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When crossing the Canada to US border (I am a Canadian citizen),

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When crossing the Canada to US border (I am a Canadian citizen), border patrol found 1g of marijuana in my vehicle. I was not aware that it was in my vehicle (I have worked with a road crew all summer) and regardless would never attempt to cross the border with any amount of any drug. I was arrested and told to return to WA for a court date. What can I do at this point? My primary concern is avoiding a criminal record and/or being banned from the US.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  jludwic replied 5 years ago.

You need to retain a criminal attorney.

If you are convicted of the drug offense you are excludable from entry into the US. There is a waiver available for simple possession of under 30 grams of marijuana. However, the waiver is discretionary and you want to avoid having to obtain a waiver for every entry, if at all possible.

So your plan of action is to hire a criminal defense attorney to try to get this charge thrown out.

 

Judith

 

The information provided is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice. By accepting you agree you will not rely on anything I say and you will obtain appropriate legal counsel via a traditional/office consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where your legal issue arises. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it's associated sites. You are irrevocably waiving any right to privacy, confidentiality and attorney-client privilege concerning the matters discussed in this public forum.

 

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do not find this answer helpful, as it is somewhat intuitive that a criminal lawyer is necessary. I was hoping for advice as to what actions such a lawyer would take. The response "hire a criminal defense attorney to try to get this charge thrown out" is indeed a VERY general answer, and in my opinion, insufficient.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do not find this answer helpful, as it is somewhat intuitive that a criminal lawyer is necessary. I was hoping for advice as to what actions such a lawyer would take. The response "hire a criminal defense attorney to try to get this charge thrown out" is indeed a VERY general answer, and in my opinion, insufficient.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
My question is not applicable to business immigration law, so I believe another expert would be able to help me.
Expert:  Cowgirl Lawyer replied 5 years ago.
HelloCustomer

I note that you have opted out. I hope that I may be able to assist you.

Since a search of the automobile is allowed by law, when entering the USA, an attorney would probably not be able to challenge the legal validity of the search, as would be done with a typical drug case. Of course, your attorney will interview you thoroughly in order to determine if all procedures were followed properly, but the chances of a successful motion to suppress are less likely in a border search than in most other automobile searches.

Therefore, the more probable way that you would have to deal with this case is not through pre-trial motions (as is typical of drug cases), but to instead focus on a trial.

In order to convict you, the prosecution has the burden of proof, and in a criminal case in the USA, that burden is beyond a reasonable doubt. Each element of the offense must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. While the statute defining the crime of possession of a controlled substance (possession of cannabis / marijuana) does not require that the possession be "knowing," the Washington courts have interpreted the law to require that not only must the prosecution prove that you possessed the marijuana, but that you did so knowingly. It is not a strict liability offense, and in order to commit the offense you must have knowledge that you are doing so.

Therefore, based upon the information you have shared here, it is likely that your attorney will focus on the knowing possession of marijuana, and attack from that standpoint. The prosecution can prove that you possessed the marijuana. Your attorney will try to attack this from the standpoint that it was not a "knowing" possession. In other words, you did not know that you possessed the marijuana.

While that may seem intuitive to you, not all crimes in the USA must be committed knowingly. There are strict liability offenses which may be committed unknowingly.

I will be happy to clarify my answer if you need me to do so, or give you further explanation if you need me to do so.

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Good luck and best wishes!

Gloria M

Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely informational and educational. This public forum is designed to provide only general information, to give you a basis of legal knowledge. This public forum does not give you attorney-client privilege. You and I have not entered into an attorney-client relationship. I am not responsible for your legal rights. You should consult with an attorney in your area for specific information relevant to your situation.





Cowgirl Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1422
Experience: Attorney for 22 years, criminal defense, from misdemeanors to murder, trials and appeals.
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