FBI reports marijuana arrests outnumber violent crime arrests
Although Americans across the country have expressed dissatisfaction with the impact of the so-called War on Drugs – even taking steps to decriminalize certain behavior, in some states – recent statistics show law enforcement officers have continued to crack down on low-level drug crimes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released statistics regarding those who were arrested for crimes in the United States in 2012. In total, the FBI data revealed that over 1.5 million arrests were made for drug-related crimes last year. Of those, almost 750,000 people were arrested for crimes related to marijuana, including possession and distribution. In total, marijuana arrests made up over 48 percent of all of the drug-related arrests that year.
While the number of arrests for marijuana crimes was high, even more surprising was the significant percentage of those arrests made solely for marijuana possession. Of the individuals arrested for marijuana crimes in the United States in 2012, 87 percent were arrested merely for possession.
The data has led some to question whether marijuana possession laws are obstructing the ability of law enforcement officers to focus on crimes that are more serious. In fact, in 2012, more people were arrested for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes – including rape, aggravated assault and murder – across the country.
Establish a legal defense to fight marijuana charges in Massachusetts
Individuals charged with marijuana offenses would be wise to ensure they understand the charges they are facing and the potential consequences of a conviction. In Massachusetts, the severity of the penalties imposed will depend on whether the individual has prior convictions and the amount of the controlled substance found in his or her possession.
For instance, if an individual is found with one ounce or less of marijuana, he or she could be fined up to $100. The penalties are more severe if the person is found with more than one ounce of marijuana.
If the individual has no prior convictions, he or she could be fined up to $500 and face up to six months in jail. If the individual charged has previously been convicted of marijuana possession, the penalties increase. Subsequent convictions for possessing more than one ounce of marijuana can lead to a fine of up to $2,000 and up to two years in jail.
If you or a loved one is currently facing charges of marijuana possession in Massachusetts, take steps to protect yourself. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure a strong defense is established on your behalf.