Even though several states have legalized possession of marijuana for personal use, it still remains illegal in New Hampshire. Laws prohibiting marijuana possession are strictly enforced. The criminal court continues to impose severe penalties against people who are convicted for marijuana offenses. Due to the high stakes involved in a drug case, it is advisable to speak with an attorney if you are facing marijuana possession charges. We will work aggressively to help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case.
New Hampshire Penalties in Marijuana Cases
The type of penalty received in a marijuana possession case often depends on the amount of marijuana involved. If the person is a repeat offender, the sentence will be harsher than if it was a first-time offense. According to New Hampshire law, possessing even a small amount of marijuana is a class “A” misdemeanor punishable up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.
Possessing higher quantities of marijuana can result in a prison sentence and expensive fines. A conviction may place a major financial burden on you and your family, tarnish your reputation, and make it more difficult to obtain employment in the future. Due to the serious nature of drug charges, it is important to work with a criminal defense attorney who understands the various legal issues and consequences involved with these types of cases.
Defensive Strategies Used in Marijuana Possession Cases
The prosecutor is responsible for convincing the court that you committed the crime. A skilled criminal defense attorney will craft legal arguments and present evidence that dispute the prosecutor's allegations. We can also negotiate with the prosecutor to lower the charges or potential penalties if you decide that approach is in your best interest. Quite often, if you are accused of possessing marijuana in an amount that is consistent with personal use, and this is a first offense, we have been successful in convincing the prosecutor to dismiss the case in lieu of community service or some other charitable act.
Drug Convictions and Student Financial Aid
Students must be aware that a conviction for even a small amount of marijuana can have a serious impact on their ability to obtain financial aid. Any federal or state drug conviction, whether it be for the possession, conspiring to sell or sale of illegal drugs, can disqualify a student from receiving federal student aid grants and loans. With that said, these convictions will only count against the student for financial aid purposes if the crime was committed during a time when the student was already receiving federal student aid. Where you attend school doesn't matter either. If you are convicted of such a crime in one state, but attend school in a different state that does not consider that action a crime, that conviction still counts against your for aid purposes. If a student is convicted of the possession of illegal drugs, he or she loses eligibility for federal aid for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense and indefinitely for the third.
Drafters of this current version of the law were mindful that forcing a student to take a year or two off from school as a result of a lack of financial aid may have unintended consequences, especially when drugs are involved. Therefore, they inserted a caveat that allows first and second offenders to regain aid eligibility early if they complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program. The program has to meet certain requirements, one of which is the passing of at least two unannounced drug tests.
Students who lose their aid eligibility indefinitely can reverse that status by passing two unannounced drug tests that are part of a rehabilitation program, but do not have to complete the remainder of the program.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested for marijuana possession, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney right away. Call the Law Office of Chadwick-Fricano-Weber at (603) 880-6100 to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your legal options and answer your questions.