As common as Marijuana Crimes are in Michigan, it's not surprising that more than a few of them are for 2nd Offenses. I was recently asked, in my role as Criminal Defense Lawyer, about the penalties for a Second Offense Possession of Marijuana. And the answer to that question is not as clear as one might first think.
In an earlier Blog Post, we learned that Marijuana Possession can be charged as either a violation of a Local Ordinance, or a violation of State Law. Most local municipalities have a Marijuana Ordinance, and under their terms, Possession of Marijuana is designated as a Misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 93 days in Jail (and, as pointed out in that article, any Jail time, at least in a 1st Offense, is extremely unlikely) and a fine of up to $500 plus Court Costs. In addition, there are Mandatory Driver's License Sanctions (6 months Suspension of License; a Restricted License for the remaining 5 months may be granted by the Judge handling the case, after the first 30 days of the Suspension have passed) which must be imposed upon conviction.
Possession of Marijuana is also a Misdemeanor under State Law, but it is punishable by up to 1 year in Jail, and a fine of up to $2000. In addition, State Law violations also require the same mandatory Driver's License Sanctions.
Those are 1st Offense penalties. For a 2nd Offense, things can either take a turn for the worse, or not. If you think that's a curious observation, you're right. The truth of the matter is that what happens to anyone who is busted a 2nd (or even 3rd) time for Marijuana is really a matter of luck. If a person has already been convicted of Possession of Marijuana, and is then charged a 2nd time under State Law, the penalty rises to double that of a first State Law violation. This means a person can be charged with a Felony, punishable by up to 2 years in Jail, a fine of up to $4000, and even more severe License Sanctions (1 year Mandatory License Suspension, with no driving whatsoever for the first 2 months; The Judge handling the case may allow a Restricted License for the remaining 10 months, after the first 60 day Suspension has passed) than those that accompany a 1st Offense.
Even if a person has been convicted of Possession of Marijuana once before, and they are subsequently charged under a Local Ordinance, then there is no "Double Penalty" of any kind. That's why I noted above that whether a case goes one way or another is more a matter of luck than anything else.