Recently, a report conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed a startling racial disparity among the individuals who are arrested for marijuana possession across the country. According to the report, Wisconsin had one of the highest disparities in the United States.
In 2010, black people in Wisconsin were six times more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than white people in the state. Across the country, black people were almost four times more likely to face such charges – making Wisconsin the state with the fifth highest racial disparity.
In fact, the disparity has gotten markedly worse in the last decade in Wisconsin, as the state saw a 150 percent increased difference among marijuana possession arrests from 2001 to 2010. Despite this large difference, reports also indicate that both black and white people use marijuana in similar amounts across the country.
Marijuana arrests continue to be prevalent across Wisconsin, despite many people’s changing beliefs regarding the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2010, Wisconsin law enforcement officers conducted almost 16,000 marijuana possession arrests. Of all the drug arrests made in Wisconsin that year, over 60 percent were for marijuana possession.
As would be expected, the large number of marijuana possession arrests comes with a large price tag, as estimates have shown that the state spent between $15 million and $73 million on enforcement of marijuana laws in 2010.
Fight charges of marijuana possession in Wisconsin
Individuals who have been charged with marijuana possession in Wisconsin ought to take steps to protect themselves from conviction. The penalties for a marijuana possession conviction vary in Wisconsin, depending on whether the individual has prior convictions for the same offense.
When someone is charged with marijuana possession for the first time in Wisconsin, he or she can face misdemeanor charges. If convicted, he or she could be fined up to $1,000 and be sentenced to jail for up to six months.
Upon any subsequent arrests for marijuana possession, the individual could be charged with a felony. Penalties for a subsequent conviction can include up to 3.5 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
In some cases, Wisconsin law allows the penalties to be waived if the individual agrees to participate in and complete a drug rehabilitation program.
If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Wisconsin, seeking the counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney will ensure that a strong defense is established on your behalf.