There you were, driving home from a day out in the Ozarks to celebrate your 70th birthday when the police pulled you over. To cut a long story short, two hours later, you are sitting at the station, accused of marijuana possession and wondering what happens next.

The police noticed a small bag of a dried green plant on the rear seat of your car. They said it contained marijuana. You have no idea how it got there, but remember your 19-year-old granddaughter borrowed your car last week to go out for the day with her friends. You did not tell the police this.

In Missouri, the penalties for marijuana possession depend upon the amount, and if you have been caught before:

  • Up to 10 grams, first offense: no jail time, a maximum fine of $500
  • Up to 10 grams, second offense: 1 year in jail, a maximum fine of $2000
  • 10 to 35 grams, first offense: 1 year in jail, a maximum fine of $2000
  • More than 35 grams, seven years in jail, a maximum fine of $10,000

These are a few defenses you could use:

  • Not yours: While a court may believe you, you worry you will get your grandaughter or her friends in trouble.
  • Medical use: While marijuana is allowed for medicinal usage in Missouri, you need to have a signed letter from a doctor to prove you need it.
  • Improper traffic stop: Police need to act in a specific manner; otherwise, you could claim the stop was illegal.
  • It’s not marijuana: You could insist on having a lab test it. As far as you know, it could be anything.

Choosing the right course of action requires the help of an experienced attorney.