There are a lot of criminal offenses that are so common, they hardly seem like "crimes" at all. Marijuana possession is one of them, and in fact, in some states, it isn't a crime at all.
In Oklahoma, though, possession of marijuana is a criminal offense that can bring significant consequences for anyone convicted. The legal ramifications you face will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of the drug in your possession, your prior criminal record, and the presence of scales, guns, or cash that could signal an intent to distribute the drug.
Oklahoma Marijuana Laws
While possession of recreational marijuana or medical marijuana is legal in certain other states, there is no condition under which a person may legally possess marijuana in Oklahoma. Not only is possession of pot illegal in Oklahoma, the state hands out some of the most stringent penalties in the nation for possession, and it has garnered a reputation as one of "The 5 Worst States to Get Busted for Pot."
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in the State of Oklahoma
So what can happen to you if you are convicted of possession for personal use?
On the first offense, possession of marijuana or a Schedule III, IV, or V drug is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A person convicted of pot possession will likely have to serve probation that includes drug and alcohol counseling and treatment as well as other restrictive terms of release.
The penalties for a first offense of marijuana possession are stricter than those in a lot of states, which punish the crime by much lower maximum jail terms, such as 30 days, and significantly smaller fines. However, it is the punishment for a second or subsequent conviction that really stands out.
A second offense of possession for personal use is a felony that carries a potential prison sentence of 2 to 10 years in prison. The above offenses are for personal possession. If a person is considered to be in possession of the drug with the intent to distribute it will be charged with a felony on the first offense--a felony that carries a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison.
Note that the crime is possession with intent to distribute, not sell. You can be charged with this felony offense even if you did not sell drugs or intend to sell drugs, and prosecutors can find the most tenuous circumstances as indication of intent to distribute.
Now that you know the potential consequences of being caught with weed, what do you do about it if you are actually caught with marijuana in your possession?
What To Do If You Get Caught
First, do not consent to a search of your person, home, or vehicle. Second, do not say anything to officers about the marijuana found in your possession. You don't need to tell them anything at all, nor should you. Be polite and provide proper identification, but don't tell them who the drug belongs to, where you got it, what you were planning to do with it, or anything else.
Next, if police find marijuana on your person, in your vehicle, or in your home, know that you will be arrested for possession. The police will read you your rights, and it is up to you to make sure you protect those rights. Again, you should say nothing to police other than to insist upon your right to an attorney.
Learn more about what to do if you are arrested while in possession of marijuana here, where we provide a description of the criminal process you face, including arrest, bail, arraignment, and more.