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Proving My Innocence

I have never been one of those people who runs with the wrong crowd, but about six months ago, I knew that I was in trouble. I was with someone when she did something against the law, and it made me a suspected accomplice. I knew that I needed help to prove my innocence regarding the involvement, so I started going through and talking with different criminal attorneys. I was able to find a great lawyer that really understood my position, and he did everything possible to prove my innocence. This blog is all about proving your innocence in court, so that you can move on with your life.

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Could California's Recent Marijuana Legalization Impact Your Pending (Or Concluded) Possession Case?

by Ray Barnes

No matter which side of the political aisle you're on, Election Day 2016 brought a number of major surprises -- and while there was a groundswell of support in the Golden State for the legalization of recreational marijuana, the voters' choice to ratify this measure may have come as a surprise to those who remembered the hard-fought battle to legalize medicinal marijuana only a few years earlier. If you've recently been charged with or convicted of the possession of a small amount of marijuana, could this change to state law affect your case? Read on to learn more about the potential impact of this decision on pending and concluded criminal cases.

What could this change mean for those who have been arrested and charged with marijuana possession, but not yet convicted?

For those who have only recently been arraigned on marijuana charges, the legalization of recreational marijuana is likely to result in dismissal of possession-only charges. However, criminal charges that involve more than just possession of a small amount of marijuana, like possession with the intent to distribute, may not be as impacted by this change since there are still laws on the books prohibiting the sale of marijuana (other than by businesses that have registered with the state).

Those who have been charged under both federal and state law -- for example, for engaging in interstate transport of marijuana -- may also not have as much recourse as those who are dealing only with state charges. Despite the increasing number of states that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana, the federal government still classifies this drug as one of the most dangerous out there and can assess hefty penalties for possession (even possession that is legal under state law) in some situations. While the federal government has largely stayed out of marijuana enforcement in states that have legalized recreational or medicinal use, this isn't always true across the board.

What could happen if you've already been convicted (or pleaded guilty) and sentenced? 

Those who have already been convicted of marijuana possession under California law may have some recourse when it comes to getting their sentences reduced or even expunged. Although the legalization of recreational marijuana isn't retroactive to sentences that have already been handed down, it can serve as a factor during appeal -- being able to point toward your state's laws and showing that someone who did exactly what you were convicted of doing prior to the change in law would face no criminal penalties can go a long way toward reducing your own sentence.

It's also likely that the California legislature will put into place measures to allow you to easily expunge a marijuana conviction that would no longer be illegal under current law. Because having a criminal record (even a misdemeanor one) can put you out of the running for certain jobs or even career paths, the ability to expunge your marijuana-related conviction can restore your clean record and allow you to move on with your life.

What should you do if you're wondering how this change in state law will affect your own conviction? 

If you're unsure how (or even whether) this recent change in California law will affect your own criminal case, your best bet is to consult an experienced criminal law attorney for more information. Having the assistance of someone who knows how to navigate the California criminal justice system and has information on similar (and distinguishable) cases that can support your legal argument is crucial, especially when you're dealing with a situation in which you may be facing a permanent criminal conviction on your record. 

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