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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Marijuana Charge in Federal District Court

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: NC

    My husband was camping in a National Park with a group of 10 guys this weekend- some of which were smoking pot. Police arrived at some point because they were being too loud. My husband, who has never touched drugs, was closest to a pill box that contained marijuana. He honestly didn't even know that it was there (it was 11pm so very dark). He was given an "United States District Court Violation Notice" for possession of paraphernalia and simple possession of marijuana. The guy that was responsible tried to explain to the officers that it was his, not my husbands, but the officers still gave it to my husband. The officer appeared to feel bad after talking with my husband because A- he was the only one there not drinking; b- he is an elem school teacher and this could cost him BIG; c- he has literally never smoked a thing in his life, legal or otherwise.

    The officer told him that he would not arrest him or make him come to court. He checked the box that says my husband only has to pay a fine ($400 total). The officer was under the assumption that this would never go on his permanent record. I find that hard to believe. I have a called several lawyers, none of which would handle it because it is a federal violation.

    Since he is a school teacher, my concern is that by simply paying the fine he will be admitting guilt and could lose his job if the school system ever finds out... which they could through a simple search online.

    Is the cop correct? Is it just a citation? Will it show up somewhere? Can we get the charge reduced or dismissed if the real owner of the pot comes to court? (He is willing to do this as he got a ticket as well) We can't really afford to pay a lawyer but we really can't afford for my husband to lose his career over something he didn't do.

    And yes, he will no longer be hanging out with his pot smoking family on federal land.

    Thanks!
    (sorry this is so long)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,277

    Default Re: Marijuana Charge in Federal District Court

    It could be a civil infraction and not an actual crime,so it would leave him with out a record,there must be some lawyer who you can to speak to. It depends how deep the background check is but maybe he wasn't actually charged or arrested. I would ask the lawyer if it's a federal misdemeanor or an infraction. It's worth talking to a lawyer to see where he stands .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Marijuana Charge in Federal District Court

    Had it been a crime of any type, he would have been arrested and booked. he would have had bond and the right to have an attorney appointed.

    Civil infractions are not crimes. However, I have seen them reported to NCIC as if they are crimes.

    Personally I would fight the charge regardless.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Marijuana Charge in Federal District Court

    OK, I'm guessing your husband received the violation notice at Great Smoky's or Blue Ridge, but it doesn't matter which National Park unit it was. Here's my advice...

    I am a National Park Ranger and I have taken these matters to court many times. If you're husband was literally "in possession" of the object containing the marijuana, then he was "in possession". It's like the people who say, "Oh, I was just borrowing this car". Well too bad, you should be more cautious about who your friends are. However, if the marijuana was truly NOT in his possession and he feels strongly about this, he should take it to court. That is what our legal system is here for. Keep in mind, that in order to WRITE a violation notice, an officer only needs PROBABLE CAUSE (meaning "probably guilty". In order to be CONVICTED in Federal court, the Government must prove your husband's guilt BEYOND A RESONABLE DOUBT. Those are two different standards.

    In regards to Criminal Histories. It is true that if the officer checked the box that allows you to pay a collateral forfeiture, then it will most likely NOT APPEAR on a criminal history. I have NEVER seen the US Department of Justice report these. It's often a disconnect between Federal/State, etc. However, some states DO have reciprocity with the Central Violations Bureau and some of these crimes ARE reported to your state's DMV(this is different from a criminal history), but it wasn't a driving related offense, so it shouldn't. You can call the number on the back of the violation notice and ask what the reciprocity is with your state. It is important to note that should your husband chose to fight the ticket and LOSE, then it WILL most likely be on his criminal history. If he wins, then obviously it would not. If you lose the court case, then you may also be responsible for all the court costs, etc.

    Bottom line... If he believes he truly is innocent, he should take it to court. I think most officers would agree.

    Hope this helps..
    Ron

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