Unlawful possession of marihuana (UPM)

What is UPM?

New York State Penal §221.05, unlawful possession of marihuana, makes it a violation to possess a small amount of marihuana (also spelled marijuana by many).  The amount may be the actual drug itself, the marihuana residue in a pipe or the remnants of marijuana cigarette (joint).

Typically defendants are arrested and charged with UPM after law enforcement has stopped the person, questioned the person, and discovers a small amount of marihuana. The marihuana may also be found in the ashtray of the defendant’s car after a traffic stop.  Most of my previous clients that were charged with UPM, were also charged with some other type of offence such as a speeding ticket.

What if I plead guilty?

Although UPM is only a violation that typically carries a $100.00 fine, (plus a very expensive New York State surcharge) a record is created that may require you to disclose the conviction to present and future employers, including state agencies.  A UPM conviction may also prohibit your ability to obtain Financial Aid for College.  Imagine losing thousands of dollars in financial aid or a great job over a minimal amount of marihuana.  

What are my options?

Fight the charge.  Hire an attorney, go to trial and fight the allegation.  Sometimes the stop was improper that caused you to receive the appearance ticket.  Sometimes, the minimal amount of marihuana is lost or misplaced and cannot be produced at trial. You should be warned that fighting the charge can be costly, and the prosecutors, usually Assistant District Attorneys, are generally very proficient at getting a conviction.

Hire an attorney to file a motion to dismiss the charge (ACOD).  Under the Criminal Procedure Law, there is a section entitled “Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal in cases involving marihuana.”  The section sets forth very specific requirements that an attorney can review with you.  The most important requirements include having never really been in trouble before, and having no other charges pending.  There are very specific arguments to be made on a case by case analysis. Hiring an attorney to file an ACOD motion is generally inexpensive and the cost can range from $400 to $1000, depending on the circumstances of your case.

What is an ACOD?  How does this help me?

When an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal is granted, the defendant is required to abstain from being arrested for a specific period of time, usually 6 to 12 months.  If the defendant complies and is not rearrested, the matter is closed, and the case is required to be sealed as if it never occurred. Getting an ACOD may require you to complete some type of community service.

If you violate the ACOD the charges are subject being brought back against you.  I have seen this occur in the Albany City Court where a defendant violated the terms of his ACOD and now had to deal with his new charges, as well as the old charges that would have been dismissed.

Can Joe help me?

I have represented and will represent first time offenders charged with UPM.  I have successfully appeared in many of the Courts in upstate New York and have been able to obtain the ACOD. *

Many times I have appeared in court without my client being present.  To do this my clients will execute a Waiver of Appearance form that allows me to appear, to make the required motions and to negotiate a plea disposition on their behalf.  Many Courts will require that my client sign an affidavit that they are eligible for the ACOD.

What is the Attorney’s Fee to represent me on a UPM?

The Attorney’s fee to represent and to file an ACOD motion for a defendant charged with unlawful possession of marihuana (UPM) in Albany and Schenectady County starts at $500.00 and increases depending on whether the violation was issued in connection with a traffic ticket, such as speeding.

Factors that increase the attorney’s fee include the status of the defendant’s criminal history and driving record, if the UPM involved an auto accident, the number of points on the driver’s license, the type of driver’s license, if the matter involved multiple tickets, and if the UPM charge involves any other complications.

For example, I typically charge $500.00 for the college student who is charged in Albany or Schenectady County with UPM for the first time, and meets the criteria for the ACOD.

In matters involving a traffic stop in Albany, Schenectady or Saratoga County, I typically charge $600.00 for a driver who was charged with UPM and is also issued a single traffic ticket for going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on the New York State Thruway or the Northway, has a clean driving record, the matter does not go to trial, and the ticket did not originate from a motor vehicle accident.

I also represent defendants charged with UPM in Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, and Washington County.  Please call for a price quote. 

Unfortunately I do not accept misdemeanor or felony possession of marihuana cases.

Call me today for a free telephone consultation regarding your UPM charge.

* Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.