The Unexpected Pitfalls of 2nd Offense Possession of Marijuana
Now You’re Facing a Felony, not a Misdemeanor
Wisconsin Statutes §961.41(3g)(e) outlines the misdemeanor offense of possession of THC. The Statute indicates a second or subsequent offense is a Class I felony, jumping potential maximum penalties from the 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine up to a 3.5 year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, a second offense felony conviction means you lose your right to vote until your sentence is completed, and you lose your ability to possess a firearm.
The First Offense Didn’t Have to Be Related to Marijuana
A marijuana possessions offense is considered a second and subsequent offense if there is a prior conviction of any misdemeanor or felony under chapter 961 or any drug offense from another state. However, this does not mean both offenses must be of the same substance or of the same nature. Even a conviction for a different controlled substance will trigger the second and subsequent language in the statute making the new offense a felony. ANY previous conviction under chapter 961 will make a subsequent charge a felony—even if the first conviction was only for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Drug Paraphernalia Counts
Chapter 961 refers to not only drug possession but also possession of drug paraphernalia. In practice this means if you get convicted of a misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, the conviction equates to your first conviction even though it is not a possession of a controlled substance conviction. Any subsequent possession of a controlled substance charge may be charged at the felony level, with discretion for charging left up to the District Attorney.
Milwaukee Marijuana Defense Attorneys Get You the Best Possible Outcome
Our team of former-prosecutors has years of experience getting charges (and penalties) reduced or dropped to get our clients the best results possible for their cases. Whether you’re facing a first offense misdemeanor marijuana charge or a felony repeat offense drug charge, schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.