laws, marijuana possession is still a crime in Indiana. In fact, it is still a Schedule I drug, the most severe of all drug classifications. Marijuana convictions can leave a permanent mark on a person’s life, affecting job opportunities, living arrangements, college admissions, custody agreements, and more.
In Indiana, getting caught with a joint of marijuana that weighs 5 grams or less will result in a Misdemeanor conviction, which comes with various types of legal and financial penalties depending on a defendant’s circumstances. For those without a prior drug conviction, a judge is likely to convict a first-time defendant with a Class B Misdemeanor. This is punishable by 0 to 6 Months in an Indiana County Jail Facility, as well as, fines adding up to $1,000, not including court costs, probation fees, and lost wages.
Caught With Priors
A person who is caught with a marijuana joint that weighs 5 grams or less and who has prior drug convictions will face harsher penalties in Indiana. A judge would be likely to convict them of a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, $5000 in fines that do not include lawyer expenses, court costs, probation costs, and filing fees, as well as, one year of supervised probation that includes several court-ordered sentences like community service, random drug screening, victim impact panels, drug rehabilitation, and more.
Higher Amounts of Possession
Getting caught with one little joint of marijuana will land you in big trouble with the law; so it is no surprise that getting arrested with higher amounts of marijuana will get you in even more serious trouble. For possession over 30 grams, defendants can be charged and convicted of a felony, which stays on your permanent record forever, and will certainly affect employment opportunities. The common penalties for felony marijuana drug possession include 6 Months to 2 ½ Years in an Indiana Department of Corrections Prison Facility, up to $10,000 (not including lawyer expenses, court costs, probation costs, filing fees, probation fees, and lost wages), and several court-ordered sentences like the ones mentioned before (community service, routine drug testing, educational courses, rehab, etc.).
What is a Misdemeanor Crime?
Misdemeanor crimes are lesser offenses compared to felonies, but are still serious crimes that come with harsh penalties and life-long consequences. Misdemeanors are divided into three “classes”, from most serious to least serious: Class A Misdemeanors, Class B Misdemeanors, and Class C Misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, and Class C misdemeanors are the least serious. For example, a “first offense drug possession under 5 grams” is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, while a second or third drug possession is penalized as a Class A misdemeanor, which is more serious and comes with harsher punishments.