Who Are Medical Marijuana Lawyers?

A medical marijuana criminal defense lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in the defense of individuals or companies charged with drug crimes involving marijuana. Medical marijuana lawyers may be private lawyers or court-appointed, indigent defense lawyers, also known as public defenders. Medical marijuana criminal defense lawyers deal with all issues relating to an individual’s arrest, including investigation, challenges to the arrest itself or charges filed, plea bargaining, and trial. Medical marijuana criminal defense lawyers actively represent their client’s case through all stages of a criminal prosecution. It is the job of a medical marijuana lawyer to provide zealous advocacy for their client. A medical marijuana lawyer must have a clear understanding of the Constitutional rights afforded to all criminal defendants. These rights include Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful searches and seizures, Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination, and Sixth Amendment rights to counsel to name a few. A good medical marijuana lawyer will look at all stages of the criminal proceedings from arrest through trial and if necessary appeal to ensure none of the client’s Constitutional rights are violated. Initially, the medical marijuana criminal defense lawyer will review the charges and police reports to determine if any Constitutional violations occurred at this stage. With felony and misdemeanor matters, the lawyer may challenge probable cause for the arrest either through a preliminary hearing, grand jury process or a motions hearing. The case can continue only if probable cause existed for the arrest. Medical marijuana lawyers also review case material for violations of a person’s Constitutional rights that may render evidence inadmissible at trial. Consequently, a medical marijuana lawyer spends a considerable amount of time prior to trial reviewing all documentation to see if the case can be dismissed on Constitutional grounds. If the medical marijuana criminal defense lawyer cannot get the case dismissed on Constitutional grounds, much of the work turns to negotiation and trial preparation. medical marijuana lawyers often work to arrange a deal or plea bargain that allows the client to admit guilt to a lesser offense, often with an agreed upon sentence should the client accept the offer. Throughout this process, the lawyer is preparing to defend the client at trial.

Unique to medical marijuana criminal defense in Colorado are the two constitutional amendments: 1) Article 18, Section 14 (marijuana for medical purposes; and 2) Article 18, Section 16 (legal use regardless of medical purpose) that provide rights to citizens of the State of Colorado, which do not necessarily agree with federal law or the federal Constitution.

Under the United States’ Constitution, all people are presumed innocent until the state proves each essential element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Serious crimes, or felonies are tried to juries of twelve (12) people and require a unanimous verdict for either conviction or acquittal. In Colorado, misdemeanor crimes are tried to juries of six (6) and also require a unanimous verdict for conviction or acquittal. If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, it is known as a "hung jury” and may result in retrial of the defendant.

To read about Attorney Michael D. Evans, J.D., M.B.A., click here.

Colorado Medical Marijuana Laws:

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